Monday, March 29, 2010

pictures and words from florida.

by danielle

taken by my mom


sweat lodge

"It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions, and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquillity will return again." --anne frank

Monday, March 22, 2010

health care is for everyone! (well we are getting closer at least)

lauren's glittery sparkling eyes.

the place god calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. - frederick buechner

i am so excited about the health care overhaul! it's been a crazy battle this past year that i admittedly did not follow very well. i sometimes choose not to focus so much on politics because it seems like it's filled with so much back-and-forth negativity and i am trying to create less of that in my life. still it is quite exciting (a bit like a sports game with key players and special uniforms and strategies), especially when it's something that will help so many people. as obama said, it's not really radical stuff that we meet this basic human need but it is important that we have finally decided to stand for it.

i am really proud of obama. his election was the only time in my life i have been able to get really into politics and i think that is because what was happening in our country was so different. we choose a leader who is a visionary, who is really in touch with the experience of being human and has a compassionate heart. it felt like we woke up in a way.

so i guess it's been easy to be down on him lately but honestly my opinion of him hasn't changed since the beginning. i still have a picture of him (the rolling stone portrait where he is looking down & smiling) tacked up on my wall, teen beat style. what he says still makes sense although i think he understands washington, dc in a whole new way now and of course will change a little because of that.

to me, he represents the opposite of the more-republican (yet entirely human) experience of fearing that there will not be enough if we give what we have. these are daily fears that we all struggle with. its in my fear to buy the expensive, organic milk lest it lead me down a future path of debt or or my nervousness of letting someone know that i like them because i think it will take away my edge.

i know now that my path is love, compassion and learning how to find joy in what exists. as i love, i feel better in myself each day and man, i have to emphasis that when you have self-love, life gets really really good. i face fears on a daily basis and i do the things i love (cook, ride my bike, practice yoga, talk to inspiring people, watch things that make me laugh) and understand that everything changes. and the more i do this, the more my business and my life are growing. as i let go of my negativities and fears and just give openly, the more prosperity flows back to me and i am free to enjoy more. it's a good cycle.

so it has been decided. we will have health care. i, along with many other people in this world (because yes the world is looking to us as always--this wild racing horse of a country), feel happy for it and appreciation that despite a lot of grumbling, we usually manage to do the right thing. before we know it there will be a day when we can't imagine not having done this and it will feel good to tell our grandchildren about how it all happened.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


my new manduka yoga mat--thanks grandma!

green sugar cookie dough that was too crumbly to roll out and hence will become green shortbread this evening.

a photo essay so i won't get pinched.

Friday, March 12, 2010

yoga is for everyone

here are a few pictures from a street yoga training i attended in february. one of the things i love most about teaching at yoga district is how committed they are to making sure that everyone who wants to practice can practice. each of their three location is a little different in set-up but each one has the same feeling. show up in whatever clothes you can, pay a reasonable price (drop-ins are only $10 and it's $70 to practice unlimited for a month) and reap the benefits of your practice. it's good yoga down to its barest bones and a lot of people have been responding (the yoga district groupon sold over 600--woah).

i am so passionate about yoga because of how it helps me to keep growing and facing all the scary spots that i so want to ignore at times. lately, i've been practicing my yoga off the mat in my family. people who are close to me know that my parents got a messy divorce when i was five and that i mostly lived with my mom until i left for college. when i was younger i was totally in love with my dad but then things changed after the divorce. my dad, who really did not want to be separated, became angry and depressed and that's when things started getting strained between us. we used to fight about everything from food habits (i was a vegetarian & he thought that was silly) to politics (we used to get into debates about abortion that would put me in tears when i was 10. we finally had to outlaw politics as a conversation topic because it was too emotional. welcome to the usa).

long story made shortish, i was also pretty angry and depressed too during this time. i gained a bunch of weight which made me feel even more awkward considering i was already the tallest person in my whole school for 6 years (and had the braces, the big plastic glasses--you name it and i displayed it in fully glory). i was also really shy to speak out in school and would even cry when my mom would tell me i had to go outside and make friends. i wanted to a cohesive, happy family and i was so upset to not be getting it.

then adolescence eased up on me a little. i started playing sports and lost weight and made good friends and little by little felt better about myself. i realized i was funny and fun and wrote well and liked taking pictures and could even speak in front of people. i didn't know it then, but i was starting this yogic path of self-love and acceptance that i am still walking and now figuring out that i will always be walking. it's amazing when you are on this path, how much things can change and how it can still stay the same. because even as i would tell everyone else that forgiveness and love were the way to a happy life, i was still carrying around a lot of resentment toward my father. our relationship has been loving but tense and every once in a while, it would erupt in an emotional outburst that would leave us both hurting.

so things have really been so great in my life in these past couple of years and i thought a lot of that stuff was gone and then last week, it came up again so quickly that it surprised me. this conversation was particularly bad and things that were said were pretty hurtful. so we agreed not to talk for a bit. during this time, i just had to look at how little this pain and resentment was serving either of us and in fact, probably hindering many of the things i do want in my life. i've looked at these things before but the draw to be right, to win was too strong so i always went back to feeling like a victim.

but this time was different. i felt so turned off by the way that i had acted and tired of coming back to the same place. i kept thinking that there just isn't time to live this way, not when life is so short and uncertain. so with fairly little drama, i made the decision that i didn't want it anymore and resolved to find forgiveness and acceptance.

and then we met for breakfast this weekend and it went really well. we both talked a lot over greasy diner food and had the chance to say what we were really feeling. there were moments when i could have gotten defensive but it just didn't have the same draw so i let it pass and just listened. i want shanti (peace) and now nothing else can substitute it and man, it's such a relief to let go of that load. and it's exciting to see where things can go with my dad now.

during this conversation, i also realized that along with my dad, i had been carrying a lot of resentment toward my younger self. i rarely ever tell anyone i used to be overweight and have thrown away many of the old pictures that showed me in family portraits larger than life next to my anorexic looking brother (i happily report that we have both found good body weights for ourselves these days). i think it felt too vunerable to let anyone else into that world and that it would show that i am not really as put-together as i pretend to be (note: i'm not but am learning how to happy about it). but in the process of this forced forgetting, i have been ignoring a lot of the benefit that this time gave me. this was when i really developed my imagination and my sense of compassion and humor and many of the other qualities that currently serve me quite well in my life and work.

i have been going through some old photos recently and fortunately, there are many good ones that remain. if i can get my scanner working again then i may be posting some of them here soon in the healing spirit of full disclosure.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

mushrooms and intention

this is the photo break-down of the incredible dinner i made last night with my friend kimberly. this is our second time cooking together and if i may say (yes, i may), we make really, really good food. this week it was wild mushroom risotto and sauteed portabellos with port wine, cream and fresh oregano. last week we did indian food, even making our own paneer and naan from scratch.

so the food is one thing, which will always be a wonderful thing, but the cooking is something i've been thinking about more. i think we really learn so much about food when we are young. growing up, my mom was a great cook whose specialty came in making easier recipes that consistently turned out delicious and in always getting everything done at the same time and onto the table when it was still hot. i thought everyone cooked this way until i left home and saw that there are as many cooking styles as ways to cook a pot of beans. her skill in this regard is really exceptional.

i think due to my upbringing, its frustrated me in the past when cooking has taken a lot of time. i think its an issue of control that i have--food must be a certain way and not another and when i am hungry, i must eat immediately. but i've noticed a shift in me lately that i want to spend more time cooking. my mind gets very quiet within all the action of creating something nourishing and that will make me and my loved ones happy. it's a definite form of meditation. i am learning how to sit with hunger and wait for that final satisfying moment of conscious eating when i sit down.

so both dinners with kimberly have been delicious and both have taken a couple of hours to prepare. but it's during this time that i've gotten to drink tea, know another person better, carefully consider what and how i am cooking and let myself relax into the flow of a meal coming together. again, i am nothing but a moment in time coming together for something so much bigger than what i understand. what else can i do but stir the risotto again and again in praise? i'm understanding slow food in a whole new way.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

black is the color of a strangled rainbow...

thank you lara for feeding me such good music lately. this song and video makes me want to burrow my head in another decade.

also, these passive aggressive wi-fi passwords are amusing.

all india's children, divine wrestling

here are a few more from india. i love how among the hindus, even the cows get painted with bindis. but the dogs are just as sad as any other third world country i've seen. i've photographed chlidren in many country because they are not afraid of being seen, and the children of india were no exception. as we weaved through the streets in our SUVish car, they flocked to us, eager to have their pictures taken. they way they look into the camera with such pointed curiosity or eagerness, amazes me every time. i wonder where that goes as we grown up.

also, i heard this poem by hafiz at the all soul's valentines day service and i just can't get it out of my head:

I sit in the streets with the homeless

My clothes stained with the wine
From the vineyards the saints tend.

Light has painted all acts
The same color

So I sit around and laugh all day
With my friends.

At night if I feel a divine loneliness
I tear the doors off Love's mansion

And wrestle God onto the floor.

He becomes so pleased with Hafiz
And says,

"Our hearts should do this more."