"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Monday, January 19, 2009

In the squares of the city / By the shadow of the steeple / By the relief office / I saw my people

This was my favorite performance of the whole pre-inaugural celebrity beauty pageant. Pete Seeger leading the crowd in singing the best verses from "This Land is Your Land," with help from his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger and the Boss. Just the smile on Pete's face, whether he did much singing or not, and his little knit hat. He called out the words and told everyone to sing. Like he's done for almost 70 years. How would that be, to work for what you care about, doing what you love to do, for 70 years?

What's wrong with this picture?

As a figure of speech, that is, since there isn't actually a picture with this post. I was down in the Central Coast this past weekend for the annual Benchmark Institute board & 'kitchen cabinet' planning retreat. In some spare moments I went to the beach...in shorts and a sports bra...and ran around in the surf. On Saturday and a bank sign in Watsonville said it was 75 degrees. Not everyone may realize that California in January isn't supposed to be this way, really. We're in trouble in the water department and I'm afraid next summer could be an unbreathable mess like last one was. So I figured I better enjoy summer wherever it turns up.

At least Arizona is going to the Superbowl finally. And there's that inauguration thing happening tomorrow too. Coincidence?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I heart miso broth

Good morning...and welcome to Day 5 of my (almost) 5-day New Year's liquid cleansing fast. Last Monday I ate small healthy meals for breakfast and lunch (oatmeal, tomato basil soup and cabbage / nut salad from the Co-op deli) and then had a glass of unfiltered apple juice with psyllium powder for "dinner"...chased with a lot of water. Since then it's been apple juice and psyllium 3 times a day, with hatcho miso broth in between (and water) with cups of herb tea a couple times a day as well, and some diluted unsweetened cranberry juice.

I've been a little hesitant to publicly announce / discuss what I'm doing because it seems kind of extreme, and I know from personal experience that it can even feel a little threatening when somebody appears to be 'rejecting' something held so dear and craved so intensely as is our food. I was never very good at or interested in fasting beyond the minimum religious requirements. This has been much easier, though, with the liquids, and as someone pointed out, it's only five days out of my whole life. When I came down with that cold a couple weeks ago I stopped drinking coffee. I don't think the hiatus will be permanent but I'm enjoying it for now. My energy level throughout the day is more consistent and I feel more rested when I wake up in the morning. It was a stressful week at work so maybe that kept me awake too.

Part of this has been an exercise in control. I'm very food-oriented and not always as picky as I should be, especially considering that I have kind of a sensitive tummy. It helped that the Taco Bell two blocks away from my office closed down last month...through no lack of my support. I would need my cheap seven layers of goo burrito and quesadilla or jalapeno chicken melt fix and almost invariably have a tummy ache afterwards. So my brain wants a lot of things that really aren't doing my body any good. I would like to develop a little more control over my mind.

I'm really looking forward to some solid food this evening. Day Three (Thursday) was probably the hardest in terms of being hungry. The miso broth is what made this all more or less tolerable. I've had a package of miso in the fridge for a year, not realizing how easy it is to make a cup of delicious, satisfying instant broth. I don't know if all of its reported health effects are for real but it is comforting to the belly and the mind. I like the dark "red" salty Hatcho kind. I plan to make it a regular part of my diet.

As I enter the later part of my mid-30's I've been feeling that some of the old patterns / habits may not be sustainable for a whole lot longer, and I'd rather try to head them off now of my own free will than wait for all the consequences to bite me. Age will inevitably bite but maybe it won't have to bite quite so hard or all at once. Sports nutrition advice is full of statements about how our bodies are machines that need good fuel for optimum performance. How many times to I have to suffer from Taco Bell tummy before I get the message that what I'm doing doesn't work? Why is it so hard to heed those little red flags our bodies wave at us? Dumb old greedy brain.

I was walking Ripley yesterday and she was charging along at the very end of her leash, making me wish I had roller skates, and a woman with an apparently very well- trained border collie walked by and smiled and said "I see who's in charge." My brain and Ripley both need some follow up classes since we graduated from puppy school.