Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A beautiful thing is never perfect. -Proverb

                          Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect.
                          It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.      

In recent days, I have been thinking a lot about perfection. 

I think expecting everything in your life to be "perfect" is to set your self up for a very difficult life. And I think that the idea that perfection is actually attainable is a terribly false and misguided idea. I think it is a handicap. I think it leads to heartache, as inevitable disappointment will follow. Why? Because everyone's idea of perfection is different. So your idea of a perfect day is likely not my idea of a perfect day. Also life happens, as it will. Things, events, moments will develop organically and expecting "perfection" will only lead to frustration as you try to control circumstances that are beyond your means. 

The sooner you are able to accept that life, people, circumstances all have a mind of their own, the sooner you will arrive at peace. It is important to peacefully and lovingly value people over material things, for example. It is important to peacefully and lovingly value experiences over appearances, for example. It is important to be happy with what your efforts bring you. For example, if you have worked really hard to put an event together instead of expecting things to go as "perfectly" as you have imagined you might be better off congratulating yourself for all the hard work and dedication you have devoted to your event. You should first thank the universe that you have the means to dedicate your resources and time to planning your event. After that leave it to the universe to make it the best it can be naturally. Be at peace with your effort and then let it go. Rather than being controlling, which will inevitably lead to stress and disappointment (because people won't behave as you want them to or because they won't dress as you want them to or because someone might drop a glass of wine on the floor or chair or on a white tablecloth); instead, enjoy the fruits of your labor and let life happen. Believe me, people won't remember the material things but they will remember if they felt loved and welcomed and whether it was a happy time! People remember experiences over things!

It is important to know that things or appearances are not truly what matter in life. In your last day, I promise you that things or appearances are not going to hold your hand, praying your safe passage. I promise you that it will be people and most likely your closest family, who will be there for you holding your hand praying for a warm embrace from your ancestors when you get to the other side! Remember in life the truly special moments have nothing to do with material things or whether people think you are rich or fabulous or beautiful or better dressed than your brother or sister or that you have a perfect house or car or a perfect life; what makes for truly special moments is that you share unbounded love, that you are kind, that you are thoughtful, that you make some else feel that they matter, that you show peaceful and loving light to those around you (no matter what they are wearing or what car they drive or whether they have less money than you). It is funny how the people who most positively affect your life are never the people who flaunt material things or who have misguided ideas of perfection or who are controlling, but the people who love you, who are happy for you, who offer support or a kind word when you need it. The people who you truly come to admire and respect are the people who think you are perfect in your imperfection!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

smoothie season

Now that the weather is warming up (thankfully!) it is time to turn to smoothies (AKA the "perfect breakfast"). There are several reasons why smoothies are the perfect warm-weather breakfast: one, smoothies help to kick start your metabolism in the morning (fiber, fiber, fiber); two, the low-calorie high fiber combination will help you feel better all day; three, it is a refreshing way to start your day! 

Here are some of my favorite breakfast smoothie recipes, these are vegan because I prefer my smoothies extra low-fat and non-dairy (these are easy to digest thus helping you kick start your digestive system in the right way so you won't feel dragged down by the dairy all day long). And also these are just simple and delicious.

-1 cup Almond or coconut milk
-1/2 cup cantaloupe
-1/2 cup mango
-1 tspn honey

-1 cup apple juice
-1/2 cup strawberries
-1/2 cup raspberries

-1 cup grape juice
-1/2 cup blueberries
-1 small banana
-1 tspn ground flax seeds

p.s. don't use ice, use frozen fruit instead!
p.p.s. you can also add 1 tblspn ground oatmeal to the mix (grind your oatmeal in blender before adding the other ingredients).

Friday, April 12, 2013

wisdom in unexpected places

"We should consider it a privilege to serve living beings." -Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

The other day I locked my keys in my car and I did not realize it until it was time to pick up my son from school. The worse part was that my husband was away and no one else has keys to either my car or our house (the keys to which I had locked in the car as well). My husband's  grandmother had just passed away that very morning and I was so distracted after hearing the sad news that I locked my self out. When I realized I could not get in the car, I frantically walked to my son's pre-school (about a mile and a half away), from which we then grabbed a taxi back to my office. The entire time my son was excited about this after school adventure and specially about sitting in a taxi cab like a grown-up without a car seat. We went back to my office and called AAA to come unlock my car. When the AAA man arrived he greeted me in a thick Rhode Island accent: "how are you doing?," to which I quickly replied, "I've had better days!" He looked at me then at my beautiful son as we stood next to the car holding hands. He smiled at us and said, "but it could be a worse day, right?..." He opened my car in less than a minute! I thanked him profoundly not only for opening my car but also for reminding me that locking my keys inside my car was not the worse thing that could happen. I said to him "Thank you for the reminder, you are right, this day is not so bad." He smiled at me stepped into his AAA-truck and sped away. My son asked me, "Mommy can we do this every night?"

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A list of favorites

                                                                          first blooms in my garden spring 2013
1. Street Art of the Arab World 

2. Guía para una enseñanza antirracista de la Herencia Africana

3. Seth Godin's What is school for?

4. Dandelions for dinner?

5. National Beer Day! (April 7th)

6. Ms. Deshotel's Project: The Sustainable Learning Garden

7. Crescent Park Carousel (see these photos) &  Marc Kohler (the face painter)

8. The Zen of Rock Balancing

9. Rap Militante en Senegal  

10. Side by Side by Mally Z. Ray

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Win some, lose some

Fall seven times, stand up eight. 
-Japanese Proverb

It is an unfortunate thing, but you cannot win every battle even when the truth, or good intention, or right is on your side. This is a difficult lesson to learn (1st lesson). But the world keeps revolving, and another battle has been fought and there are winners and losers. And even though you were sure that you’d win because right was on your side you still loss. And you feel slighted. You feel like the world has conspired against you. You feel as though it cannot be possible that things have turned out this way. Maybe it is a bad dream from which you will wake-up. But you are up in fact you are wide awake. But there is a lesson in all of this (2nd lesson): you must not become jaded by these temporary defeats. And you must devise a mantra and you will repeat it to yourself often. Mantra: “I will not be cynical, I will not join the sleep walkers who think injustice is okay, who believe nothing is wrong, who do not believe things can be changed. I will fight to right injustice and I will do so with integrity and I will stand my ground.” Then after you say this you will remember all the people you admire who have come before you. You will think about your ancestors, and you will think about the fighters in your family past and present, and you will think about culture heroes like Che and Malcolm, Ms. Park and Ms. Simone and Cesar Chavez and Julia de Burgos and so many others who have not and will not be silenced. And you will remember your North and you will follow it and you will continue to dream. You will decide that you will not become paralyzed with inaction because there will be many more battles to fight. You will continue to walk your path with integrity. And here is another lesson, from counter-cultural artist Janis Joplin (3rd lesson): “don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” And perhaps your mission is not to win but to bear witness and to speak up and stand up against injustice. And these acts take courage. So perhaps your mission is to liberate yourself from within. And then you will learn another lesson (4th lesson) (and this one comes from Ghandi): “you must be the change you want to see in the world.” You will remember that winning or losing is irrelevant, what is important is what you do with this new information. How can this unexpected circumstance inform your self and direct your future? What new dreams have been revealed to you?