Tag Archives: postaday

Aikido

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What we need is to develop a heart that brightens the world.

~ Motomichi Anno Sensei

(from Journey to the Heart of Aikido: The Teachings of Motomichi Anno Sensei by Linda Holiday)

What I love about aikido is its focus on recognizing and redirecting energy as one works with seen and unseen motion. Rather than relying solely on our material senses, we practice aikido exercises that foster a deeper awareness with which we find openings in an instant to render aggressive movement non-threatening. I imagine that working with energy in this manner may be akin to what birds experience as they soar and shift along varying air currents.

Compassion is the other aspect I most love about aikido as we practice protecting ourselves and the attacker, emphasizing inherent worth and connectedness rather than separateness.

Aikido practice is also applicable in situations one might not expect. I knew someone who walked away from a freeway motorcycle accident because just after the car began to shove his motorcycle out from under him, his body curled, rolled in the air and over the car before he landed in a fall he’d done so many times in aikido that reflex saved his life.

I experienced something similar when riding my bike in Golden Gate Park. Another rider I’d just met urged me to ride off a cliff in a mini-Kenevil-like jump. Because I resisted, this guy playfully taunted and then demonstrated how to do it. He made it look easy and I rarely turned from a dare.

So I rode off the edge–fast.

My bike nosedived, but my body released the bike and rolled like a sowbug, head over heel, through the air before slamming, past the crumpled ten-speed, in an aikido side fall .

After catching my breath I looked up at this guy as he continued asking if I was okay though he sounded elated as he described how my body had done this thing he’d never seen anyone do, that he couldn’t figure out how I’d rolled rather than landed on my head and neck like the handlebars on my twisted bike.

Lucky for me, repetitive training turned into reflex and saved me before my brain could process what was happening. When he said that he’d gotten hurt the first time he’d done the jump because his bike also nosedived, my brain kicked in and I never returned his calls. Though I was able to make it home before my hip doubled in size, why would I want a “friend” who would knowingly put me in danger? There’s enough unavoidable danger in life.

Instead, friends are our safety, our comfort, and the ones we choose to share the joy this blink-of-an-eye-life offers so that our hearts continue to open and brighten this world.

Little Bee

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Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming….

So begins Chris Cleave‘s compelling novel, Little Bee, told in the alternating voices of a Nigerian girl and a British woman whose lives are inextricably woven.

In the way that Toni Morrison made American slavery palpable and personal in Beloved, Chris Cleave personalizes UK immigrant detention and the cruel indifference of greed in this beautifully written page turner, rich in language and nuance.

Read the first page and you’ll be hooked to its satisfying conclusion.

The Stars Within

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The tech who drew my blood inspired this sculpture.

Lab techs ensure that needed biological matter is obtained to aid in a diagnosis or that a person is well. Techs usually do this with as little pain and stress to each person as possible.

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Yet, most often they hear things like I hate needles as they collect blood, feces, urine, sputum, with kindness and compassion despite too little appreciation for how critical their work is, or their skill.

This piece is a thank you for lab techs and other medical personnel.

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It started with the disposable tourniquet that I rolled for the arms. The turquoise tourniquet doesn’t show since it’s covered with the purple bandage used to keep gauze in place after my last blood draw. The red heart is bandage from a previous draw.

The yellow dress is the webbing from a bag of lemons while the face and hair are foil that protected a cork.

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Since the yellow webbing wasn’t strong enough to support the weight of the head, I used leftover starred gold wire, which led to the title.

The light varies since it came from shafts of sunlight through the trees.

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As an avid garage sale seeker once said to me, one person’s garbage is another’s treasure!

This Edge of Sea

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  And it is a dream at sea such as was never dreamt, and it is the Sea in us that will dream it:

The Sea, woven in us, to the last weaving of its tangled night, the Sea, in us, weaving its great

hours of light and its great trials of darkness.

— Saint-John Perse, Seamarks

I’ve touched death twice and come back. I feel like a cat, though I’m not counting on nine. I was told as a child that I would not live even thirty years due to severe asthma. In my early twenties, I wheezed ceaselessly for two years, even with intravenous steroids during monthly hospitalizations. At this time I was told I’d be dead by twenty-five due to a rare form of asthma that afflicts fewer than two percent of asthmatics, most of whom are seventy or older. Now in my forties, I know that no one can predict another’s fate.

The first time I touched death, I was seventeen. After spending several days trying to stabilize a particularly bad attack, during which I could only walk with assistance, could barely eat, and couldn’t lie down, I called my physician, Doctor K, who wanted to meet me in the emergency room.

Driving proved slow and difficult with such labored breathing, but after I parked near the hospital’s entrance, I inched toward the automatic doors by leaning against cars, poles, the rough white wall for support, and paused to catch my breath after each step as if climbing at twenty-six thousand feet.  (More)

Thank you to the editors of Cezanne’s Carrot for first publishing this piece.

(This is a semi-repost from 10.10.09)

Chi-licious!

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I’d heard of chia seeds (and joked that someone’s found a new marketing angle now that chia pets are no longer the craze). I didn’t take chia seriously until I attended a raw live food cooking demo at Whole Food’s satellite program in Los Angeles early in 2013.

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Chia seeds are high in fibre (“the stealth nutrient” according to Dr. Lustig) as well as high in omega 3, and are delicious in combination with fruits.

Though the cook demonstrated this with measurements, I cook by approximation. She also added agave or maple syrup, which is overkill given the fruits’ sweetness. And no one needs more sugar despite it’s syrupy whispers to our DNA that it’s safe, while fattening the liver and body and nurturing disease.

Summer’s the perfect time for berries, so here’s the recipe…in approximate measurements…and once you’ve got a sense of it, make it your own!

2 baskets of raspberries. Wash in water. (I sometimes soak berries in warm or cool water and a splash of apple cider vinegar as a disinfectant, for at least 10 minutes, then rinse.)

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2 ripe bananas

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(I show the image because U.S. consumers often buy and eat bananas before they’re ripe.)

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5 Tablespoons of chia seeds

Add about 1 cup of water and soak for 10 minutes. You may need to add a bit more water, or coconut water*, so the seeds continue to have liquid to absorb. (They can absorb nine times their volume in water…so don’t eat unsoaked chia or you’ll get stomach cramps.)

After soaking for 10 minutes, add at least 1.5 cups of water, or coconut water, till the mixture holds its shape while while still flowing from a tilted spoon.

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*Coconut water is often clear but sometimes pink. The best is directly from young fresh coconuts, but bottled/canned coconut water is easy if you don’t have time hack through the husk and you like the taste, or want extra potassium.

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Now that you have the rinsed raspberries, ripe bananas and soaking chia

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mash the bananas with your fingers, a potato masher or

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a fork

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till they look like this:

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And do the same with the raspberries, which is easiest with fingers, though I’ll often do the bananas and raspberries together with a potato masher,

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till they look like this:

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Then add flavors you like…this medley in decreasing order of amount includes vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove:

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Add the soaked chia to the fruit and mix till you have a uniform semi-liquidy glop that can be more or less watery depending on your taste, but this is how I like it:

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For more texture, you can mix in whole blueberries, or another fruit of your choice.

Cover your chi-licious and refrigerate at least two hours, then enjoy!

(For more crunch, eat it with toasted nuts or seeds like pecans, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds.)

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It will be good up to three days, refrigerated, though it’s doubtful it will last that long. Delicious and good for you…what a combo!

Bon Appetit!

Bee is Mantis

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Oooh, pretty!

Praying mantis! And so well camouflaged in salvia!

Those were my first thoughts.

The WP photo prompt this week is fleeting…like beauty…life…thoughts…experience…

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and though I chose not to publish these photos previously because they disturb me and I didn’t want to disturb you,

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they perfectly illustrate fleeting as they catch the ephemeral beauty of nature

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and how living requires eating so these photos also illustrate how fleeting life is.

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The honey bee is caught,

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savored,

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beheaded

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and further savored…

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and I had to walk away from breathtaking wonder that shifted in a moment to revulsion though I recognize that the bee is the mantis and we are each both bee and mantis, and our moments as fleeting.

wearable to fine art

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At twenty-five, Sumi Foley saved her grandma’s silk kimonos from the trash since her grandma had tired of them. An artist, Foley deconstructs these kimonos to recreate them as hand sewn fine art.

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When one paints without sketching, it’s termed boneless, which is how Sumi embroiders the roses and hands on her hand-stitched patchwork in her “For My Love” series, made of silk kimono and silk organza.

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Here’s a short interview with Foley, and inspiration for the timeless continuity of reconstruction and change.