Monday, January 9, 2017

Finding Our Way in 2017

It's the New Year! Lately I have the strangest feeling that I'm living in The Future. Usually it's only the first month or two of the new year that I get that vibe, but I never really got used to it being 2016, and now it's 2017! Is this just part of getting older?

That said, I have so many concrete things to be excited about this year. I've never been so clear on what I need to do to accomplish my goals, and grow into who I hope to be, and that feels fantastic!

In that spirit, I just launched my doulamatch.net profile! Check one important step off that list!

Of course, this year is off to a rough start, too. I'm deeply saddened by the massive mistake made in the presidential election, and the damage that mistake will cost us for the next four years. I also lost my paternal grandfather on the 4th day of the new year. He was suffering, and ready to check out of his nursing home for good though, so while I mourn the era his death definitively ended, I'm more relieved for his sake than anything else.

Usually I post my New Years resolutions here, publicly, on the blog...but this year, I think I'll make you wait till I announce their completion, one by one.

Are you settling into 2017? Does it still feel new and shiny? Are you thinking about resolutions, or do you have your list all set?

Why not set aside ten minutes for a meditation to help you focus your energies toward the highest good in the year ahead?

Recalibrating Meditation:

Choose a comfortable space where you won't be disturbed. Make sure your phone won't make any noises or vibrate! Change into comfortable clothes, and if it helps you to shift gears, light a candle, or some insense, or turn on your fancy-schmancy essential oil defuser. Either way, keep the lights low. Sit or lie down in a comfortable, supported position. You don't want to get a cramp and have to shift halfway through.

Give yourself at least a few breaths to just relax, and release tension from your body. As you let out your breath with a sigh, gently shake our your shoulders, arms, and hands. Let your breath flow in and out easily, and naturally, inviting your exhales to be longer than your inhales.

You might close your eyes, or you might just let your focus go soft. Either way, invite yourself into your body. Take an energetic look around. Are there sensations you notice? Sensations you already expected to find count, but don't forget about those subtler ones, the ones that you could dismiss as just your imagination. Don't. These sensations are your body talking to you.

What is your body saying? What does your body need? Listen and absorb these messages for as long as feels right, then thank your body for communicating its needs to you.

Shift your focus back out of your body. Start to zoom out. Way out. You can imagine the view as you float up,  through roof of your building, up through the sky, out, out, out, until you can see the earth spinning below you. Send love to the earth. Let her know you are listening. What is the earth saying? What does the earth, and all the beings living on her, need from you? You will not be burdened with all the needs of the entire world! Only what is in line with what you can give will be asked. Listen and absorb these messages. Thank the earth for being your beautiful home. Enjoy the view for as long as you'd like! You can turn around to take a gander at the rest of the universe, or fly wherever you'd like to go.

When you're ready, see yourself making the journey all the way back to your body. Take a few deep breaths, and make small movements with your fingers and toes, making your way back to the moment you're in.

Take some time to journal about what you've received. What concrete steps can you take to better care for yourself, and the world? What larger goals can you set for yourself for 2017 along those lines? If you're feeling overwhelmed instead of expired, focus only on those small steps, and consider what resources you would need to make larger goals feel doable.

Come back to this meditation any time you feel a need to recalibrate your inner compass: toward your own greatest good, and toward the universe's greatest good...

Enjoy!

Live Omily,
~em


Monday, December 12, 2016

Eating Omily: The Lexicon of Sustainability–F*ck Convention


Perhaps the most obnoxious "Is this backwards land??" feature of any discussion on sustainable, and just food are what we mean when we talk about 'conventional' farming. Because what we mean by that word is a process that is LESS THAN 100 YEARS OLD compared to what we mean by 'unconventional' farming, which is tens of thousands of years old! There is nothing conventional about using natural gas as a raw product to produce 'fertilizer' in a factory. Growing food with artificial fertilizer is like growing humans on nothing but processed, fortified junk: a terrible idea that yields terrible results. It's actually not rocket science.

Nature is not a linear system. Nature is a cyclical ecosystem. If we don't treat our farms like cyclical ecosystems, they are not sustainable. If they are not sustainable, it doesn't matter how high our production rates are because it's only a matter of time until we hit a wall.

It's like suggesting we solve the problem of coal miners losing jobs as we close coal mines by insisting we keep mining coal: like, cool, they've got jobs, but their kids won't have an inhabitable planet, soooo...

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Watch this video from the Lexicon of Sustainability to get clued in:
http://www.pbs.org/food/features/lexicon-of-sustainability-unconventional-agriculture/

We've talked about a lot of these issues before, but I love seeing them explored from new perspectives, and having the history thrown in.

Where do you find unconventional growers? At your Farmers' Market of course!! But that's not the only place. More research is needed, but I've heard at least some lip service toward sustainability from Blue Apron, and Carnivore Club, a subscription service for rare, premium charcuterie (get in my mouth!!!), specializes in small, local artisans purchasing humanely raised meat. Whole Foods and similar markets, while expensive, do reliably stock unconventional foods, and even your standard big box market is likely to have BOTH an organic, and a local section these days! Thankfully, putting your wallet where your ethics are, and putting your ethics where your mouth is, is getting easier and easier, and the more we push for it, the easier it will be.

Now, speaking of the Carnivore Club (please tell me they sell jackets...), this whole, sustainable ecosystem deal is a bit of bad news for vegans. It may be possible, thanks to fungi and bugs, to have a sustainable ecosystem farm that doesn't feature food animals...but it's much simpler to keep chickens, cows, pigs, rabbits, etc. along side those diverse crops. Fortunately for all the vegans who don't believe that eating animals is simply wrong on its face, a sustainable ecosystem farm is one where the animals live out their lives as their instincts demand: i.e. quite happily! And if you feel in your heart that no matter how animals lived their lives, killing them for food is wrong, then trust me, your choice to be vegan benefits the planet simply by cutting down on the number of animals demanded for human consumption. Raising animals right requires A LOT of space and resources. Meat is absolutely a gourmet treat in the sustainable future we're hoping to build. We are ALL going to need your vegan recipe blogs, so keep them coming! Love and respect to you!

Speaking of which, got a rad veg or vegan holiday recipe? It's a great time to share. ;-)


Monday, November 28, 2016

Eating Omily: Lexicon of Sustainability-Seeds of Hope

It's been a while since we've discussed the Lexicon of Sustainability, but I haven't forgotten about it! This issue is a really important one: we're in the midst of a mass extinction that no one is talking about! By creating an economy in which small, diverse, family farms struggle to survive, let alone survive, we've also majorly shrunk the gene pool of what we eat...but before I get into that, you should watch the video! It's right here: http://www.pbs.org/food/features/lexicon-of-sustainability-seeds/

You may recall the discussion of landraces from an earlier video and blogpost (Hint: it's right here!): when food crops are allowed to evolve over time in specific regions, when seeds are shared between farmers, and traits that we like, such as the ability to be stored for months in a root cellar and stay nutritious and delicious, are bred back into the gene pool, we end of up with a thriving, diverse ecosystem of food crops that can withstand harsh conditions.

When selling seeds becomes about making as much money as possible, only a few easily producible, high-yield varieties get sold, and GMOs become more and more popular because they are patentable: non-GMOs can be saved and shared by farmers, reducing the number of seeds a company can sell.

Now, to be clear, I don't believe GMOs cause autism or cancer or allergies, or whatever. I think GMOs represent a grave misuse of an important and useful technology. Did you know the same technology that produces GMO corn also produces insulin for diabetics?

Aside from hurting farmers by taking their right to breed, share, and save seeds, GMOs also are a huge cause for the extinction of so many valuable food crops, a situation that puts us at direct risk of famine, food shortage, and hunger. This 2016. We know better. Learn how you can fight for GMO labeling, so we can make choices about where our money is going, and support seed sovereignty. Of course, at the core of this is supporting the very small, diverse, family farms that create sustainable ecosystems. Buy your food from them! Farmers Markets are one way, but CSAs are another, and farm stands, and even shopping online, are other ways.

I've said it before, and I've said it again. The old guard is fighting like hell to take us all down, and the planet with us. We need to be fighting just as hard. This isn't the time for half measures. If you can do it, do it. If you can't, do what you can, and encourage others.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Can You Hear My Voice This Time?

Well, it happened. It seemed like it couldn't possibly happen simply because of how deeply horrific it was, but it did. And if you're anything like me, you've spent the last week vacillating between rage, heartbreak, confusion, physical illness, and deep down, hope. The fight doesn't end with Trump's election. In fact, it has just begun. Everything we've worked so long for is going to be challenged, and we have to do everything in our power to defend it. We always knew this was a long game.

This is what's getting me through these dark days as I seek out the best ways to make a difference.
(And in case the imbed feature doesn't work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YttscNOoAjA)

I loved this video when it premiered at the DNC...but it's take on so much more meaning now. I won't be quiet to avoid starting a fight with my family. I won't pretend like an opinion that someone else doesn't deserve human rights is valid. But I'm doing more than that, and you should, too.

Donate to Planned Parenthood. Send cards of support to LGBTQ support centers. Send money and supplies to Standing Rock. Write members of the electoral college, and remind them of their responsibility not to elect an unqualified candidate to office, and who won the popular vote. Ask President Obama to appoint his choice of Supreme Court Justice: Congress has waived their right to comment by refusing to do their job. Send reiki healing to the current Supreme Court Justices!

Don't just do one thing. Don't just do the easy thing. If ever there was a time to step out of complacency, to make sacrifices to build the world you want to live in, this is it. Take a long, hard look at your life, at how you talk about oppressed groups. Don't just stand around in your safety pin: do more.

Don't block your Trump supporter family members on Facebook! TALK BACK! Kindly, compassionately if you can stand it, but at the very minimum, don't let them forget that they are not the majority. We are all humans: women, LGBTQ people, Muslims, immigrants, Jewish people, people of color, poor people. Fight for human rights for every. Single. Person.

I don't know about you, but I've still got a lot of fight left in me.
Live Omily,
~Emily

Monday, November 7, 2016

On the Importance of Shifting

I was on such a role sharing a vintage or writing a new blogpost every week! But last week, I knew on Sunday that a Monday blogpost was just not happening! Not with a full day of work, family visiting, a neighborhood block party, AND the Halloween parade to get to! I knew you wouldn't mind. I'll always be back!

Lately I've been hard at work updating my website. Just typing the phrase is frustrating! It seems like every time I turn around, I'm having to make major changes again. I update, fix, rewrite, swap in better photos, and then I breathe a sigh of relief. Done at last! And then the next thing I know, the whole thing is out of date again, not matching what I'm doing, what I'm offering, or even who I feel like I am anymore. Up to now, I've been thinking that it's because I'm no good at designing websites (and lets be real, I would definitely be better served by leaving this to a pro; I hope I can afford to soon!).

But today, I had an insight that's invited me to flip my perspective on this problem as well:

I was taking a bag of clothes with me to the Farmers Market to drop off at the textile recycling tent. I had my route all mapped out: clothing drop-off at 17th street, then up to 18th street to check for on-sale halloween candy, and pick up cash at the atm, then back down to the Farmer's market. I got to 17th and...no textile recycling tent! Where could they be? They were here last week! I stood there, awkwardly gripping my big bag of clothes, and desperately trying to keep my tote bag on my shoulder, feeling utterly lost. My whole plan was down the drain!  Thankfully, there was an alternative: I could carry the clothes down to 14th and 5th and drop them at the Goodwill there. But that was four blocks out of my way!

I set off in that direction, feeling very annoyed. I do not like my well-laid plans going awry. I took some deep breaths, and reminded myself that the discomfort I was feeling was just my brain not wanting to accept that things were different from how I had wanted them to be. Something about the way I phrased it reminded me of a definition of humor: the difference between what you expect, and what you get. It seemed like if I could shift my perspective just a hair, I could see the humor of the situation, and feel amused instead of frustrated.

Spoiler alert, I wasn't able to make that shift, though the attempt was interesting. But when I got back to thinking about my website, and what I still needed to complete the updates (birth ball photo shoot, anyone?), it occurred to me that maybe the problem wasn't that I had to keep updating it, but my expectation that I shouldn't have to. If my website stopped needing updating, didn't that just mean that I had stopped changing? Growing? Evolving? Allowing myself to constantly grow, change, and evolve is at the bedrock of who I am, and who I want to be. Why would I be frustrated by the fact that my career progress has never stagnated for any appreciable amount of  time??

Change is good! Not always easy, but good. Keep any eye out on Facebook, instagram, tumblr, twitter, and my e-mail list for the launch of, actually, TWO freshly updated websites. The hustle is too big for one, y'all.

Oh, it's only fair that I leave you with the end of the story: turns out the textile recycling tent WAS there, just a few spots down from its usual place. So, if I had literally shifted my perspective about ten feet over, I wouldn't have had to walk those four extra blocks at all! Don't get stuck in a place, or a mindset. It will not serve you!!

How are you making space for worthwhile shifts in your life? How could you be?

Live Omily,
~em

Monday, October 3, 2016

Eating Omily: The Lexicon of Sustainability: CSA! CSA! CSA!

Are you ready for some good old fashioned impassioned chanting? Here we go:

CSA! CSA! CSA!

Wasn't that fun?? If you aren't joining in yet, I hope you will be by the end of this blogpost! The topic is...you guessed it! CSAs! What are they? Why are they great for you? Why are they even better for farmers? Just watch this video from the Lexicon of Sustainability to get up to speed!

So, it's pretty clear how awesome this is for farmers: Farming is a risky business! So many things can wreak havoc on a harvest: the weather, a broken down tractor, a lack of workers, the shifting winds of food trends (kohlrabi is the new kale!), and about a million other influences. By committing at the start of the season to be the market for this food, and paying up front, you're giving the farmer needed funds to invest in this season, and future seasons, and to ride out some of those rough times.

But wait...what's in it for you??

A CSA can feel like a huge check to write for a bunch of fruits and veggies, and it IS a big chunk of change up front! You may not be in a position financially to make that outlay, but if you are, or you're already buying organic, or shopping at your farmers' market, you will likely find that you come out ahead, or at least break even. AND, no stressing over what to get, or when to go: your stuff is bagged or boxed up waiting for you. Go pick it up, and away you go!

Many CSA members enjoy being exposed to fruits and veggies they may have never had before (were you like, wtf is kohlrabi??)! If you enjoy cooking, and preserving, you'll love having lots of inspiration every week.

If you don't, you will want to be prepared to pick up these skills in order to get the most out of your CSA. You could team up with a buddy to help you figure out what to do with your bounty, in exchange for part of your share. I'm just going to say this right now, friends: I am SO up for being your preserving/cooking buddy! Take the plunge!! You could plan out soups, crockpot meals, days to prep and freeze extra veggies, and more all in advance, and along the way, you'll get to know the food you eat in a whole new, more intimate way!

Speaking of getting to know in a more intimate way, CSAs build communities around local food sources: you'll get to know the farmers and workers who feed your family, which inspires a whole new level of gratitude for your daily bread, and you'll meet neighbors at your pick ups who you already have something in common with: a passion for sustainable, healthy, delicious food! CSA stands for community supported agriculture, but you can also turn that phrase around: CSAs are when agriculture supports community!

If you're intrigued, now's a great time to do your research: ask around and see if any of your friends did a CSA this year. It will be winding down in the next couple months. Ask them what they thought of it. See what all options are available in your area. Once you find a good one, put the sign-up dates in your calendar, and be prepared to leap on it! The good ones are known to fill up!

Will you consider a CSA this year? Shall we try this one more time..?

CSA! CSA! CSA!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Eating Omily: Economies of Community

Welcome back to my continued exploration of the Lexicon of Sustainability! This video comes in under three minutes, but it gets right down the meat of the matter when it comes to sustainable food: our centralized food system was a bad decision, and has long since proven itself unsustainable. We need to swap it out for what we had before: a series of localized food systems. How do we do that?? Well, to start with, watch the video. As they say at the end of each one, "Your words can change the world".

http://www.pbs.org/food/features/lexicon-of-sustainability-economies-of-community/

Economies of Community...it has a beautiful ring to it, doesn't? Isn't that what economies should be? Shouldn't they serve us, and not the other way around? 

Thanks to a whole bushel of short-sighted decisions that took place around the post WWII boom, instead, we have economies of scale: get big, or get out!

Aside from being unsustainable in just about every way, this new system has cost us so much: local and regional recipes, flavors, and foods, a sense of local pride and belonging, job opportunities that pay a living wage, and more. Our centralized food system is a failed experiment. Thankfully, we're figuring that out, and we're figuring out how to fix it.

We're working toward replacing economies of scale with that beautiful phrase: economies of community. How can you help? Like it says in the video, we need motivated consumers to make this shift. We need people who read labels, go out of their way to spend their money on sustainable foods, and use their voices and well as their dollars to make it clear what they want: local, sustainable food systems.

That's it. It's really that simple. Itching to read more? Just search the 'eating omily', and 'sustainability' tags on this blog, or search terms like 'local'. You'll be up to your ears in details! :-D