Friday, August 31, 2012

Eating Omily: More! More! More!

I keep hearing people express sadness at the fact that the Summer is winding down.  I for one am thrilled I can turn off the AC and open the windows once in a while, but I know, Summer is a special time.  The good news is, Summer is still rolling at the Farmer's Market!  I was so blown away by the huge variety of ripe produce in my share on Monday I took pictures.
 Are you seeing this?  One summer squash, one cucumber, five potatoes, one onion, three peaches, three beets (with greens=two veggies in one!), two sweet peppers, three hot peppers, two ears of corn, one eggplant, a big bag of green beans, and three tomatos!  For twenty dollars!!  Are you signing up for a CSA next year?  Thought so.

Had one of my favourite summer snacks the other day: a sliced tomato drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt.
 And then it was time to get down to business.  I brought home ten pounds of peaches, a jar of honey, and a pint of brandy.  And no, sadly, the brandy was not to give me comfort as I spent the next few hours canning peaches.  It had a higher calling...
 All of the peaches had to be blanched: boiled for thirty seconds to a minute to loosen their skins, then plunged into acidulated ice water.  Here's all my blanched peaches, just a couple skinned, halved, and pitted so far.
 An hour later, here they are all done!
 A lot of the skins failed to loosen, which meant I had to carefully peel them with a paring knife, doing my best to remove as little flesh as possible.
 The peach halves were packed into hot, clean quart jars, and I put together the syrup and brought it up to a boil.  In the syrup: water, sugar, local honey, brandy, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves.  It smelled so good; wish you could have been there!
 Here are my lovely jars, seven in all, of peaches in brandy syrup.
 Air bubbles are still making their way out of the outer cell structure of the peaches, which is why they're floating.
I ran out of brandy syrup and had to pack two jars in just water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks.  I left the cinnamon sticks in those jars so I'd know which was which.

August may be almost over, but Summer is still in full swing, and canning season is just getting started!  On Monday me and my wonderful friend Rebecca will be putting up two cases, that's fifty pounds(!) of awesome San Marzano plum tomatoes, courtesy of Central Valley Farm in New Jersey  They are cutting us an amazingly good deal since we're buying in bulk.  They're also responsible for that steal of a share I started this post with.  They're at Union Square on Mondays, and besides tasty produce, including lots of heirloom tomatoes, they have pastured eggs and beef, homemade yogurt and yogurt smoothies, homemade tomato sauce and soup, and a variety of awesome cheeses, both raw milk and pasturized.  Far and away my favourite stand at the Market.  Please, please go say hi, and tell them Emily Hursh sent you!

~em

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Savasana: Not Just Grown-Up Nap Time!

The month of August has been Savasana Month at Jaya Yoga Center.  Also know as, Emily's Favourite Month, and, Minimum Four Yoga Classes a Week Month.  It came as a surprise to Ramit, the director at Jaya Yoga East, since I'm such an active all-six-cylinders gunning kind of woman, but I LOVE Savasana.
I think largely it's because I do push myself so hard, and since I'm constantly dealing with higher sleep needs than average (9-10 hours, instead of 7-8), and general fatigue if I don't really watch what I'm eating and stay consistent with my herbs and teas, I tend to just ignore the little voice inside of me that says, "Slow down!  Take a nap!  You are crazy!"  Who has time for that??  But if a yoga instructor says tells me to lay down and do nothing at all, I finally feel like I can take a break, both mentally and physically, especially after a tough practice.  And what a delicious, delicious relief!
Of course, being a Savasana-lover means being ripped right out my zen yogini headspace when a teacher is so excited about showing us those last couple poses that Savasana gets shortchanged.  In my classes, Savasana is MINIMUM five minutes, and 90% of the time, you're getting ten.  You need it!  I can get very childish and pissy if I feel I've been thwarted out of my relaxation time, especially when it's Savasana month.

Aaaaand, of course, that pissy moment is when the yoga begins.  I should know this, because I take the time to say it every single time I bring a class back from Savasana: the idea is to take that feeling, that sense of peace and presence, with you, and if you do that, it matters less if your Savasana was two or ten minutes long.  Just like we're challenged to relax our jaws and smile during that fifth breath of Warrior III, we're challenged to drop the cranky story we're telling ourselves when Savasana seems too short, and sincerely thank our instructor and wish her or him well.

It's not always easy, especially when that sense of righteous indignation kicks in: she's the teacher!  She should know how important Savasana is!  And she's also a student, just like me, and I have made some hilarious yoga bloopers.  I sometimes think we yoga teachers tell our students to practice with their eyes closed so they don't see our looks of horror when we make a mistake.

But I know there are some of you out there who think I'm crazy.  Who can possibly like Savasana?  It's such a waste of time!  We could be working more!  We could be out the door and on our way to the next thing on our to-do list!

Well, hate to break it to you, but Savasana is widely regarded as the most important asana.  Ramit described it as being the bridge between asana, and meditation, and we all know that meditation is the whole point of these crazy shapes we put ourselves in.  Your body is theoretically ready for a break after working hard, but maybe your mind isn't.  If you struggle with calming your mind during a sweaty practice, it's not likely to slow down anymore when you let all that effort go.  I wish I could offer you a quick fix, but ultimately, meditation isn't supposed to always be comfortable.  You're just supposed to practice anyway.

Some people find focusing on their breath, or on each bodypart slowly getting heavier to be helpful.  I find it usually helps if I ask myself what my next thought will be, and then watch my brain very carefully, waiting for that next thought to emerge.  It usually doesn't.  Ah, silence!

One more piece of bad news: you're not supposed to fall asleep!  Yes your mind should be still, but it should remain alert and present.  Are you beginning to grasp why it's also considered one of the most difficult poses?

Ah well, guess I'll have to practice it more!

Live Omily,
~em

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Omily Tarot: The Eight of Coins

Me and the tarot are having a bit of a standoff right now: I want answers, and she's being cryptic.  Well, more cryptic than usual.  Tempting as it is to keep reshuffling, rephrasing my question, and drawing more cards, when this happens, it's time to walk away.  The answers I seek have to be found the hard way.  That's probably the most important lesson of the tarot:

It can be provide so much insight, guidance, and direction.  It can be an invaluable tool.  But there are times when the tarot won't tell you a damn thing, because the time is not right, because you already know the answers, because you're doing readings instead of doing the shit you have to do, because you'll use whatever card you draw to tell yourself what you want to hear...so many reasons.

So, Tarot Lesson Numero Uno: Know when the put your deck away.

That said, you can pull your deck out for right now; it's Tarot Monday!  I've been carefully whipping the court cards into shape, and they're almost ready to make their debut in less than two months!  Are you guys getting excited for the major arcana?  Frankly, I'm nervous.  I feel on very steady ground working with the innate symbology of the minor arcana, but the major arcana is so much more complex and deep...I've got some time to work on it, but it could easily get away from me if I don't keep my nose to the grindstone.  Speaking of which, here we go!

The Eight of Coins
8 of Coins

"The eights may be charging forward, but practical coins insist, ‘slow and steady wins the race!’   This figure works hard at creating wealth for himself, and if he shares the impatience or burn-out of the figure in the seven, he doesn’t show it.  Unlike the swords, who are totally overwhelmed by the loose ends they failed to tie up, he has chosen to take control of whether he has the resources he desires or not, and make that final push for home, and he’s already getting results. 
The eight of staves suggest throwing everything you’ve got into the final effort and crossing your fingers, going for force over control-no surprise there.  The cups concur with coins that if you want it done right you’ll have to do it yourself, though practical coins prefer results-driven task to whimsical wanderings.  The coins promise that if you’re willing to do the legwork, you will get what you want, and this character has taken them up on that offer. 
Already the proof appears to be in the pudding: 6 beautiful, round coins, and two more on the way!  But why are these being built of materials, instead of being the inevitable bounty of nature?   It’s a truth recognized since the first book of the bible: the natural generosity of the earth is limited to the degree that you’re willing to put your effort into it.  Between the natural blooming of the harvest, and this man’s willing efforts, his rewards will be great indeed.
If you get this card, it may be a pat on the back for putting the work in to get what you want, or it might be reminding you that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.  Lots of people want a job, but the people who get them are the ones who don't give up after the first few interviews don't work out.  Take your time, take pride in your work, and people are bound to notice."

Me and the earthbound pentacles don't always mesh so well: I prefer to fly high in the clouds, thanks, surrounded by intuition, imagination, and the powers of my sharp mind for routing out the truth.  What this means, of course, is that the coins lessons are ones I need to work on: patience, focus, groundedness, and knowing when I'm trying to do too much at once.  Curse you, two of coins!! (How can I be so wise, and so dumb at the same time?) Do you struggle with slow and stable coins, or do you relate to that practical, nurturing energy?  Which suit's energy do you clash with?

~em

Friday, August 24, 2012

Eating Omily: A Ode to Eggplant and Surprise Visitors

Things are settling down around here: skinny kitten is eating dry food, my allergy shot appointment is set for Tuesday mornings, my aerial teacher will be back to her regularly scheduled program next week, and I just bought a smokin' dress on clearance at Daffy's.

More to the point: I picked up some bacon, cheese, and the first concord grapes of the season at the Farmer's Market today!  Can't believe the grapes are out already.  I haven't canned a single tomato!  Going to have to put that on the to-do list this week.

So what have I been eating?  Oh, all kinds of things!  Over the weekend, I made a recipe I found in a booklet that I found along with another booklet and two records in the free box outside the nifty antique store across from Radegast Biergarten in Williamsburg.  The booklets and records are all part of a series about yoga.  Yes, I can do yoga to a record!  As soon as we get a turntable.

So the recipe was for stuffed eggplant, and it was super delicious!  I didn't follow the recipe exactly; I just read it through, and then did the best I could with what I had.

You'll need:

1 eggplant, the round purple variety, the bigger the better
1 (or more, depending on the your eggplant) tomato
1 onion
a couple garlic cloves
basil (or other herbs, fresh or dried)
1 egg
breadcrumbs (no idea how much; I think I had like, half a cup?)
 shredded or grated cheese (I used mozzarella; I'm sure Parmesan would be awesome, too)

A note here: you know how you usually end up with some bread at the end of the loaf that's borderline stale and no one wants to eat it?  Cut it into cubes and freeze it.  Keep adding to your stash, and when you need breadcrumbs, pour some breadcrumbs into your foodprocessor and fire it up.  Alternately, you can make tasty croutons just by frying your breadcubes in oil, or, you know, baking them.  Whatever.

 So, peel the eggplant, and cut it in half, and hollow it out, leaving an eggplant shell.  Since I'd already dirtied the food processor to make breadcrumbs, I threw the eggplant, the tomato, onion, and garlic into the the food processor and pulsed it all into a rough puree, but you could also just chop the ingredients for a courser filling.  The purree went into a hot, oiled skillet with salt, and pepper, and got cooked.  I added the chopped fresh basil at the very end.  I stirred some of the hot mixture into the beaten egg to temper it (so it wouldn't scramble), then added the egg mixture back to the pan, along with the breadcrumbs.  I stirred the mixture all together into a thick paste, and then filled up the oiled, salted eggplant halves with it.  I had some left over, and some frozen sliced eggplant in the freezer, so I made the rest into eggplant roll-ups, which works, too.  I sprinkled cheese on top of the eggplant halves, and added some cheese to the roll-ups, and put the whole shebang in the oven at 375 for twenty minutes.  That was long enough for the eggplant to be pretty much cooked through, and the top to be brown and crunchy.  Another ten minutes wouldn't have hurt, and might be a good idea if you want to be sure the filling is heated all the way through since there's egg in it.
It looked tastier in person, but just check out that melty crunchiness!  Nom.  If you're not sure you like eggplant, start with this. 

I've got more eggplant love coming, though!  See, I still had defrosted sliced frozen eggplant on my hands, and another whole eggplant from my share on Monday.  So last night, I sliced the whole eggplant, stacked the defrosted eggplant, drizzled with oil, and baked at 375 till it was very tender (about forty minutes, but it varies).  When you're working with just whole eggplant, it's easy to scoop the eggplant out of the skin, and mash it up with a spoon, but since not all the sliced eggplant had been peeled, I put it all in the food processor to get it all pureed.  I added garlic (grated if fresh, or garlic powder if you don't have fresh), high quality olive oil, and usually I add lemon juice, but I forgot this time, and salt and pepper.  When I learned this recipe, it was called "eggplant caviar", so that's what I call it, but it's certainly a close cousin of baba ganoush.  The resulting dip is warm, savory, smooth, and filling.  I chopped up carrots, sweet peppers, wholewheat bread, and some prosciutto for dippers, and re-melted the left-over fondue from our last cheese coma dinner, and steamed two ears of corn to go along with it.  Dinner was a little eclectic, yes, but also super yummy, and the bow on the package was a delicious pumpkin ale.  Mmmmm...a bit early for pumpkin, but I'll allow it!
We got an extra special surprise when I peeled the corn, too: a caterpillar had been shanghaied from a farm in Jersey, to Union Square, to our fridge!  Obviously a lot of people would be grossed out by a creepy crawly on something they planned on eating, but nothing get me more excited!
If a caterpillar could survive on that corn, that meant it was definitely not the scary GMO variety that makes insects' stomachs explode, and it definitely wasn't sprayed to death with pesticides, either.  I was confident my corn was neither of those things to begin with, because I know and trust the farmer that grows it, but that kind of confirmation is priceless.  If it was safe for that little guy to munch on our corn, then it was safe for us, too!  I thanked him and dropped him into the garden outside our window.

 Going to try baked eggplant?  Eggplant caviar?  Give it a shot, and let me know what you think!  The eggplants are sweet, and plentiful this time of year, and if you stock up, slice, and freeze, you'll be all set to enjoy eggplant parm and eggplant roll-ups all winter long...nom.

~em

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In Which Kittens Fail to Prevent Me from Discussing Rape

In case you haven't noticed by my one-day-off posting schedule, it's been a crazy week.  I took momma Arial and her two kittens Chubby and Chubby, I mean Adoran and Abigail, in for a check-up on Monday.  I wasn't surprised to hear that Adoran had hit the two pound mark and could stay, although I had thought they might have me keep him until he was done with his round of eye antibiotics.  I was more disappointed to find out that Arial, sweet momma kitty, wouldn't be coming home with me, either.  In their stead, I was given three underweight kittens named after Star Wars characters.
 Fortunately, my husband was very understanding about my having broken the 'no more than three foster cats total' rule.  We had a very busy, and very fun, house for two days, but then the whole crew had to go back in on Wednesday because Leia, a gorgeous orange tabby kitten, was just skin and bones, and refusing to eat.  She was given subcue fluids, an appetite stimulant, and a jar of chicken baby food.  I was all set to take my brood home, but when they brought the carrier back to me, it was sans two chubby kitties.  Both Abigail and Lando had tipped the scales, and would be staying for a big adoption event this weekend.  I was pretty bummed at losing Kitten Land in my kitchen.  Two skinny kitties just can't take over a room the way four can, and I hadn't even gotten a good picture of Lando the Pushy yet! 
So now I'm down to two: Oola, and Leia of course, who got syringe fed most of the rest of the jar of baby food last night, and is doing a little better this morning.   We'll see.
You may wonder why I'm going on and on about kittens as though you care all that much about my foster adventures.  Well, the truth is, I'm trying to resist going on a tirade about rape, because I've done that already, and many other eloquent writers have covered it already (here, and here).  And while I could argue for the happy middle ground that gets stampeded over whenever idiot patriarchy members open their mouths to spew untruths about women, even the thought of that exhausts me.  Plus I already covered that, too.

But, you know, beyond that even, I GET IT.  I get why women are just beyond pissed off.  I get why women are on the defensive.  I get why women don't want old white men deciding whether or not they can prevent, or end pregnancies affordably, or at all.  There are just too many elected officials saying too many astronomically ignorant and hurtful things for us to trust them, and no where near enough women in positions of power to properly represent the real life consequences of being a woman.

Of course, old, white, conservative men aren't the only people saying ridiculous things about rape.  How about Whoopi Goldberg drawing a line between rape-rape and...drugging and having non-consensual sex with a thirteen-year-old..?  Thanks for that, Whoopi.

I guess to some degree we do have to acknowledge that there are gray areas: statutory rape between an 18-year-old senior in high school, and his sixteen-year-old junior in high school girlfriend?  If I'm on the jury I'm still convicting the dude because he's not an idiot.  He knew the law, and he should have kept it in his pants until she was of legal age to consent.  [Of course, this presupposes A.) someone is pressing charges, which suggests this was not consensual sex with someone who wasn't technically old enough to consent to sex, but something more, and B.) that no one's concerned about the age of consent which is sixteen, isn't it?  We can make her fifteen instead of sixteen.  Oh wait, now that's gross and totally rape.]

So there you go: the grayest area I can find is still fairly cut and dried.  It really just comes down to consent, with the caveat that your partner must legally be capable of consenting.  If you have even the slightest reason to think that the person you might be about to have sex with is not consenting, or might not be capable of consenting, you need to be asking some questions: 'Would you like to have sex with me? is a good place to start.  (Keeping in mind that your partner can change his or her mind at any point, and if he or she does you are obligated to stop, or you are raping your partner.)  Oh yes, and if your partner DOES NOT CLEARLY RESPOND, because he or she is falling asleep, because he or she is drunk or high, because he or she doesn't speak your language, then he or she did not consent, and proceeding to have sex is proceeding to rape.

Can we imagine scenarios where someone says yes, her or she want to have sex, but then changes his orh er mind during his or her partner's orgasm when it's pretty difficult to stop on a dime, no matter how honorable your intentions?

What about if someone is definitely a legal adult, and definitely wants to have sex, but then turns out to have a mental illness and forgot to take their medication that day, and can legally argue the inability to consent?

Yes, these scenarios may be technically possible (I actually have no clue about that second one, it's pure speculation), but there is no gang of women (or men) running around trying to get men arrested for rape.  There's really not.   The spectre of the crazy ex-girlfriend, or the hysterical jilted lover are highly offensive stereotypes that date back to Victorian times if not before.  Women are rational creatures, just like men, and they know the difference between sex they later wish they hadn't had, and rape.  The pain and trauma of a rape trial, the shame that is piled on the victim is enough to prevent a woman, or man, no matter how angry, from bringing that on him or herself for the sake of revenge.

Sure there are exceptions, but that's why we have a legal system, a jury of peers, innocent until proven guilty, etc.

Oh, there you go, I failed to stop myself from going on and on about rape.  But we learned something today, right?  Maybe?  Ok, I'm just going to show you pictures of kittens, but you have to promise that come election day, you'll remember who said batshit things about rape, and not vote for those douche bags, no matter what other political similarities you may have.  Promise?  Ok.  Good.





Live Omily,
~em

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Omily Tarot: The Eight of Swords

Sorry for the delay; I was busy hustling all over the city with a clowder of cats.  We're back on schedule today with the Omily Tarot, and we're up to the eight of swords.  I'm still knocking my court card interpretation into shape, but rest assured, we'll be ready to move forward with them before we get to the ten of coins!  I'm not sure what interpreting the major arcana will look like.  That will be a whole new can of worms, but I'm looking forward to it, and obviously I'm really excited about wrapping up all the interpretations, and prepping the zine for production...

The Eight of Swords
"A woman stands, bound and blindfolded, in the darkness.  Her back is to a row of swords stuck in the ground, but there appears to be nothing blocking her forward passage.  A rivulet of water flows around her feet.  It looks like it’s finally happened: all those firm and inflexible truths this character has been trying to carry around have seemingly trapped her. 
Perhaps this is the same female figure we saw heading off for a better place in the
boat on the six.  If so, she doesn’t seem to have found it.  What went wrong?  She may have taken on too many of another’s truths without fully evaluating their usefulness, and now those truths are shaping her destiny in ways great and small.   Maybe she left that party in the sevens too soon, and was accosted by criminals, or her solo 8 of cups journey has resulted in her being vulnerable to attack.
Her toes dabble in a trickle of water that just might be her salvation.  If she can get in touch with her feelings and intuitions, she stands a better chance of choosing which truths serve her and which don’t.  After all, if she’d only take her blindfold off, she’d see she’s not imprisoned at all, but needs only to move forward to escape, unhindered.  If she doesn’t, here she’ll stay.
In a reading, you may feel strapped into a situation that’s not going in the direction you thought it would be.  It might feel too late, like you just need to put the blinders on and suck it up, but you always have choices: open your heart, and your eyes, and see them.  If you just invested time and money in a career you’re discovering you hate, explore similar fields this experience may serve you in.  Don’t give up!"

This also may be a card of biting off more than you can chew.  It's looking a bit too familiar after heading home from the ASPCA with four kittens under my care.  In this case the message is the same, though: the only thing keeping you trapped is you.  Take back control of your life.  It's your choice to be the victim, but it's a disempowering choice that won't serve you.  Don't skip the small things because you want to do big things.  I'm convinced the little things make the difference, if only by laying the groundwork for the big things later on.

~em

Friday, August 17, 2012

Eating Omily: We Don't Know GMO

I'd like to interrupt your regularly scheduled post of food porn and easy recipes with a public service announcement.  Today, we're going to talk about GMOs.  You've probably heard of them.  Do you know what they are?

G.M.O. stands for Genetically Modified Organism.

Things that are not genetically modified organisms: plants or animals that have been bred with other plants and animals of the same species in order to produce offspring with certain traits.

Examples:
 1.)puggles
2.)lettuces that don't flower when the temperature hits 75 degrees

Things that are genetically modified organisms: plants or animals that have had their genes spliced in a lab by scientists with plants or animals from different species in order to produce offspring with certain unnatural traits

Examples:
1.) salmon that grow 30 times faster than natural salmon
2.) sweet corn that causes insect's stomachs to explode when when they attempt to eat it.

When GMOs were invented, they were heralded as a solution to world hunger, a way to help farmers make more money off their land, and a solution to the overuse of pesticides.

Among many others, we have corn, soy, sugar beets, and others, that are resistant to Round Up pesticide.  Tons of pesticides can be dumped on these fields, and the plants will, freakishly, not be killed by it.  Does this sound like a recipe for not overusing pesticides to you?  Funny, me neither.

If you guessed that the company that makes these franken-fruits also makes Round Up, give yourself a gold star.

If you guessed that overuse of a pesticide on plants that are resistant to it have caused many species of roundup resistant weeds to pop up, decimating crops, give yourself another gold star.

Then there's Bt corn.  Bt corn is NOT resistant to roundup.  Instead, the gene spliced into it comes from a bacteria that's fatal to insects.  The corn manufactures its own pesticide.  And you were worried about pesticide residue.  You probably eat pesticide everyday.  This particular pesticide works by making the stomachs of worms and caterpillars that try to eat the corn explode.  Corn is wind pollinated.  Though all genetically modified organisms are bred to commit suicide in a single generation (and if you guessed that this is so the farmers have to buy new patented seeds from the companies that made them every year, versus saving seeds from the previous crop so the next generation is free as they've done for thousands of years, you're up to three gold stars), the corn still makes pollen, and the pollen still blows for up to a few miles in the wind.

Guess what happens to any insect it lands on, including, for example, monarch butterflies.  Yep, they die.

Now, Monsanto's scientists have assured us that this whole 'stomach exploding' thing only happens to insects.  Bt corn doesn't affect mammals, and hence humans, at all.  Genetic material is destroyed in the digestive process, so eating genetically modified foods is exactly the same as eating natural ones.

Can you guess what scientists NOT on Monsanto's payroll are saying?

Lets start with this study done in Quebec.  93% of pregnant women tested had Bt toxin in their blood.  Bt toxin was found in the blood of 80% of umbilical cords tested.  Bt toxin was found in the blood of 67% of nontoxic women.

Doesn't sound like that material is breaking down completely in the digestive system then, does it?

But hey, if it's safe for mammals, then no worries, right?  Well, that's up for debate, too.

I take this quote directly from this article: "If Bt genes are colonizing the bacteria living in the digestive tract of North Americans, we might expect to see an increase in gastrointestinal problems, autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and childhood learning disorders since the advent of Bt crops in 1996, and that’s exactly what’s being reported. For example, between 1997 and 2002 the number of hospitalizations related to allergic reactions to food increased by a whopping 265 percent. One out of 17 children now has some form of food allergy and allergy rates are rising."

Coincidence?  Perhaps, but other studies have found that GMOs do cause chronic autoimmune, gastrointestinal, and fertility problems, and there are scientists out there who believe GMOs are one factor in the rising rates of autism spectrum disorders.

Let me be clear: The science is not all in yet.  The tests Monsanto are running are finding GMOs to be safe; the tests other scientists are running are finding quite the opposite, but these studies are not yet peer reviewed, so it is fair to say that the jury is still out.  We don't know for sure if GMOs are dangerous, but we absolutely do not yet know that they are safe, and in the meantime, we're eating them.  A lot of them.

There are absolutely no laws on the books regarding the labeling of products made with GMOs.  GMOs can legally be used in products labeled 'natural', or 'all natural'.  And they are.  The most recent estimate is that 70% of processed foods contain GMOs, and  with the new GMO sweet corn, apples, and salmon on their way, even whole foods won't be safe for long.  Even certified organic foods can contain up to 5% GMOs.

Oh, and here's another fun, little story.  You know that corn pollen, blowing wild and free, and killing butterflies left, right, and center?  Well, it's also blowing onto non-GMO corn.  And the non-GMO corn is not sterile.  The corn that grows from the seeds of non-GMO corn that was polinated by GMO corn contains GMO material.  It cannot be certified organic, because it isn't.  It won't take long before it's impossible to grow organic corn on a landmass that grows GM corn.

Don't believe me?  Let's talk Canola in Canada.  Percy Schmeiser owns a 1,400 acre canola farm in Canada.  He's not certified organic, but he does grow natural varieties of canola, saving seed from year to year to plant.  Plenty of nearby farms chose to buy and grow GM canola.  In 1999, Monsanto sued Percy Schmeiser for damages to the tune of $145,000 because their GM genes were in some of his canola plants.  They didn't claim he had gotten the seeds illegaly.  They didn't claim that he had even planted the seeds.  They didn't claim he had profited from the genetic material.    All they claimed was that Schmeiser had some of their patented genetic material on his land.  Surprise surprise: canola wind pollinates.  These lawsuits had happened before, and always cowed by Monsanto's huge and well-funded legal department, the farmers had settled to their great financial losses.  Percy fought back.  His case went all the way to the supreme court, where his loss was narrowly upheld, but it was decided he didn't have to pay any money to Monsanto.

That's right.  He LOST.  Because canola can wind pollinate up to 1/3 of a mile.

Organic farmers in Canada are now suing Monsanto for making it impossible, yes, impossible, to grow organic canola in Canada.  Australia won't except imported canola from Canada because of the high probability that its contaminated with Monsanto's genetically modified material.

Percy Scheiser went on to sue Monsanto for trespassing on and contaminating his fields.  You can donate to help offset his legal fees here.

The fact of the matter is, all the facts regarding GMOs are not in.  They may be safe; they may not be.  They do increase yields for farmers, and in some cases, allow for less pesticide use.  Increased yields can be achieved through simpler means, however, and in just as many cases, they result in increased pesticide use.

While we continue to sort out whether or not GMOs are safe, we are eating them, because the USDA and the FDA don't want to 'imply that GMOs are different from non-GMOS.'  This is pretty silly, because they ARE different, no matter how you slice it.  They have far-reaching environmental and economic impacts, and potentially health impacts as well.  There are those who argue all those impacts are positive, but that still sets GMOs apart.  If they're the same as non-GMOs, after all, why doesn't the USDA allow certified organic foods to contain them?  The government should be letting the free market decide if it wants GMOs or not, especially since 87% of consumers have said they want them to be labeled, and 53% have said they would rather not buy them.

California has introduced proposition 37: The Right to Know.  It would require all foods (with the exception of dairy and most meat) that contain GMOs to label themselves as such, and would ban those foods from being labeled as 'all natural'.  I'll give you a few guesses as to who's fighting this initiative tooth and nail.  Coke and pepsi are up there, along with grocery chain lobbyists.  Why?  Because they know sales of these foods will drop once they are labeled.  If this proposition passes in California, it will pave the way for similar laws across the country.

A free market can only exist in the presence of an informed population.  Agribusiness is keeping us in the dark to protect their profits, and we don't have to stand for it.  Support prop 37, and when it passes, demand similar legislation in your state.  We have a right to make informed decisions about what we eat and feed our families.

Knowledge is power!  Here are some more articles on this issue:  "Why Aren't G.M.O. Foods Labeled?"  "Why PepsiCo is Fighting GMO Labeling in California"  This one features a better look at the other side of the debate: "Modified Food will be on Voter's Menu"

Just Say Know!
~em

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Am Over Your Excuses

Do you ever feel hopeless?  Like you shouldn't bother trying to address whats wrong with the world?  Would you rather just not think about it, and enjoy your life while you can?  Is it just too sad to contemplate the fact that we're all going to hell in a handbag?  Do you think people are overreacting?  That GMOs can't really be that bad, no one gets beat up for being gay anymore, there aren't THAT many kids starving in Africa, and, you know, the planet will evolve and fix itself?

Well, knock it the hell off!

Things ARE bad, and you CAN do something about it, and by God[dess], you have a responsibility to do it!

Wake up, pick a cause, and fight like a cat in a burlap sack.

If you have a little extra money, or could buy one less drink at each night out, or pack your lunch a couple days a week, and THEN have some extra money, then do it, and find a reputable, Better Business Bureau rated charity, and donate!

If you don't, don't feel like a bad person.  Volunteer your time!  This doesn't have to mean moving to a third world country for a year, or painting houses in bad neighborhoods...although it could mean these things.  You can tutor, you can babysit, you can take care of cute kitties and puppies (thanks, ASPCA!), you can pick up trash!  Use this website to find the opportunity that suits you.  You can be a 'slacktivist,', and sign, or send and promote every petition, or letter that comes down the pike!  That means something!

Know what else you can do?  Buy in line with your beliefs.  No excuses.  If you think it's wrong to treat animals like objects that can't feel pain, let alone psychological discomfort, STOP BUYING FACTORY FARMED MEAT.  Buy it from Whole Foods using their handy-dandy rating system, better yet, but it from a local farmer, or go veg.  Maybe you can't afford meat everyday when you're paying for the animals to be treated humanely.  That's better for you and for the planet anyway.

How about sweatshops?  Are you a fan of them?  STOP SUPPORTING THEM.  Just.  Stop it.  This can be an even harder one than finding humane meat, but it's not impossible.  Check out Fashioning Change.  This website asks what stores you normally buy your clothes from, and then it offers you similar style options from companies that are doing good things for people and the planet.  Do the clothes cost more?  YES, YES THEY DO.  It costs more to do the right thing.

Being fecking cheapskates is what got us into a lot of the messes we're in right now in the first place.

If you can't afford to spend more on your clothes, stop buying clothes.  Alter and taylor the ones you do have, and if you really need to expand your wardrobe, go vintage, consignment, or thrift, so you aren't adding to the overall not-biodegrading textile load on the planet, or asking children to work long hours in horrible conditions instead of getting their education for you.

Are you concerned about the environment?  Global warming?  Impending energy crisis?  If it's an option, buy a hybrid.  If it's not, drive less.  You CAN do it.  Pretend gas costs $10 a gallon.  Seriously, before you get behind the wheel, every single time, ask yourself if you'd be taking this trip this way if gas cost $10 a gallon.  Use public transit whenever you can.  Carpool.  Ride your bike.  Walk.  Sell your second car, and maybe buy a moped or scooter to use whenever possible.

Change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent.  Turn your air-conditioning up to 78 degrees are higher, and your heat down to 68 degrees or lower.  Wash your clothes in cold water and STOP USING TIDE and other detergents that contain phosphates.

Doing these things matter because if we shut down the demand for things that are bad for people and the planet, those things will stop being produced.

This isn't that hard, guys.  It's really not.  If each of us put our time, our money, our brains, where our hearts are, the world would be a very different place.  We have the absurd luxury in our country of pretending like our everyday actions have no repercussions because we're outsourcing them to poorer people, and our children and grandchildren. 

It's got to end now.  We're better than this.  You're better than this.  Grow the feck up and start acting like it.

Live Omily,
~em

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Omily Tarot: The Eight of Cups

Good Monday Morning!  It's time for a tarot post.  We're climbing up a spiral of sorts through the numbered cards: starting from the ace of staves, and progressing to the ten of coins.  That imagery has really been intriguing me as I work out how I want to produce my tarot interpretations zine later on.  I promise I'm making progress, guys!  It's coming along slower than I initially thought, but that's because of all the other awesome stuff I have going on.  Talitha Koum!

Today's card is the eight of cups.  This is a card that is a little bit confusing for me in light of my tarot interpretation system.  The eight is fairly close to completion, and yet in this card, the figure walks away from progress, and appears to be starting all over by the light of an observing moon.  What does it mean???


Eight of Cups

"Eight cups are stacked in the foreground.  An empty space awaits the next cup, but unlike the four, it’s not in sight.  Dark, craggy mountains reach up in the distance, out of still, rocky waters.  The moon gazes down impassively.  Our hero, clad in passionate red, walks away from the cups, toward the treacherous mountains.
Our cups journey may have felt like going through high school as a fickle lover: in a relationship, out of one, getting childish, starting over, re-evaluating old dreams…but learning how to evaluate relationships carefully, and how to not only function, but grow and thrive both within them and without them, is a crucial cups lesson.    Our figure has realized that something is missing.  The only way to achieve full emotional maturity, fully ripened intuition, complete comfort and control of his emotions, is to set off alone.  Perhaps someone to share these cups with is the thing he’s searching for.  He may have tarried too long in the cozy land of dreams; it’s after dark now.   The risks of a solitary journey are greater at this time, but theoretically you’ve made peace with vulnerability by now.
He moves over green earth, and in his hand he holds a walking stick-a stave?  Drive and ambition apart from the current or next lover is necessary to achieve the growth that will make relationships meaningful and potentially permanent.  With it in hand, our hero is set to march onto the end, assuming he doesn’t take a bad tumble on those dark rocks.  Is he walking away from a good thing, taking a risk that he’ll lose it all?  Perhaps, but those final two cups aren’t going to grow legs and walk into the scene to take their places.  Consider your motives carefully.  You should have evaluated your options and made a solid choice in the last card.
In a reading, this card can stand in for having second thoughts: in the seven, you were faced with many choices.  The eight can be about doubting the choice that you made.  You’ve got to have the courage to look within, and see if your doubt, and your urge to backtrack, is well-founded, or not.  Even if you have made a bad choice, you may be better off living with the consequences, instead of trying to go back and fix it at this point.  Transferring colleges is a major undertaking that will likely result in wasted time and money.  When the first dark night descends, we all wish we hadn’t ended things with our significant other a little bit.  Contrariwise of course, this card can also represent the courage needed to face great challenges to find true fulfillment in your life.  Nighttime and the moon represent looking within, reflecting, and a certain degree of passivity.  Before you march off, take your time evaluating."

Oh, alright, then.

You might think that it's easier to evaluate your motives by the light of day, but I'll bet you know the truth deep down: sure, you can see better by the light of day, but the fiery sun wants you to act, instead of reflect.  When you lie down for the night and stop acting is when the truth is apt to come out.  I can't believe we're this far along on our tarot journey!  I hope it's led you to beautiful moments of self-discovery.  Now's the time to practice and make mistakes.  When we get to the major arcana, the stakes are going to go way, way, up.

~em

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Eating Omily: A Glassful of Wine Helps the Squash Go Down

 Sorry I'm late, guys!  It's been quite a weekend, starting with my husband's art show reception, and ending, possibly, with that silly batman movie tonight.  Luckily, we're still on schedule for an Eating Omily post!  And what have I been eating lately?  Oh, you know, everything.  A lot of tomatoes, blueberries, watermelon, zucchini, the works.  Late Summer is booming!

You guys know by now that I am not a huge fan of the summer squash avalanche that descends every year.  If you have a dinner party during the summer, you are guaranteed a loaf of zucchini bread as my contribution, because I have got to get rid of this stuff!!  I was so thrilled to find this website, featuring fifteen summer squash recipes, because I need some serious inspiration to eat my way out of it every year.  This squash-potato gratin is the first recipe I tried.  Here it is pre-oven.  I didn't have goat cheese or Parmesan, so I used this funny Spanish cheese we had instead.
We poured a glass of wine while we waited for it to bake.  Did I mention my friends are awesome?  Thank you, Karen and Cort, for this amazing, confused cat with a cork stuck in his head.  Believe it or not, the Riesling it contained was really something: sweet, yes, but with just the right snappy citrus flavors to balance it.  We could drink this stuff all summer!
Here's our tasty dinner spread, and my husband's hand, as we vie for the best photographic angle.  The bad news was, forty-five minutes in the oven wasn't enough to tenderize the squash and potatoes, brown the cheese, or evaporate the excess liquid, and we were too hungry to put it back into the oven.  I baked the left-overs longer, and they were considerably better.
Recipe?  Easy!  Take two summer squash and four small potatoes, slice them all thinly, and spread a layer in the bottom of a baking dish.  Add some grated or crumbled cheese, and repeat for two more layers, salting each layer generously.  Pour a quarter cup of milk over the whole thing.  I'd suggest baking uncovered for forty-five minutes, checking on it after half an hour to see how it's going.  You don't want it to totally dry out, but the squash will release a ton of moisture that needs to evaporate.  If it's browning or getting dry enough for you, but it's not yet tender, cover with foil and continue cooking.  Let me know how it goes; I'm still playing around with this one to get it just right.

Aside from stuffing my face with summer produce, and preparing for my next solo aerial performance, I've been kept busy by our latest fosters: Momma Arial, and her two babies, Abigail and Adoran (Abby's not in this picture).  The kittens are adorable of course, but Arial (I want to change her name slightly to 'Aerial') is the one who is stealing our heart with her chatty, trilling meows, and mellow, affectionate personality.  Come meet her and her babies before they go back to the ASPCA!
 I'll post some more fun pictures of momma and baby to my facebook wall soon.  In the meantime, get out to your Farmer's Market, and soak up some summer flavor and nutrition!

~em

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Prescription: Sing

Good news, everybody!  I just came back from the dentist, and no cavities!  Yippee!

Dental hygiene is important, guys.  Brush twice a day, floss once a day, use flouride regularly, don't use mouthwashes with alcohol, don't brush shortly after eating acidic foods, and rinse your mouth out with water if you can't brush right away after drinking coffee or wine.  Also my dentist is a huge proponent of the electric toothbrush.

Anyway, I'd like to talk to you today, not about your teeth, but about singing.

It's a pet peeve of mine that at my church, everybody clears out just as soon as the priest passes their row coming up the aisle.  You'd swear the place was on fire!  People already have their coats on, purses on their shoulder, and then they practically fight to get out the doors.  Where in the world do they have to go?  What is the big hurry?  Do none of them realize that the mass is not finished until the priest FINISHES processing, and the final hymn is finished?  What about the poor choir?  Am I the only one who thinks it's rude to dash out the door while they're still singing?

This is a Catholic mass, people.  IT'S ONE HOUR LONG.  I think you can handle hanging out for an extra two minutes tops.

That said, I don't expect to change behavior through guilt tripping.  Instead, I intend to use SCIENCE.

Ok, so, you have lots of nerves in your body.  A whole system of them.  They have lots of different jobs.  They tell you when it's hot or cold outside.  They tell you when the freaking dental hygenist is scratching hell out of your enamel to remove the coffee stains, when you're touching the glass you mean to pick up, all kinds of things.

A lot of what our nerves do is out of our control, and, unlike the above examples, isn't even perceivable by us.  It's super-fascinating how much our body does without our input (and thank God[dess]...)  The unconscious nerve jobs are fulfilled by the autonomic nervous system.  This system is divided into two complimentary parts.  They do opposite jobs: when one is turned off, the other is turned on, always.  It's sort of like the relationship between your bicep and your tricep.  You can't really flex them both at once; if one is flexed, the other is lengthened.

These two complimentary parts are called the sympathetic, and the parasympathetic nervous system.  The sympathetic is responsible for the 'fight or flight' response.  It causes your body to flood with stress hormones, your muscles to tense up, your senses to sharpen, etc.  The parasympathetic system is responsible for the 'rest and digest' response.  It causes your  body to digest, salivate, pee, poop, and perhaps the ace in the hole for the suggestion this is leading to, become sexually aroused.
You know how when you're really stressed out your mouth feels dry?   That's because your parasympathetic system is responsibly for salivation, and it can't work when your sympathetic nervous system is activated.  True story.

So, your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are both tied to your respitory proccess.  Every inhale perks up your sympathetic nervous system, as you bring in oxygen that could prepare you to fight or flee, and every exhale perks up your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to release tension and be at ease.  Think of how you gasp, sharply pulling in lots of air if something startles you, and then feel your body flood with adrenaline.   Think of how you heave a long, gusty sigh when you sit down to relax after a long day, and feel your muscles finally let go.

The respiratory process is an amazing thing, because it's both voluntary and involuntary.  You don't have to think about breathing.  You'll start inhaling more air if something scares you in case you need it, and your sympathetic nervous system will activate lots of other changes, and you'll exhale more if you're feeling calm and secure, signalling your body to relax and take care of tasks it may have been putting off, like getting laid.  Or pooping.

But, you CAN think about your breathing, and control it, if you so choose.  You CAN choose to exhale longer than you inhale, and that WILL cue your body that everything is a-ok, and your sympathetic nervous system will turn off, and your parasympathetic nervous system will turn on.  This always works.  Before public speaking, in the dentist's chair, when you want to stop worrying about your day and enjoy time with someone special...

What does this have to do with the rude people at church?  Well, it can be challenging at first to consciously lengthen your exhales longer than your inhales.  It can make you feel a little short of breath, which will likely make you take big inhales, which will of course, have the opposite effect.  There are, however, two activities that will automatically lengthen your exhales longer than your inhales.  They are:

1. laughing

2. singing

Getting the picture yet?  Laughing feels amazing because it sets into motion a whole lot of other biological changes that result in you feeling calm, safe, and maybe even sexy.  And singing feels amazing for the same reasons, whether you're good at it, or not.  Fake laughter has the same effect as genuine laughter, as does singing a song you don't like is just as good as singing one you do.   Your body still gets the same message.

Get brave and sing in the shower, while you do the dishes, while walking in the park, AND while you're in church.  Why miss the opportunity?  Two minutes of singing will definitely improve your day more than hustling your kids outside just a little bit faster will.  I am so thankful that singing is a part of my community's worship of the Divine, and of course, yoga, too, has a long history of devotional singing in the form of Kirtan: call and response chanting.

St. Augustine is credited with saying, "When you sing, you pray twice"  Perhaps that second prayer is just your body opening up to the divine inside yourself and the universe.

Live Omily,
~em

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Omily Tarot: The Eight of Staves

You guys ready for Monday?  Bet you don't need to draw a tarot card to figure that one out!  Lucky for you, we will be, anyway!  Welcome to the Omily Tarot.  We've been winding out way slowly but surely through the whole deck, one week at a time.  When we finish up, a long while from now, all the interpretations will be put together in a professionally designed zine available for purchase on my website.  I'm super excited about that, and frankly it would probably be done by now if it weren't for the serious progress I'm making on other projects.  I'll get 'er done; promise.

What card are we on today?

The Eight of Staves
"The first stave since the ace to be devoid of a human figure! Part of each stave is blocked by the left side of the card.  The staves reach across the card to the right, and down on a diagonal.
This may be because you are the actor in this drama, and there’s no use deflecting onto another.  The previous cards were about learning to work with others, but that doesn’t equate to abdicating your responsibilities.  Are the staves hurling onto the scene?  You’ve set them in motion, and already gravity is taking over.  Are they stretched out over a void, poised to form a contact or bridge?  It’s up to you to see that they get the rest of the way there, and with eight of them to manage, I hope you learned your cooperation skills well.  You will likely need help to manage such a tricky landing. 
By reaching from the sky down toward the earth, these staves could symbolize the connection you’re trying to forge between your everyday life, and the divine.  The staves reach down toward you.  The last stage of your journey is all on you: can you reach up to forget the connection? 
The land in the distance is a beautiful, brilliant green.  Conditions are ripe for you to reach the lofty goals you set for yourself.  Are you up for the challenge?  Well, come on!  Don’t get cold feet now!  Jump!"

All too often when the cards send a message like this, our response, mine included is, "Wait, I'm not ready!!!" But the vast majority of big transitions and risks in this life are taken not because we are ready, but because it is time.  We live our lives by jumping, and building our parachute on the way down.  Better get used to it now.  Is it time for you to get brave a take a leap without knowing how it will turn out?  Let the fiery passion of the Staves give you courage, and and a whole lot of nerve.  You'll need it.

~em

Friday, August 3, 2012

Eating Omily: I am Jelly; What Am I?

Happy Friday!  I can't believe another week is over already.  Here it is, August!!  I'll definitely be hitting the beach with caprese salad for lunch soon, and there's at least one more picnic on my schedule!  I swear, Summer is the fastest season.  Partially because I'm kept hopping getting all the deliciousness preserved before it disappears.  I still have four kinds of produce to get into canning jars before the end of September!

On Wednesday, I checked one off my list: watermelon!  I've been chopping it up, eating it fresh, and freezing it into granita, but I wanted a longer term solution, and I also wanted a preserve that would be the perfect gift for my hot weather loving friends: a taste of summer anytime!  Watermelon jelly!

Now, if you were paying attention on Wednesday, you'll already know that I failed a little bit at the picture taking proccess...but no worries, I staged a reenactment, just for you!

Here is what the whole sugar baby watermelon looked like before I went at it with a really big knife.
Here's what it looked like after. 
 See?  You didn't miss much!  Did I mention how yummy this melon is?  I am so thankful for 3-5 pound melons: not too heavy for me to haul home along with the rest of my Farmer's Market haul, and just enough fruit for fresh eating, and granita if I'm in the mood for it.  Once the melon was chopped, I put it in the blender, and after that, it looked like this.
Then I put it in a strainer, and let all the juice drain out.  One quart of the juice went into a sauce pan, and once it came to a boil, I added lemon juice, sugar, calcium water, and pectin.  Watermelon juice doesn't have enough of its own pectic to gel without help.

Once it came back to a boil, it was all done-easy as pie!  I stirred it, skimmed the foam off, then put it into clean, hot canning jars, and proccessed it in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.  This picture is from the five minute rest the jars get with the heat turned off once the processing time is up.  The lid is always on when you're processing.
 Here are my lovely, pink, clear(ish; I didn't strain the juice finely enough, ok??) jars of watermelon jelly!

There was enough left over to throw in the fridge for an immediate taste test.  The lemon juice tamed the sweetness of the sugar just enough: this jelly really does taste like spreading a sweet, ripe watermelon onto your toast.  Awesome!  The husband gave it a good review, too.  We've reached a mutual agreement to call it 'Watermelly'.  Now that it sounds cute, you really want a jar, right??

Next up will probably be blueberry jam, although I may skip it in favor of doing peaches before they disappear...you'll be the first to know!

I leave you with this gorgeous picture of heirloom tomatoes I saw on Monday: truly the greatest blessing Summer has to offer.  Even if you don't have it in you to put 'em up, get to your Farmer's Market and enjoy this stuff while it lasts!

~em

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yoga's Secret

As I tried to reconcile my turned out back foot with my squared to the front of the room hips, I felt a deep gratitude to be in a yoga class, and better yet, that I would be in a yoga class again the next day.  It had been way too long since I practiced Asana more than once a week.  As I dipped into Devotional Warrior, lifting my hands to stretch my shoulders, and letting the crown of my head fall down toward the mat as my shoulder negotiated for space inside of my knee, I realized I must be really drinking the yoga kool-aid to be getting down on myself for only practicing once a week.  How many people know the benefits of yoga, but still let little things take them away from their practice for weeks, even months, at a time?
Not that there's anything wrong with them either; we're all on our own journeys, doing the best we can.  My regular Wednesday teacher, Ramit, always talks about 'the practice', and being consistent, but she also says that running might be your practice, or baking, which always made me have to resist the urge to snort.  "THIS is the practice!"  I thought, as I lifted up and spread out my toes for the millionth time, and engaged my outer thigh even more.
Except, the truth is, I'd skip an Asana class for an aerial class any day.  I used to feel like improving the health of my physical body was my path to the true perfection of the divine, but now I think it's even more simple than that: the higher I climb, the more free I feel, and the more I can see that we're all one.

So, you know, as usual, I had the wrong idea--too narrow, and my teacher had the right one.  Not only do all rivers lead to the sea, but so do all the little streams and rivulets along the way.  In a way, it's impossible for us to avoid heading in that direction, but you'll move a lot faster, and have a much more exciting adventure, if you go willingly.

And you know, the amazing thing is, once you have a practice (and yoga is awesome for giving you a lens through which to look and find the pre-existing practice in your life, or it very well may be the practice itself), new practices will pop up everywhere.  Ultimately, every moment is the practice.  This morning I was having such an integrated moment with watermelon processing meditation, I totally forgot to take pictures for my blog post on watermelon jelly Friday!

What are the moments in your life when you stop resisting (and yes, it's ok to say that in angry cop voice), and surrender fully to the moment?  Can you feel the divine currents swirling around you?  Why should you let that be an every once in a while kind of thing?  In case you haven't figured that out already, the solution to that problem is not to do your practice 24/7.  We kind of have to eat, sleep, probably hold down a steady job...the answer is to devote yourself consistently to doing your practice in a way that teaches you how to be practicing, in that frame of mind, constantly, and the only way that is going to work is if your practice isn't always super easy and fun.

That's the secret that no one likes to tell noobs about yoga: the point is not the parts where you feel amazing, beautiful, graceful, strong, free...the point is relearning how to react when everything hurts, and you just fell out of a pose for the third time, and sweat is dripping in your eyes, and you're pretty sure everyone is laughing at you...when you can surrender fully to that moment, or the moment when you realize your watermelon juice wasn't strained thoroughly enough, and the pectin wasn't stirred into the sugar enough, and you've spilled boiling water on yourself twice already, that's when you're doing yoga.

Yep.  It takes practice.  And failing lots and lots and lots of times.

And the reward?

Bliss.

Live Omily,
~em