Loving Your Soul Purpose

Two hikers enjoying sunrise from top of a mountainNew Year’s Eve is as good a time as any to contemplate one’s soul purpose.

What is it I am meant to do in life?  What is the purpose of my life?  What does my soul want to do here?  What am I here to accomplish?  Why did I incarnate?  What is my destiny?

In contemplating these things I give you two hints.

The first hint is:  LOVING YOUR SOUL PURPOSE.

When you are doing what it is your SOUL wants to do, you will feel LOVE.  So, what is it you love to do?

And I don’t mean what is pleasurable? I’m not talking about “I love to eat chocolate” or “I love to unwind with my favorite mindless TV show” (although either is OK in moderation). Soul purpose is not about hedonism, selfishness or escapism.  I don’t mean what is it you love to do to relax and unwind?

By loving your soul purpose, what I mean is – what is it that makes you feel alive? What are you passionate about? What inspires you and excites you?  What is it that you walk around thinking about as you go to your car in the parking lot?  What is it you are thinking about when you are brushing your teeth or first thing when you wake up?

Enjoying the sunWhat is it that gets you in the zone?  You know, the zone.  That space beyond every day life where you feel like the whole universe is in alignment like some cosmic chiropractic adjustment just clicked and everything feels RIGHT.

What is it that when you are engaged in it, you are totally absorbed and hours go by in minutes? What gets you to stop thinking and start just being? What brings you fully present into the moment?

You see, when you are doing something that your soul wants to do, your soul is fully participating, fully engaged and present in your body and it feels blissful. It feels like love.

Sometimes it’s obvious what your soul purpose is or what it is you love to do. But sometimes it’s not so obvious.

And soul purpose is not about success or money. It’s not always something that you can turn into a career or make a living – maybe it’s the volunteer work you do or the hobby you have. Maybe it’s the spontaneous help and support you give to your family and friends. And what’s more, it can be a combination of these things – it’s not always ONE thing.

And your soul purpose can be small and simple things. It’s not always some big cause that you can easily turn into some Norma Rae moment of standing on top of factory equipment holding up a sign saying “This is my soul purpose!” It can be something tiny that only those closest to you notice but it makes all the difference in the world to them and to you.

So, as we go into New Year’s Eve and into this New Year of 2015, you can meditate on what this might be for you. You can have a prayerful conversation between you and God and your soul. You can journal and free flow what is most important to you. You can make a list of what inspires you. Or if you are not verbally inclined you can collect images or pictures of what matters most to you.

And don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. It could very well be that you already know what your soul purpose is and if that is the case, just take some time to contemplate it and envision how your purpose will unfold in the coming year.

And now, before you go off and contemplate too much, it is time for the second hint.

The second hint is: LOVING, YOUR SOUL PURPOSE.

hands-holding-candleYes. While the activities and tasks that you have just read about, the things that you love to do, are perhaps what your soul is guiding you to do at any one moment – the actual PURPOSE is not the activity. These are simply ways for your soul to express its purpose.

The actual purpose of any soul is LOVING. I guess that is a bit more than a hint.

Our purpose is to Love.  I would pretty much venture to say that is everyone’s soul purpose, really, if you really get down to it – to Love, to love God, to love our neighbor, to love ourselves, to love those around us, to love those in need, to love the Earth, to love.

As I have recently started writing again and I am sharing my inner spirit in words with the outer world, I have been feeling that this is, in part, my “purpose” – to write.  And it is something I love to do and it is something that I feel alive when I am doing.  When I am writing I can spend hours and it feels like minutes and when I leave I feel energized and inspired.

Yet, something that I have known in my heart for a while is that a soul purpose is bigger than just this life or this body. Writing is only an instrument for me to express my purpose.  And there are other expressions of that purpose as well.  Our soul purpose is much bigger than can be contained in any one task or activity.

So, even though I could say that writing is my purpose, I could just as easily say that my purpose is rubbing Peachy‘s belly.  When she is laying on my chest with her four feet flailing up in the air and I am loving her more than I can contain and rubbing her soft little puppy belly – that is me expressing love in the purest form I know.  So – that is my soul purpose.

If you looked at the whole thing energetically it’s like we’d just be little radiating suns sending light beams of Love out to all of life around us.  But we don’t look quite so silly.  We look like people with jobs and families and homes, so we express those light beams of Love in different ways – but essentially, that is what is going on. We are souls here loving.

Some people express Love in the form of inventing the light bulb or engineering a great bridge or composing a spectacular symphony.  Some people express Love in the form of being a really great boss or a very caring grandparent.

You see – a Soul having a purpose can’t be limited to what the circumstances of this particular life have turned out to be.

I am NOT a writer and you are NOT a singer. Suppose tomorrow my fingers fall off and your vocal cords dissolve and we can no longer write or sing. Would our soul purpose cease?

water-blue-sea-wavesWhat if a person feels that their soul purpose is to be a surfer – to merge with the ocean and the wave.  But then that person has a car accident or gets hit by a meteor and somehow they no longer have the physical ability to surf. That soul is still here and that soul still has a purpose.  So, perhaps that soul was expressing Love in the form of surfing and merging with the ocean and the wave up until that point. Now that soul will find a different way of expressing.  Perhaps that person will find that feeling of being One with the ocean and the wave inside themselves beyond the surfboard and then express their love for life around them by teaching about the Oneness that is inside all of us, regardless of our outer physicality.

If I attach so much importance to writing that I think it is WHO I am and it is what my soul is here to do, then what happens to me if my fingers fall off (and I lived in a world where voice recognition software didn’t exist)? And the last 16 years of my life that I spent NOT writing (or NOT petting Peachy‘s belly) were not some wasteland of meaninglessness and despair because I had not found my soul purpose yet.  I was expressing my purpose of loving in different ways.

In deed, we express our purpose of loving all along the way from the time we are infants until we are old and wrinkled. We express our purpose of loving in small ways all the time – so in a sense we don’t need to worry so much about FINDING our soul purpose or we will waste our lives in some kind of rat race. All the moments of love IN the rat race ARE our soul purpose, too.  You HAVE been living your soul purpose all along in lots of weird and wonderful ways.  Your soul is smart.  It’s not going to waste time.  It will express love in small and big ways no matter what.

Yes, it is good to find the things that you love to do, that you are passionate about and that make you feel fully alive. It is good to listen to your soul and follow what it is your soul is guiding you towards, to find the activities that your soul is most aligned with at this point in time. Doing that will help you to express your soul purpose in the fullest. Doing that will help you expand your purpose of Loving, it will help the Love to fill you on the deepest level and for you to express your love in the most important way you can.

However – life circumstances, opportunities and abilities change.  And to truly find one’s soul purpose, one has to focus on the Soul – that which does not change, that which is eternal and permanent:

LOVING, your soul purpose.

living-life-300x225

 

Caroling with the Gandharvas

my-photos-food-fashion-photographyDid you know that it’s not just Love, Peace and Compassion that is common among different religions?

There are many descriptions of God, Holy Beings and the Heavenly Realm that are strikingly similar across faiths – the feeling and experience is the same, only the words are different.  One such experience is the Gandharvas, as they are known in Hinduism and Buddhism.

The Gandharvas are heavenly beings who sing for the Gods.  In the Abrahamic religions these Angelic beings are called the Heavenly Host.  They are beings whose sole purpose is to sing honor and glory to God, who spend their entire eternal existence singing praises to the Divine.  I guess I shouldn’t say their sole purpose is singing – for in their singing they uplift, heal and glorify all of life.  In their singing, magic and mystery happens and I’m sure their one purpose of singing contains a multitude of purposes that I cannot even fathom.  But what I do know from experience is that they adore God and in their singing praises they magnify the Divine for the entire universe.  So, that is no small sole purpose.

AAAADH3MBXQAAAAAALGByAOne of the amazing and interesting facts about the Gandharvas (if you can call a trait of a heavenly being a fact), is that they love praising God so much that they are drawn to anywhere such praise is happening.  Wherever people gather to sing gratitude and love for the Divine, they gather also.  Loving God in song is like a magnet for the Heavenly Host – our voices lifted up to the Lord and our hearts loving God in unison pulls them straight to us.  This is one of the many reasons why I love going to church, or to chanting circles, or to Krishna Das concerts, and why this time of year I love to attend Christmas Caroling.

Last night I attended St Cyprian’s Carols and Lessons service.  Our sweet choir, joined by some extra singers from the Community choir, sang some beautiful versions of ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘O Holy Night.’  The packed standing-room-only congregation joined them in singing ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’ and ‘Angels we have heard on high.’  And as those Angels heard US, they flocked to the tiny church, as well.  (It made me wonder if THEY have any songs called ‘Humans we have heard on low.’)  Luckily, they don’t need chairs or even standing room, or the hundred-year-old wooden walls of the church would have burst.  I could feel them bringing their Angelic presence and their pure love for God to our gathering, adding the vibration of adoration to all of us as we sang.  During the Ave Maria, I closed my eyes and could feel my consciousness being lifted up effortlessly, almost as if I was on an elevator bringing us closer to God.  All I had to do was sing and open my heart.

jtciLast year I attended the Vero Beach Community Church Christmas Eve service.  The Vero Beach Community Church has a choir of at least 80 people and a grand organ that covers the whole front wall with a beautiful stained glass of Jesus with open arms in the middle.  In addition they have a children’s choir and as if that is not enough, they have an orchestra.  The large church has several services on Christmas Eve and all of them are packed.  As I stood as one of a thousand audience members, singing the carols with this human chorus of voices, I could feel the Angelic chorus of Gandharvas and Heavenly Host joining us in tier upon tier above us and all around us.  These magnificent beings joined us in singing glory to God and victory to Compassion and Peace in the victory of Christ, Alleluia!  My heart was filled with ecstatic joy as I felt this vibration of adoration and GOD not only filling my heart and every heart in the room, but radiating out for miles, lifting up the entire world into the victory of LOVE.

So, if you want to, over the next week or so, if you attend any holiday gatherings with people putting their love for God into song, tune into the other beings joining you.  Whether you consciously tune in or not, whether you can feel the angels singing with you or not, their vibration of love will lift you.  And if you choose, you can consciously join with the Heavenly Host or the Gandharvas in their purpose of lifting up the entire universe into the adoration of God.  It is not only a service to the world, it is fun.


 

To learn more about the Ghandarvas, check out The Ghandarva Experience from Tom Kenyon – it has an introduction with information followed by some truly beautiful and angelic music.  This is a CD that is meant to be experienced and used as a spiritual practice and it is very beautiful.

More Tom Kenyon

Love is a Wave and the Ocean

ocean-wave_157798“Loving another person is not separate from loving God. One is a single wave, the other is the ocean” ~ Deepak Chopra

I read this quote the other day and it struck me as very true.  Not only that, but it applies to loving people with four furry paws, too.

Yes, my Peachy is a person.  She is my person.  And loving her brings not only joy but also healing and a deeper connection to life and to God.

I wrote about how Peachy Keen is a force of Love in the world – a Light Warrior.  And I wrote about how Peachy is also a teacher of living life to the fullest.  But this post is about my own internal meditations of love inspired by my little furry friend.

Every day and throughout the day, my heart focuses on Love.  My heart, as the center of my being, resonates with the vibration of Love every time I look at Peachy.  I internally meditate on Love every time I even think of Peachy, even as I sit at my desk at work.  I also sit anIMG_0427d close my eyes or gaze upon a picture on my altar in more “formal” meditation and I can absolutely feel how much more easily I can slip into a focus of loving God from all the time I have spent in my day loving Peachy.

You see, love is love.  Love is love is love is God is love.

Just as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, if you are putting love into what you are doing, then you are in essence focusing on God – God is Love, so focusing on Love is focusing on God.  The same is true for any form of love.

If I am loving Peachy, my heart is vibrating in a state of love.  If I am loving Peachy, my heart and my body are in a state of positive resonance and I am moving in the direction of healing.  If I am loving Peachy, my heart is open and I am open to receive love from life all around me and from God.  If I am loving Peachy, I am lifting my consciousness up into the feeling of Love and that feeling of Love connects me directly to God.

loving-kidsA sweet friend of mine, who is leaving tomorrow to see his guru for the first time in 11 years, said last night that it doesn’t feel like it’s been 11 years because he has had his two sons and the love he feels for them is the same as the love he has for his guru, the love he has for God.  My heart was really touched as he spoke this, because I could feel that continuum of love that is the wave and the ocean of God.

In fact, this is precisely why God sent us gurus and saints and little baby Jesus.  I suspect this is also why God gave us cute little puppies.

Sometimes it is too far of a stretch for us to love GOD.  The ocean of God is so vast, how do we connect?  I am a drop of water, how do I love the ocean?  How can we know how to love something so perfect and mysterious?  How can our little hearts love something bigger than the universe?  So, God gave us Her waves to love.  The waves are not as vast, but just as beautiful, and the waves are something our hearts can open up to embrace.

Years ago I heard an explanation of the Christ Consciousness that pertains simply to consciousness, not to one religion or another.  I don’t even remember where I heard this explanation but it stuck with me.  You see, the “fall of man” wasn’t really about evil or us doing something terrible, it was just a fall into separation.  It’s just that we lost touch with our Divine Selves, we forgot about our oneness with God and were in a sense “lost” (though if God is holding us at all times we can’t ever really be lost, but we can feel like we are lost).

Jesu KrishnaFrom this state of forgetfulness, it was too large a leap for us to get connected to God again.  God Consciousness is PERFECT.  Everything is perfect in God Consciousness and there IS no separation, there IS no suffering, there IS no pain – so how can we get out of the suffering that feels so real to us and go directly to the perfection of God?  So, God created Christ Consciousness as a bridge.  The Christ Consciousness is One with the perfection and the absolute Love of God, but is also connected to the apparent suffering of humanity and reaches out to us in our state of forgetfulness with compassion.  The Christ Consciousness is a form of God’s Love that we could see and accept and open up to in our state of fallen consciousness.  And once we are open to the Love, the Christ can lift us back again into our connection with the perfection of God.

It is the birth of this Christ Consciousness that I contemplate and celebrate every year at Christmas.  For God so loved the world, that She gave us the Christ Consciousness in the form of Jesus, Krishna, Mohammed, Buddha, Quan Yin, Rama and yes, cute little puppies.  It is this connection to God’s Love that I see every time Peachy wags her little tail at me. It is this love of God and guru that my friend has seen every time he has looked at his sons for the last 11 years. It is the love of God that we experience whenever we love our neighbor as our Self.

20141209_215756_HDRThe feeling I have in my heart when I love God is the same feeling I have when I love my sisters or my Peachy and the love flows seamlessly back and forth in either direction.  When I look at Peachy with her furry little 7 pound body that breathes and beats and runs around with her nimble little jazz paws, I am struck by what a miracle she is.  Her sweet puppy eyes that look at me with that puppy love soul opens me up inside.  Feeling my love for Peachy flows right into feeling my love for God.  Feeling Peachy’s love for me reminds me of God’s love for me.  I feel like God created her as a gift personally for me, God’s love manifest as a cuddly little wave in the ocean just for my tiny soul.

Sometimes it is easier to love a single wave than to love the whole ocean.  Yet the wave is not separate from the ocean, and the entire ocean is loving us in each wave.

Jai Ram He Shall Reign Forever Alleluia

angelic-hostThe other day I was listening to Handel’s Messiah Alleluia chorus while driving back to work from the dentist.  It was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir – the men and women alternating singing the words “And He shall reign forever and ever.  Alleluia, Alleluia.  Lord of Lords!  King of Kings!  Alleluia, Alleluia!”

I had it on repeat and the drive from dentist to work afforded me the opportunity to sing along 3 and 1/2 times. I was not only singing, but fully participating with the truth of the words.  I had it blaring, full volume.  I mean, I was rocking out like it was Springsteen or Bon Jovi – windows down, sun shining, wind through my hair, singing at the top of my lungs and waving my one hand in the air, reaching up to heaven (other hand on the steering wheel).

Here it is – but before you click play just be sure you are in a private place where you can sing and wave your arms about (at least one of them).

As I was singing the awe-inspiring and somewhat repetitive chorus it struck me that it IS a repetitive declaration of God’s victory.  I realized that singing Handel’s Messiah is much like chanting “Sri Ram Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram.”  That is sanskrit for “Glory to God, Victory to God, Victory to God”  It is sanskrit for “And He shall reign forever and ever, Alleluia! Alleluia!”

Dipawali-Special-1And, much like when I chant Jai Ram, as I was singing “And He shall reign forever and ever, Alleluia” over and over again I could feel my heart’s deepest yearning and prayer for God to be victorious in our world, for God’s Love and Peace to reign in our day-to-day world forever and ever, for God’s compassion and justice to be the common place way of everyday business.

In those 15 and 3/4 minutes as I was driving back to work, I felt the place in my heart that deeply knows that God’s Love and God’s Will are one and the same – that all He wants for us is for all of us to live here in harmony and happiness as one human family.  As the song says, “the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ!”  Each time I repeated the same phrase, the feeling of God’s victory grew stronger in my chest.

0b5cd4918a1a1c24d4d92646037d2fb9And just as when I chant the Sri Ram Jai Ram, I could feel that yearning and chanting for God to be victorious happening inside of me.  They say that changing the world starts with changing yourself, and the same is true for chanting.  As I was repeating the phrase “And He shall reign forever and ever” I was praying fervently for Christ to reign inside my own self.  I was yearning with all the burning desire of my soul for God to be victorious in me – for God to be victorious in my life, in my thoughts and in my actions, for my heart to be an instrument for God’s victory in the world.

As I parked my car outside of my office building, I rolled the windows up, turned the engine off, wiped the tears from my cheeks, took a deep breath, thanked God for the rogue renunciation of my every day life and went into work with God’s victory ringing inside of me.

So, in this season and all seasons, whether we are singing ‘Alleluia,’ ‘Jai Ram,’ ‘We Shall Overcome’ or ‘Let There Be Peace On Earth and let it start with me,’ we are all singing the one song of Victory to God.

Merry Christmas, Jai Ram, He shall reign forever and ever, Alleluia!

5 Stitches to the Inch and Love Every One

beautiful-tropical-sailboatMy brother in-law’s mother, Nanny Annie, is over from England for Christmas. In my one sister’s kitchen she is cutting my other sister’s hair and talking about how her husband is excellent at sewing (contrary to general gender stereotypes). He used to sew sails for sailboats for a living. When he was an apprentice, the master sail-maker used to say to all the young lads, “5 stitches to the inch and love every one.”

The old master sail-maker was tuned into the same thing that Mother Teresa was when she said “It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in that action.”  This same inner wisdom has been taught by bakers, chefs, artists, carpenters, landscapers, pediatricians, veterinarians and milliners.  Masters of all trades have taught their apprentices to put love into their craft for hundreds of years.

Love is the magic ingredient that makes whatever we are doing a part of a better world.  If we put love into every stitch, that love is anchored in that sail and that love moves that sailboat and that love travels out across the world on the wind.  And, it gives the young apprentice sail-maker a meditation of love to focus on inside his own mind and heart as he sews for hours every day.  It transforms the young sail-maker into a more loving human being, a kinder husband and father, a better neighbor and a more compassionate citizen of the world.

gorgeous-good-color-small1This is how putting love into sewing sails, baking cakes, building houses, planting trees and making hats is transforming the world.

In the East this is taught as Karma Yoga.  In the Bhagavad Gita, Karma Yoga is described as the path of Action – the path of putting your love for God into everything you do.  Whether you are sewing sails or cooking dinner, typing up a report at work, mailing a package to a friend for Christmas or cleaning your bathroom – putting love into it is a way to make it a meditation, a Yoga, a method of gaining Union with the Divine.

This can be consciously done as Karma Yoga by focusing on our love for God and offering all our actions to the Divine.  Or it can be done simply by putting Love into what we do, sewing a sail as a meditation on Love, and God is Love, so it’s still a meditation on God.  See how God pulled another tricky move there.

Not only does putting love into everything we do make the world a better place, but it also makes us happier.  The love we feel in our hearts becomes the reward of our labor and the stuff of our life.  We begin to live here a little more as our souls – as the love we are focusing upon.  And if we don’t win the cake bake-off or the hat best-in-show, we don’t take it so hard because we still won the love in our hearts – and that we get to keep forever.

Amma 11On the one day I spent at Amma’s ashram in San Ramon, one of her students read a satsang he had written about karma yoga.  He talked about how doing everything with love for God transforms us and offering everything to God frees us from our ego attachments.  He said, if we offer everything to God, then our success is God’s Grace and our failure is God’s Will.  So we don’t let our successes inflate our ego identification and separate us from the love of unity, and we don’t let our failures deflate our ego self-worth and separate us from the love of unity.

I quoted that satsang once in a Christian Bible study class at a fairly conservative church, not giving credit to Amma or the Bhagavad Gita.  Everyone thought my stealth Karma Yoga reference was beautiful and inspiring and everyone agreed.  It is the universal truth that transcends not only religions but trades and crafts and professions.

So whether you’re a Christian or a Hindu, a musician or janitor, an engineer or a sail-maker – to increase your happiness, reduce your ego suffering and make the world a better place, just remember what Ammachi, Mother Teresa and the old master sail-maker said to his apprentice: “5 stitches to the inch, and love every one.”

Rainbow Regatta by Lisa Lorenz

Rainbow Regatta by Lisa Lorenz

The Essence of Merry Christmas and Goodwill to ALL

Christmas-Card-at-www.best-christmas.net_1In this time of Christmas I am thinking a lot about Christ.  Of course, I tend to think about Christ a lot anyways, but what I mean is that I’m thinking a lot about how Christ’s love applies to all of humanity.  I briefly wrote in my post about Christmas Carols how I believe that the Christ Consciousness of love, compassion and miracles that Jesus embodied and taught is not limited to Jesus the man or even to Christianity. So, that is the part of Christ I’ve been thinking about specifically.  And in this season of warmth, cheer and giving, of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All, I so long for everyone to be open to receive LOVE in all its myriad and beautiful forms.

I’d say all in all, Christmas and the holidays brings out the best in us – our charity, compassion and generosity – but inevitably some humans will find something to fuss about. So this is also the time of year for arguments about religion, whether it is more right to say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” and the supposed War on Christmas.  (I don’t think Christmas qualifies as an oppressed minority when every store, town center and neighborhood is decked out in massive amounts of Christmas lights and our whole socioeconomic consumer establishment gears up for the holiday with everything from sales to TV programming to “get it there by the 25th” shipping specials.)

And it’s from both sides of the spectrum.  There are the Christians who get outraged if the people greeting you at Macy’s say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” and insist that Santa is Satan and we should just focus on Jesus.  And there are the atheists who insist that celebrating Christmas is against the constitution and Santa cannot be scientifically proven so he has no place in schools.

jesus-vs-santa-armwrestleMy sister is a really good photographer.  For her daughter’s school last year she took pictures of the kids with Santa as they entered into the annual Holiday fundraiser and nearly all the children participated and she helped raise valuable funds for their education.  This year someone made a big fuss about how Santa is not what Christmas is about and Santa shouldn’t be allowed in the main hall because Santa violated their religious rights.  So my sister and the kindly volunteer Santa Claus were relegated to some distant classroom away from the main event and raised one third of the money they did last year.  And it’s silly.  Why waste an opportunity for happiness and charity?  What is more religious about that?

I really don’t think it matters if you say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas – what matters is simply the amount of love you say it with.  And it’s silly for anyone to get offended when given a greeting of love simply because some word doesn’t fit into your own personal list of preferred words.  If someone were to smile and give me a sweet seasonal greeting I wouldn’t care if they wished me a Happy Hanukkah, a Joyous Kwanza, a Sweet Solstice, a Merry Christmas or just the generic humanistic Have a Good Day.  As long as we are spreading more love in the world – all the better.

christmasYou see, the Consciousness of love, peace and compassion that is in all the Christmas Carols and Santa movies is the same underlying consciousness that has been at the heart of humanity since before any of the religions were even dreamed up.  And really, if you just let go of the words and what your mind thinks about them and instead just focus on the feeling or the Presence behind the words, then we’ll realize that we’re all talking about the same Presence.  A few days ago I wrote about how sometimes religious words can be associated with religious divisiveness and how we need to reprogram our subconscious minds to get beyond words and into the feeling self.  I know this was true for me and my own associations with the words of the Christian language.

In my teens and early twenties I rejected Christianity.  I saw a lot of bickering, prejudice and narrow-mindedness in the churches that were around me growing up and it didn’t feel right to me, so I closed myself off to that part of God.  Sure, I found Eastern religions, meditation, bhakti yoga and many ways to connect with God, but I was limiting how God could love me.  I was saying to God – no, I don’t want your love in the form of the Christ, I don’t want your love through Jesus or even from Christians – I only want your love through sanskrit chants and Tibetan mantras.

Then one day 16 years ago, my sister was visiting me in Asheville for the weekend.  We went to the Biltmore House (talk about a photographer’s dream – she must have taken 100 pictures in the gardens alone).  Afterwards we went to Biltmore Village, a collection of quaint shops outside of the estate surrounding the church the Vanderbilts built.  The church was really beautiful and reminded us of churches in Sweden.  The docent told us the music was really good and that the organ is one of the finest on the east coast, so my sister said she’d really like to go the next morning.

I would have never thought to go to a Christian church on my own.  But since my sister wanted to go, I said ok.  Who doesn’t like some nice music?  So, on Sunday morning I went to church for the first time in a very long time.

all souls churchThe church in the Biltmore village is Episcopalian (incidentally called “All Souls Cathedral”) and so the service was traditional with the reading of the bible and the singing of hymns.  I was standing in the pew with the hymnal in my hands singing and I started reading the actual meaning of the words of the hymn.  I can’t remember which hymn it was specifically, but it was about the Light of the Holy Spirit coming down and entering into our hearts like a flame – it was about us making room to have the Christ Light dwell in our hearts forever.

I was amazed.  I was astounded.  My heart started expanding and breaking.  This was real.  I had experienced this very thing in meditation.  I had felt the Light of God coming down and entering into my heart like a flame.  For years I had been working to make room in my heart for God’s Light to dwell there forever.  Whatever old monk or Christian musician who had written this hymn hundreds of years ago had the same experiences that I was having as I was chanting the sanskrit names of God and meditating on the compassion of the Buddha!

I wanted to shout out to everyone in the church who were all calmly singing these words – “This is real!  Oh my God!  Christ and the Holy Spirit are real!”  Instead I just let my heart flow over and tears rolled down my cheeks as I could feel Christ and the Holy Spirit coming down and filling my heart.  It was something I had felt before, I just had used different words.  But here I was in a Christian church, singing a Christian hymn about the truth of God.

After that Sunday I started going to this sweet Episcopal church every Sunday.  Not only that, I went to the Tuesday morning services as well.  I went to every service they had, tears flowing from my heart every time.  I found so many truths about God in the words of the hymns, the psalms and the readings.  I found so much inspiration for my spiritual journey in the sermons.  And watching so many people going up for communionmomma3 to become One with the Body of Christ made my heart burn in my chest with exquisite beauty.

And the people there were so loving and accepting.  They had an openly gay deacon who was a major supporter of the local gay and lesbian community.  The pastors were open to all religions and could talk to me about books by Sogyal Rinpoche, the Dalai Lama and Shakti Gawain.  I had a nose ring and tattoos and I thought the congregation would judge me – but one Tuesday morning after the healing service a sweet Southern white haired lady asked me what the tattoo on my left arm meant and I told her “It’s the Hindu chant Om Namaha Shivaya – it means the God Presence in me honors the God Presence in you.”  She nodded and said, “That’s right on!  And that’s real pretty.”

I realized that I had been the one who was prejudiced.  In all my New Age spiritual focus on loving the world, I had been holding on to all kinds of judgments and attitudes, thinking that there should be respect for all religions, but those Christians just didn’t get it.  Yet God was loving the world through Christ and the Holy Spirit for hundreds and hundreds of years but I dismissed it all.  Wow – I was the one who wasn’t getting it.

But now I AM getting it!  I’m getting God’s love every which way!  I am not limiting how God can love me.  I am not limiting God to the shape of my own mind.  If God wants to love me through Hare Krishna or Alleluia or As-salamu alaykum or Merry Christmas, I say YES!

No matter what your personal beliefs are, why not just receive the love?  Why be all bah-humbug because the person giving you the love says either “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas,” depending on what side of the bah-humbug you fall on.

If someone says “Ola” or “Bonjour” or “Guten Tag” – why get upset if it’s not your particular language.  Just smile and say hello back.  Whether you personally prefer Merry Christmas or Hare Krishna, in essence it means the same thing. So, allow LOVE to enter your heart through baby Jesus, jolly old Santa,the star of Bethlehem, the star of David, the Angels on High, Frosty the Snowman, the generic Holiday Party at work or the all-female living nativity scene featuring the Three Wise Women!

There are no limits to the ways that God can love us if we just say Yes.  Just let go of the mental arguments and Believe in Love, Peace on Earth and Goodwill to ALL!

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The Implementation of Dumb Ideas

RENUZIT-500x247In this week’s silly post I’d like to talk about an ad currently running on Hulu for a brand of air-fresheners.  Aside from the fact that air-fresheners contain numerous toxic chemicals that can cause everything from reduced sperm counts to cancer, the ad is really stupid.  It has hunky men carrying air-fresheners in slo-mo, winking at the camera seductively from each room of a house – one in the kitchen, another in the living room and yet another sexy young thing in the bedroom.  The ad goes on to say that while having a different man in every room might be a fantasy, you can in fact have a different toxic scent in each room.

First of all, what woman fantasizes about having a man in every room?  That sounds terrible.  Second of all, the campaign is so ridiculous it makes me want to NOT buy that air freshener, even if I wanted to poison myself with benzene, formaldehyde, styrene, and phthalates. 

1075545_562888983757997_1303988084_oThe thing that gets me about really really bad advertising is that there are so many people involved in the process of actually getting it on TV.  First there are a number of people at the ad agency who come up with the bad idea, then their creative team does a pitch to a company, then the company sends the proposal up the chain of command and who knows how many people sign off on the concept and budget.  Then there are graphic artists, writers, producers, casting agents, actors, make up artists, cameramen, boom mic operators and even key grips, whatever the heck they do.  It must be at least 100 people who take part in producing a really really bad ad.  And nowhere along the line did someone say – STOP.

The same is true for some of the reality TV programming of today.  There are food shows about deep-fried-mac-n-cheese-hamburger-loaf. There are married couples flipping houses and arguing over every remodeling decision along the way.  There are housewives arguing in virtually every metropolitan area of the United States.  There are naked people who are either afraid or shopping or dating, or a combination of all of the above – of course arguing more or less the whole time. There are even horrific things like a man being eaten alive by a snake in some kind of snake-digestive-juice-resistant suit.

In all of these TV shows there are countless people who never say – wait, this is dumb, let’s not do this.

Thirteen Reality 2This ad for an apparently intelligent TV station is actually quite funny and points to the state of our TV entertainment.  I know there are quite a few really good shows out there, also.  There has even been some God centered shows that come and go, like ‘Joan of Arcadia,’ ‘Eli Stone.’ or the awesome good kicks evil’s butt ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’  But sometimes I look at some of the truly dumb ideas that actually manifest themselves as ads and TV shows and I wonder.

I guess it’s kind of like other really dumb ideas, like segregation or women not having the right to vote.  For a long time, they were just accepted and all the boom mic operators and key grips of life didn’t feel it was their place to say anything even if they thought it was a terrible idea.  It took people like Martin Luther King and Susan susan-b-anthony-quote1-300x200B. Anthony to speak up and say – STOP!  Then enough people joined them and said – yeah, I think it’s really dumb, too.  And then the Civil Rights Act and 19th Amendment could happen.

So, I guess, if the awful toxic air-freshener ad has any merit, it is to remind us to speak up against dumb ideas!  Why is racism and sexism still showing up in so many ways in our ads and TV programming and everywhere else in our society?  Why should gay or lesbian human beings have any less rights than any other human being?  How could such a bad idea still even be a thing?  Let’s just stop implementing all these dumb ideas.


hrc-logoPlease consider supporting the Human Rights Campaign – to speak up for equal rights for the LGBT community.

Or support any of the fine organizations listed on the Get Involved page who are working towards ending dumb ideas.

Don’t Think Green OR the Secret to Immortality

RadiallyDon’t think green.

Did it work?  Or did your mind immediately flash on the color green even though you specifically told it not to?

The thing is, it flashed on green specifically because you told it not to.  It’s not being rebellious.  Your mind is not being a teenager or a terrible two.  It would have also flashed on green if you had asked it very nicely, “Please think green.”

The subconscious mind does not understand negatives.  It only hears whatever it is the words ARE – i.e. green.  That is why, if you’re trying to calm yourself down saying “Don’t be afraid, don’t freak out,” your subconscious hears “be afraid, freak out.”  That is why in those situations it’s better to use positive language, such as “Just relax, breathe.”  Can you feel how much more effective that is?  Even reading the words feels more relaxing.

It’s kind of like the ads I put on my blog a few weeks ago.  There is a computer program that is designed to automatically detect reoccurring words and place ads that are similar to the content of the blog, so that the ads might be of interest to the people reading the blog.  Makes sense.  However, it’s kind of like the subconscious mind.  Somewhere there is a computer brain that is processing the words but not understanding negatives, satire or even unity.  I noticed once I posted about how engagement rings are a scam, ads for brilliant-earth-antiquediamond rings started popping up.  That is ok, they are for some earth friendly jewelry company, not the evil De Beers, and at least they have pretty pictures.  But even worse, when I first put the ads on, the program started picking up on all the references to Jesus, Christianity and Islam and there were all these ads about converting to one religion or another and about how this prophet or that savior is the only way.  This is the exact opposite of what I stand for and what I write about!  So, I had to go in and block those ads, in a sense reprogramming the subconscious computer brain to not associate religious words with religious division.

This is what we need to do with our own minds.  It is, however, a little more tricky.  It’s not as easy as just clicking on the “block” button.  But this is where we train ourselves to focus on what we DO want, instead of what we DON’T want.  I.e. – if wanting to manifest a new job, make a list of characteristics you want in the job, like ‘flexible hours, good benefits, at least X/hour’ etc.  If you make a list of what you don’t want, like ‘no jerk for a boss, no crappy pay, no awful hours’ then you’re more likely to get a job with at least some of those crappy characteristics.

This is the basis of such personal development systems as Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), Est and the Forum.  Big name self-help guru Tony Robbins uses elements of NLP in his success seminars and the practice of affirmations and positive thinking have seeped into our popular culture.  And there is something to be said for being conscious of how we use our words and what it points to in our subconscious mind.  However, there is more to it than just words.

NLP-BubblesIn general, I believe that everything should be done in moderation, even moderation.  And NLP can get a little extreme at times.  I’ve had friends get so into it that they tried to eradicate ALL “negative” words from their speech.  They would twist and turn and speak in all kinds of round about ways simply to avoid saying the word “not.”  Back in my Asheville days I worked at a massage school and one day when I answered the phone, it was one of the assistant instructors essentially calling in sick – but instead of saying he wasn’t feeling well and he would not be coming in to work he said “I am in the process of healing and I am choosing other than to come to work today.”  That’s just silly.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with positive language, NLP or affirmations is that the only reason we are using words at all is to relate to the FEELING we have inside.  It is the FEELING of our hearts that creates our reality – that creates us being happy or sad or confident or insecure or scared or relaxed.  The words themselves don’t mean anything without the feeling behind them.  You can use all the positive words you want but if you still feel negative and grumpy inside, you won’t create a positive outcome. Anyone who has written affirmations on the mirror to no avail knows that.

I saw this Gregg Braden video (which I have on my Meditation and World Peace page) where he talked about a friend that had all these post-it notes all over his house saying “I am attracting a wonderful loving woman into my life” and the like.  He asked his friend if he was really attracting a wonderful woman and his friend immediately responded “Of course not, no wonderful woman would want to be with me.”  So, even though he had all the words plastered all over his house and even in his car, his underlying feeling about himself had not changed.

In fact, this is how affirmations can misfire.  People think that simply by putting up post-it’s they can change, but what they don’t realize is sometimes those post-it’s just get the subconscious mind to sass-mouth the post-it and it aggravates the negative feeling even more.  Every time that guy looks at his post-it’s about a wonderful woman, instead of it ee85e279ff1a413cf53822c0804ac0c9having the intended effect, his subconscious mind says “are you kidding? she would never be with someone like you,” magnifying his negative subconscious feelings and working against him.  Instead of using post-it’s with words on them, it is much more useful have post-it’s reminding you to sit for a few minutes and focus on the FEELING you want to create.  Instead of calling in and saying you are choosing other than to come into work today, just call in sick like a normal person and then spend some time resting in bed focusing on the feeling of being healthy.

Before we get too nit-picky about what words we use and run around yelling “cancel clear!” every time we say a negative word, as if it’s a cosmic delete button to ward off accidental manifestations of “not,” just breath and remember it’s more about the state of our feeling self.  Our manifestation consciousness is not so much centered in our verbal mind, it is centered in our feeling heart.

Now, here is where we get to the Secret of Immortality.  I know you’ve been waiting for that.

The Tom Robbins book ‘Jitterbug Perfume’ is about all manner of people searching for the Secret to Immortality.  Some people believe it is in some extraordinary combination of scents to be found in a blue perfume bottle embossed with the image of a goat-horned god.  There are others in the book, however, that believe the Secret to Immortality lies in completely eradicating any and all words or idioms involving death or dying in our language.  These people believe that every time we say “I was scared to death” or “that is so funny it just kills me” that we are creating our own eventual demise.  They are part of a society that is aiming to neuro-linguistically re-program our biology from death itself.

Back to Godhead - Volume 12, Number 10 - 1977

Journey of the Soul through life, death and reincarnation.

However, I posit that the Secret to Immortality is not in NLP or ‘never say die,’ it is in FEELING that you are an eternal soul.  Immortality is not only saying the words “I am a soul” or even believing that you are a soul who will live forever.  Those are important steps.  Immortality is in feeling that you are an eternal soul.  It is about internally identifying as a soul and experiencing your every day life with that knowingness as the ground of your being.  Immortality is in even your subconscious mind knowing and accepting that your consciousness is timeless.

As an example, if someone were to ask me, ‘have you ever been to Peru?,’  I would think – not with this body in this lifetime, but I’m sure I’ve been there at some point.  The “I” is my soul.  Of course, I’m not obnoxious and I simply reply like a normal person, answering the question in the way it was intended – ‘No, I have not been to Peru.’  The person wasn’t asking for a treatise on immortality and past life remembrances.  They just want to tell me about a cool hotel they discovered in case I ever go there.

So, whether you are wanting to get over a cold, manifest a wonderful woman or discover the Secret to Immortality – remember that you can use positive language, verbal reminders and post-it notes, but the essential part is in how you feel.  Do you feel that your immune system is strong and capable of healing your body quickly?  Do you feel that you are a good loving person who deserves to have a wonderful loving woman in your life?  Do you feel that you are an eternal soul and that the consciousness of all time is available to you here and now?

eternal soul portraitAnd as in all things, it’s important to remember that Divine Grace supersedes it all.  If you don’t want to worry too much about what words you use or what your subconscious mind is doing – just pray for Grace.  No matter what you are wanting to manifest, not enough can be said for praying with full feeling in humility and adoration. Loving God will take care of most things.

Stress Reduction – God’s Secret Weapon

ilovemy-crm-logo - CopyI recently taught a 6 week meditation class for stress reduction.  I work at a fairly conservative small college and this past quarter the focus of the staff Wellness program has been on reducing stress for health benefits.  The Wellness program is something the college has for its faculty and staff in order to get better rates from our insurance company.  I guess they figure if the employees receive support and education around health there will be less claims – less by-pass surgeries and long-term diabetes treatments to pay for.  So, basically – it comes down to money.  In a strange twist of fate, in order to save a corporate-greed-capitalist-America insurance company money, I was paid to teach meditation to my co-workers during our lunch hour on Fridays.

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Or is it a twist of fate?  Maybe it is just fate straight up.  Maybe it is exactly as God planned.

My friend Lord Flea sent me an article from the New York Times – How to Find a Job With Meditation and Mindfulness.  It is about a meditation studio craze in New York where Manhattanites are flocking to invite-only meditation studios to meditate and network with investors and start-up entrepreneurs. The article states how this idea came to New York from San Francisco and Wisdom 2.0 – a conference bringing together leaders from the Silicon Valley tech giants with experts in yoga, mindfulness and meditation.  Their goal is “to live with greater wisdom, purpose, and meaning, while using technology in ways that create a more open and healthy culture.”  This is an organization that I first heard of from my friend in San Francisco, Janardhan Chodagam, a very successful software engineer who realized that “a life of fulfillment trumps a life of achievement.”  When I met him he had left the industry to teach meditation with the Brama Kumaris full time and was doing an introduction to Raja Yoga for overworked business professionals in the Bay Area.

Teza, or Lord Flea, is one of my closest spiritual friends, a true lover of God and believer in the power of Love.  Yet, when she started meditating decades ago, she wasn’t looking for God. She heard a talk about how Transcendental Meditation made a person more efficient, productive and creative – and although she started meditation for productivity, she ended up on a lifelong spiritual path.

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Deepak Chopra & Dr. Oz Meditating to lose weight

Years ago I also heard a story of a woman from Brooklyn.  She was your run-of-the-mill Brooklyn housewife and she saw a sign in the window of a yoga studio advertising a certain breathing technique to help you lose weight.  She took the class and the teacher recommended practicing the technique for 10 minutes a day.  She figured if she did the breathing technique for longer, she would lose more weight.  Before she knew it, she was meditating for hours a day and having all kinds of spiritual experiences.  She went to India to meet her teacher and wound up dedicating her life to God, founding an ashram and a charitable organization that does work in the US, India and Uganda.  All because she wanted to lose some weight.

You see, I think that God is secretly using all these “lose weight” and “increase productivity” and “reduce stress” tag lines to help forward the evolution of human consciousness on earth.  It doesn’t matter why we start on a spiritual path.  It doesn’t matter how we get focused on love, peace and a higher way of life.  It doesn’t matter if we expand our consciousness initially because we want to network and find spiritually centered investors for our new fashion start up.  It doesn’t matter if we open our hearts to compassion because we downloaded a meditation app from 1 Giant Mind (who I talk a bit more about on the Meditation Resources page).

biz man med - CopySome people might see New York’s meditation/networking clubs as a crass capitalist sacrilege.  But I rejoice in ALL the wonderful new ways God is finding to bring people to the center of their being.  How amazing that so many business tycoons are breathing in relaxation and breathing out peace.  How glorious that so many doctors are prescribing mindfulness meditation to lower blood pressure.  I can’t even begin to count how many people are being transformed into better, more loving human beings simply by beginning the practice of meditation for any reason whatsoever.  I can’t imagine the impact all these success workshops and health seminars are having on our collective consciousness.

God loves us.  God is constantly looking for any way at all to bring Her children home to more love, peace and happiness.  She sends prophets and saints.  She gives us nature and the miracle of sunsets.  She gives us music and poetry and all the creative expressions of the human soul.  And She gives us Wellness program stress reduction meditation classes.  People get into meditation for all kinds of reasons – blood pressure, weight loss, productivity and success.  God uses all kinds of sneaky ways to aid in the evolution of human consciousness.

I don’t know if you could really say that God has a weapon of any kind.  I know all kinds of scriptures depict God as smiting and drowning and killing all kinds of peoples, but I really think that if there is anything that God is NOT capable of doing, it would be to cause harm.  But, I guess in the old spiritual battlefield of inner decision between good and evil, God can kick some ass.  And in that arena, stress reduction is Her secret weapon.


Join the Consciousness Evolution with Inner Action & Meditation How-to’s

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Stand on One Leg and LOVE! the Rest is Commentary

456501701A few weeks ago in church we had a reading from Matthew’s gospel where a lawyer asks Jesus “Which commandment is the first of all?”  And Jesus replied:

“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

In Father Ted’s sermon, he also told us of a Rabbi Hillel, a contemporary of Jesus who was famous for a similar answer to a trick question.  Asked if he could recite the entire Torah while standing on one leg, he stood on one leg and said, “What is hateful to you, don’t do to others.  That is the whole Torah, the rest is commentary. Go and learn.”

In Islam, ‘compassion’ is the most frequently occurring word in the Qur’an. Each of its 114 chapters, with the exception of the 9th, begins with the invocation ‘In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful…’piriformis-standing-lga

Love and Compassion are also central to Hinduism and the most important practice of ‘seeing the Self in the other’ (strikingly similar to ‘Love thy neighbor as thy Self’).

Daya or Compassion is a fundamental teaching of the Sikh religion, where it means ‘suffering in the suffering of all others’ and it is believed that Enlightenment cannot be reached through meditation alone but the spiritual seeker must also do good works towards their fellow humans.

Compassion is so important to Buddhists that they have been known to remove insects from the ground before putting up posts during construction, as to not harm any creature, however small.

Compassionate to even smaller creatures still, devout Jains sweep the path before them as they walk and wear masks as to not step on or breath in, thus inadvertently killing, any minute invisible insects.

How is it then that we have seen so much violence in the name of religion?  It is a very peculiar quirk of humans that we can have so many beautiful religions that all profess love and compassion as their central tenets, yet we use those religions to argue, discriminate, hate and at worst kill each other.

In my tradition of contradicting myself, I have two “buts” to that statement.

But, I don’t think i73032265t really is our different religions that drive us to those extremes of disunity, warfare and violence.  I think the conflict is really about something else altogether and religion is just used as an excuse.  The reasons for violence throughout history are such basic things as greed, land or power and instead of kings or emperors, or nowadays politicians, saying to their armies “I want that gold and that treasure in that land, let’s kill them for it” and just being honest about it, they say “Those heathens are doing the devil’s work, let’s go kill them.”  I guess they figured their citizens would be less likely to want to die just to feed their king’s coffers.

The second but is: But I think more and more, people are seeing the absurdity of this kind of religious disagreement about which way of practicing love and compassion is right.  We are finding the common ground that we all share.  In fact, I believe this call for unity, understanding, kindness and compassion among all peoples was actually central to many of the prophets, founders and sons of God who started these religions in the first place.  They themselves were trying to reform the baser human tendencies of greed and violence and taught instead LOVE.

The Gospels are full of stories of Jesus sitting down to dine with tax collectors, accepting the devotion of a prostitute (that was NOT Mary Magdalene, but that is the subject for another post), and of showing mercy and inclusion to gentiles of all sorts.

Flamingo_Web_For Muslims, at the heart of their faith is the principal of tawhid or oneness. This oneness has been described as that which dominates the mind in Islam, while the heart is intrinsically linked to the concept of compassion. “My Mercy encompasses all things” (Qur’an 7:156).  Islam sees love and compassion – the ability to feel with the other, as expressions of the interconnected oneness of all human beings, reflecting the oneness and unity of God.

The Muslim leader Badshah Khan, who waged nonviolent resistance for Indian independence alongside Gandhi has said:

“It is my inmost conviction that Islam is amal, yakeen, huhabat – selfless service, faith and love…. My religion is truth, love and service to God and humanity. Every religion that has come into the world has brought the message of love and brotherhood. Those who are indifferent to the welfare of their fellowmen, whose hearts are empty of love, they do not know the meaning of religion.”

This is why religious or spiritual figures from all different faiths and religions are often found saying “Love is my religion” or the like.  This is why I am an Everything.

This is also what Karen Armstrong discovered when she founded the Charter for Compassion.  The bottom line of virtually all religions is compassion – so let’s stop squabbling about the different nuances of compassion or who we believe said that compassion is most important or what name we use to refer to the All Compassionate One – and let’s start making COMPASSION a part of our every day life and all that we do.  Instead of worrying which prophet is the most right or  most godly about compassion, isn’t it more important to actually practice the compassion they all speak of?  That is what putting all our varying religions into Natrajaction actually looks like.  And that is what will bring about the Unity of God that all our prophets, saints and Holy Ones of all religions have taught in one way or another.  That is what we have always yearned for.

That is why I stand on one foot and say – Love!  The rest is commentary.


Please enjoy the inspiring Charter for Compassion video – and if you haven’t already, please sign the charter.

Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables

article-2693000-1FA30DFD00000578-601_634x929This is something that falls both under the category Silly and Important.  I’m not even sure it’s silly enough to fall under the category of a silly post of the week, but with a name like ‘Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables,’ I’ll say it qualifies.

I recently saw a video about a French supermarket, Intermarche, who wanted to do something to combat food waste.

Did you know that grocery stores throw out up to 40% of fruits and vegetables simply because they are ugly?  I had no idea, but I, too, look over the fruits and vegetables and squeeze and examine as if I actually know what I am doing.  I search through the tomatoes and the peaches to find the prettiest one, as if my fruit bowl at home needs to rival a French Provencal painting.  Little did I know that my finicky fruit and vegetable habits are part of such tremendous waste.

So, thank goodness for Intermarche for setting me straight.  They set out to prove that ugly fruits and vegetables taste just as yummy as DSC_3342their more beautiful counterparts.  They dedicated a whole aisle to the deformed produce and sold them at a 30% discount.  They also started a line of prepared foods made out of the two-legged carrots or bulgey eggplant.  This way people can take home a bowl of ugly tomato soup and taste for themselves how delicious it is before buying the lumpy things themselves.

An estimated 90,000 tons of produce in the U.K. goes to landfill sites annually, all because customers associate ‘ugly’ with ‘defective.’  I don’t know what 40% of the US grocery store produce equals in tons, but I’d guess it’s a lot more than that.  The same is true for all westernized countries.  The amount of fruits and vegetables that are thrown out world-wide simply because they aren’t visually acceptable to consumers is astounding.

It is even more egregious when you factor in the fact that there are areas in the U.S. that are called “food desserts” because there is so little access to nantesgood healthy food.  How many people are there in this country (or any country) who live in low-income neighborhoods that don’t have access to fresh produce?  When you also factor into that the fact that a head of broccoli in America costs more than a full meal at McDonald’s, that blows my mind.

So, my not-so-silly ending to my kinda-silly post for the week is this:

The ugly fruit movement should join forces with the Food Justice movement and design programs to take the less than perfect looking – but still just as tasty and nutritious – produce to lower-income neighborhoods and sell them for a discounted price.  And we should all stop being so prissy about our food.