Friday, 26 April 2013

"Smile, breathe and go slowly." - Thầy Thích Nhất Hạnh

"It's simple ... you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine." - Trees

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The ONE Campaign and Food Revolution Day Join Forces for Good Food

The ONE Campaign and Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day have joined forces for good food education and food practices, locally and globally.

They are asking for support and signatures on a petition:

Dear World Leaders,

Help 25 million children reach their full potential by making measurable commitments to reduce chronic malnutrition by 2016.

http://act.one.org/go/1243?t=2&akid=3895.6216485.b-lmP2

Now Don't Say I Never Gave You Nothin'

Free Stuff Conundrum

A market niche clearly exists for free stuff. There is an incredible demand and very little supply.

Just the other day I put up a post on the local online community site The New Hanoian (a kind of Vietnamese craigslist) for free stuff and it was answered in minutes by many people. I noticed that there were no old posts in that section of the site and realized why. I had to delete the ad after about half an hour because of all the mail.

In San Francisco we used to have the 'Really Really Free Market' as a kind of community gathering where people would give away everything from clothes to sandwiches and dance lessons. - That all ended tragically when the organizer Kirsten Brydum was shot in New Orleans.

What about a 'Really Really Free Market" for the international vagabonds among us? All the language teachers and NGO workers who are aimlessly roaming from job to job, and those international hitchhikers, sailors and couchsurfers who are looking for a bicycle or a jacket in their destination city. I say we need an online free market/library/warehouse/storehouse for all those vagabonds among us.

Why do we need all these piles of things stashed all over the world? Sometimes I feel like a human squirrel, arriving at a place and gathering up my collection of things to leave for a later date. - I would rather that these acorns are allowed to grow into trees (as a great percentage of the forgotten squirrel-stashed-acorns do). It would be preferable if I could put my surfboard, bike etc. into the local Free Market/Library and look to that in my place of arrival when I get there.

Too many of us are roving around only to invest in yet another motorbike and whole life to leave behind again. Let's share.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Radical Fermentation

Here in Hanoi we eat a lot of fermented foods.

The most common is a crazy stinky dish called Mắm, a purple paste of raw fermented fish and shrimp eaten with cold noodles and tofu, meat and other vegetables.

We also eat a lot of a dish delicious and sour dish called Dua Muoi, which is a mustard and beet fermentation, as well as Ca Muoi, which is a kind of small eggplant fermentation.

The macrobiotic community on Lac Long Quan has many rooms and corners of the house filled with bottles of fermenting fruits and vegetables. - My Vietnamese is only good enough to find out about the age of the fermentation and the general plant type. - I'll be finding out about it and be sure to put photos and ideas up on the 'Organic Slow Foodie' blog as I learn more.

Concerning fermentation here is a much loved poem by Peter Schumann

CHEESE IS CLASSICAL
FERMENTATION FROM
THE ANIMAL KINGDOM. RADICAL CHEESE
IS HUMAN FERMENTATION + THE NEED
FOR HUMAN FERMENTATION.
THE CALL FOR FERMENTATION IS PRIOR TO THE CALL
FOR UPRISING BECAUSE UPRISING NEEDS ALL THE
WILD YEASTS OT THE MOMENT TO BE WHAT IT IS.
HUMAN FERMENTATION CONCERNS THOSE
PARTS OF THE HUMAN BODY
THAT ARE NOT GOVERNED BY
THE GOVERNMENT
LIKE THE GUTS AND THE
GUTSY PART OF THE BRAIN.
IN THIS DEMOCRACY WHICH
TEASES CITIZENS WITH
THE POSSIBILITY OF
DEMOCRACY, CITIZENS ARE
RAISED LIKE MILITARY
APPLE-ORCHARDS PRUNED
DOWN TO THEIR PREDICTABLE
MINIMUMS YIELDING CONTROLLED
FRUITS THAT LACK THE ECSTACY OF NATURE.
FERMENTED CITIZENS ARE CORRUPTED
BY THE ECSTASY OF NATURE + FROM THAT CORRUPTION
DERIVE STRENGTH TO CORRUPT NORMAL MILITARY-
APPLE-ORCHARD CITIZENS. ONLY BY THE SPREAD OF
SUCH CORRUPTIONS CAUSED BY FERMENTATION CAN
UPRISINGS OCCUR. UPRISINGS ARE NOT POLITICAL
ACTIVITIES BUT THE OPPOSITE OF POLITICAL ACTIVITIES:
ANARCHIC EXERCISES IN THE HUMAN POTENTIAL
OR ANARCHIC BLOSSOMINGS OF DESIRES WHICH
ARE HIDDEN CAPABILITIES.
THE WORLD THAT ADVERTISES ITSELF AS
THE WORLD IS THE WRONG WORLD. THE
BLOSSOMING OF DESIRES AGAINST THIS WRONG
WORLD IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO THE
GARBAGE SPIRITUALIZATION AS PRACTISED BY
PUPPETRY

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Ancient Trees Give Way to New Development

I took this photo because I found that it could tell the whole story.
It is infinitely depressing to witness the forests disappearing here but I am finding some hope in the way that life springs up in every possible niche of the new human-built world.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Wholesome Food in Hanoi

Hanoi is a killer.

The street food is delicious and the people are good but it is hard to take the speed, the noise, the MSG, and the smog of a Hanoi life for very long.

I travel by bicycle or motorbike, from a good job with a local NGO to meditation or yoga class but still feel strung out and depressed after a week or two in this city. I find that all my senses are filled with heavy-metal dust. - I need a lot of support and Lac Long Quan is one place where I go to get it.

On the west shore of West Lake there is a small bulk producer of macrobiotics. - They have saved my life in this smoggy fast-paced action-packed city.

Macrobiotic is about a person's whole environment, from food to social interactions to the climate and geography. It views sickness as the natural attempt of the body to return to a more harmonious balance with the dark and light aspects of life - it is really about diet and lifestyle.

Here is a poem by Matsuo Basho, translated by Robert Hass

A monk sips morning tea,
it's quiet,
the chrysanthemum's flowering.

Monday, 15 April 2013

People Are Good - After the Boston Marathon

Dear America,

I love you and can only imagine how painful and dark the post Boston Marathon time is... I can only imagine how this would create a dark feeling that another peaceful comfortable and beautiful thing has been destroyed by senseless violence.

I want to give a small 2-cents about how this tragedy really shows that people are good. - I know it seems strange and counterintuitive but just hear me out.

A life of traveling has opened up this insight for me. - Especially as a young hitchhiker and hobo I learned that most everyone has a really big heart.

One, or a few individuals, are so full of pain and hatred that they have hurt us all. But, our collective reaction has been one of love and heart-filled giving and caring.

Please have a look at the Business Insider's '13 Examples Of People Being Awesome After The Attack On The Boston Marathon'
http://www.businessinsider.com/inspiring-images-from-boston-2013-4

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Humic Musings

Work has begun to overwhelm time for musing and writing. - Sympathetic Disengaged Curiosity is now intended simply as a fist in the air - a positive mark of solidarity - part of the deepening online litter of composting words and ideas - not really a catalyst so much as a space for light musings and general appreciation for poets and visionaries: fingers pointing at the moon.

On transitions here's Mary Oliver's poem 'The Journey': 

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Gratitude List

Practicing gratitude is a good way to stop allowing the wonderful aspects of life slip by without awareness. The Dalia Lama has spent his life offering his encouragement for us to practice it, the Buddha taught it to his disciples over 2,000 years ago and now science is finding more and more evidence to support the notion that gratitude is a great source of well being and happiness.

Over the past few years a group of friends and I have been working on making lists of things that we are grateful for. For enumeration, and that possibility that it may inspire others to start their own lists, I offer a few gems:

Maine 2013: The way leaves dance in a light breeze; orange evening beams of sunlight moving through the room, peanut butter and butter on fresh baked bread, aimlessness, new seedlings in the garden, beansprouts and cherry tomatoes, pet names from my mother.

Arizona 2013: Waking up without an alarm, rainy afternoons, sparkly shoes, watching the sunset, unexpected letters, breathing in & loving out, pint-sipping, misty midnight walks, giving compliments, that feeling you get when you can't imagine anything better, the way fall air smells, snuggling under the covers, mischievous smirks, snort-y laughing, being in the moment.

New Mexico 2012: Alpaca gatherings, alpaca eyelashes, buffalo roving, yellow aspen groves, yellow tea cup, bicycles, sweet rainbow children, the fuzzy grey of the changing season.

Seattle 2012: Stars, lightning bugs, robots, history, gifts, love, giggle, farts, dancing, sleep.

Nevada 2011: Baked sweet potatoes, truck campers, the Sierras, smooth tapioca pudding, peanut brittle, homemade apple butter, jars of change, winds of change, seasons that change, sweat pants.

New Jersey 2011: Gathering and eating food from our garden, grieving in order to move through, time alone, eggs and bacon, discovering new music, cartwheeling everywhere!

Scotland 2010: Making big plans and changing them at the last second, cutting off all my hair, the sun rising after I've lost track of time, remembering the magic of hot tea.

Arizona 2010: Rawberry strubarb pie, homemade earl gray rock candy experiments, Arizona evenings, suited up for tennis, rocking chairs and turkey vultures, never-ending fire roasted pablanos, gathering the bundle of your mind into this present moment.

California 2010: Deep breaths to bring me back to the present, sweet rose wine and rocking chairs, grounding ideas born long ago, calligraphic ink stained fingers, the rat's nest treasure, yoni art, reunions with east coast birds, homemade felt for yurt homes, dark mustaches forever in my heart.

Wisconsin 2009: Listening to my kids pretend stuff.

Vermont 2009: Falling asleep with my new born nephew in my arms, opening my heart to give and receive love, visits from close friends that live far away, sitting by a warm wood stove, midnight strolls under a clear sky, snuggling in my warm bed on a cold morning.

Georgia 2008: Translucent Bunny ears, silk dog fur, coarse dog fur, wild heavy rain, hail, very late night quiet.

New York 2008: Yoga interrupted by puppies, yoga interrupted by the smell of coffee, the smell of coffee, enjoying coffee while writing about yoga being interrupted, laughing at myself and this list, anticipating having fun in the theatre later, anticipating more laughing at myself.