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Helm of the Heart

We are the ones we've been waiting for

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Recently Daniel and I have been working for a restaurant/catering company. Well, Daniel worked 25 hours in two days this weekend while I was at yoga school. He’s been using his 10 years of fine dining/restaurant/serving/bar-tending/business experience to basically manage a lot of things for them, things that I know nothing about. I’m helping out where I can.

Anyway, the other day Daniel mentioned to me that there is a little vegetable garden growing in the back of the restaurant. There are artichokes, peppers, chives, carrots, herbs, and other things that could easily be used in the restaurant in the food or as garnishes. I thought that is was such a lovely idea- actually GROWING food at a place where food is sold! Such a seemingly obvious connection, but it is rarely done.

Then Daniel told me that when he discovered the garden, he met the little 80 year old woman that cultivated the vegetables and they had a laugh about “how ridiculous it is that they can’t actually use any of the garden in the restaurant”.

Apparently, for food to be “safe” for our consumption, it has to pass certain guidelines and be processed through proper channels. I just about died laughing/crying because this has got to be one of the most backward things I have ever heard in my life. The food industry that feeds us pink slime and says that pizza is a vegetable has to “process” natural food grown by actual people?! This is the very height of an idiotic relationship to food.

How much better would it be if restaurants could grow fresh food right on site? I’m sure it would save costs and it would probably taste a lot better.

I am really looking forward to one day having my own garden to cultivate. Obviously, not everyone has access to resources, but why not build structures with gardens in mind? Why not create sustainable ecosystems that will be cost effective in the long run and better for the people that work or live there?

We could do so much better!

♥/☼

Amanda

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 When I went to college, I didn’t know what I wanted to study. My belief was that since I wasn’t planning to become a doctor or an engineer, I could simply choose to study what intrigued me. I was clueless about my future career, but I was raised knowing that I would attend college.

Both of my parents are teachers, so of course education was always valued in my household. That being said, my parents never made it seem like everyone needed to go to college, just that everyone should have access to education if they choose. It was very obvious from an early age that I loved learning and that I would continue my education after my required schooling.

Anyway, I decided that my college experience would be centered around my interests. I took an AP/IB psychology class during high school and did quite well, so I considered continuing psychology in college. I was turned off because of how impacted the major was- I couldn’t even enroll in a psychology class my first semester (first year students have the last slot for enrollment) so I signed up for “introduction to sociology” instead. I was immediately hooked.

Sociology is wonderful because it is so broad. I took courses on social psychology, race and ethnicity, political sociology, sociology of the 1960s, sociology of sexuality, and even a class on riots and protests movements. I actually ended up with a minor in African American studies because I was fascinated with a perspective that was almost completely absent in my earlier education (save a week or two in February each year).

Looking at the world from a macro perspective allows us to understand what is occurring in the micro.

“As Above, So Below.”

Through my studies I integrated an understanding of a social paradigm, as stated here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradigm

Another use of the word paradigm is in the sense of “worldview”. For example, in social science, the term is used to describe the set of experiences, beliefs and values that affect the way an individual perceives reality and responds to that perception. Social scientists have adopted the Kuhnian phrase “paradigm shift” to denote a change in how a given society goes about organizing and understanding reality. A “dominant paradigm” refers to the values, or system of thought, in a society that are most standard and widely held at a given time. Dominant paradigms are shaped both by the community’s cultural background and by the context of the historical moment. The following are conditions that facilitate a system of thought to become an accepted dominant paradigm:

  • Professional organizations that give legitimacy to the paradigm
  • Dynamic leaders who introduce and purport the paradigm
  • Journals and editors who write about the system of thought. They both disseminate the information essential to the paradigm and give the paradigm legitimacy
  • Government agencies who give credence to the paradigm
  • Educators who propagate the paradigm’s ideas by teaching it to students
  • Conferences conducted that are devoted to discussing ideas central to the paradigm
  • Media coverage
  • Lay groups, or groups based around the concerns of lay persons, that embrace the beliefs central to the paradigm
  • Sources of funding to further research on the paradigm

I was reading my cousin Jeremy’s blog and he had some beautiful words to share about the concept of freedom. https://thesandcounty.wordpress.com/

It got me thinking about how we often trap ourselves and restrict our own freedom because we are used to things being that way. Our society teaches us to be independent, driven, and to value the accumulation of money. We celebrate ruthlessness and even inhumane qualities in our quest for “success”.

We are not free to be ourselves if we accept the paradigm blindly. When discussing world views and philosophies, most people have a point where they default to “that’s just the way it is”, and “you have to be realistic”. I would argue that “the way it is” is a problem. Realistically, there is enough on this planet to take care of every entity inhabiting it, if we are thoughtful and united in our efforts. The hoarding of resources and wealth by the few is an accepted construct that must be shattered.

Taking time to meditate, reflect, practice yoga, or simply be in nature will allow you to become more attuned to the truth. I think about how fortunate I am to have time for myself. To have leisure time and to develop intellectual and spiritual pursuits is not a reality for many people on this planet. I see our technological progress as a means for our development as a species. We are able to feel the connection existing between all beings on this planet. There are people Cyprus, Croatia, Hungary, Canada, Brazil and Lithuania that are reading my words here. It is beautiful to know that arbitrary boundaries are not stopping the flow of communication.

♥/☼

Amanda

by Andy Warhol

Venus- Andy Warhol

I’ve been on a bit of a technology detox for the last few days. I was sick with the flu over the weekend, and feeling drained of all of my vital energy. I had planned to write a post about the Venus transit before it happened, but life interfered.

The transit of Venus is a rare event that occurs in 8 year pairs (June 2004/June 2012) every 121 or so years.  Venus represents the divine feminine, love and harmony, and its presence in front of our sun is thought to activate and shine light on the divine feminine energy within our earth and ourselves. This integrates with our masculine energy (which is dominant on our earth, currently) and brings about a great balance between masculine and feminine, yin and yang.

There is also a surge of creativity and communication taking place between transits. I think about the previous transit in 2004, which I knew nothing about. I was just graduating high school and although the internet was definitely up and running, it was nothing like it is today. Since 2004, there have been many strides in our ability to communicate as a whole, as a human race. Alternate news sites are readily available to anyone with internet access. I think about Wikileaks and other organizations that have used our technology to expose great injustices and increase awareness among people.

I awoke this morning, feeling reborn. I do not know if it has anything to do with the Venus transit, but I know that I awoke to lightness, calm, and a strange feeling that something inside me has changed. While I was sick and shunning the demands of the outside world, I kept trying to reassure myself that I needed time to allow for healing and integration, and that I was not suffering needlessly.

Lately, when I am feeling heavy or sad, I go outside and surround myself in the beauty that is this planet. I walk barefoot, look around and think about how fortunate I am to be here, at this time.  I try my best not to feel guilty about taking time for myself, to heal myself. I am the most effective when I am well-rested and rejuvenated, and I want to be as helpful as possible to the people in my life.

School is out for summer on Friday, and I am SO ready. I can’t believe I’ve been a teacher at Sheppard for four years. To think how much I have changed and grown in that period of time, and then thinking back to the transit in 2004- it is amazing to see and feel how much has changed. I’d like to think that Amanda circa 2004 would be proud of Amanda 2012 🙂

♥ /☼

Amanda