Monday, February 28, 2011

The San Francisco Treat

No no, not the rice, I'm referring to our trip coming up next week. We've made a few, let's say alterations, to our trip. We'd been planning on going up to Mt. Shasta CA and Ashland OR to find a place to live. While I absolutely love that area, it's a little isolated for me. See, here's the thing, I want to go to Living Light. It's one of three Raw and Living culinary schools that exist in this entire country. It's an hour or less from the Bay area. My new but dear friend, Amber of Epic Self, is going to show us around San Fran, locals style. If you haven't checked out Epic Self you're missing a very talented Raw and Living enthusiast. She does great online yoga and pilates videos and has a very interesting blog. She's a free spirit indeed. That much is obvious by her writing. She's also interviewed some of the most interesting Raw Foodists out there. I have to say that everyone I've encountered so far in the Raw and Living Foods community is so nice, so approachable, so helpful.

We don't need to live in the San Francisco city limits. Anywhere in the area will do. I think people who move there sometimes make the mistake of being attached to that one particular city. Most times they realize they can't afford it, move somewhere near by and never spend as much time there as they intended. Just getting out of NC for a while will be good enough for me. Berkeley, Oakland or any other surrounding city will be just fine with us. If we don't fall in love with it, we'll probably move to the Los Angeles area. We have friends in both places.

I keep putting off what I really want out of life. Well, I'm finished with that. I had a great conversation Friday night with my friend Steve. He challenged me. He said "What's your passion? Yeah? Why the fuck aren't you doing THAT! Stop making excuses." I'm so thankful for such an honest friend. It all boils down to fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough. I've slowly let my humility morph into low self esteem. I'm going to die one day, maybe tomorrow, maybe in 50 years. From this moment on, I'm going to live my passion. I'm going to stop putting off life. Life is what happens while you're making plans. It all seems so simple now. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Home is Where you Hang Your Hat?

    As our west coast trip and move date get closer, I'm staying open-minded to any possibility. Sure, I want to move out West, so does Liz. It's also important to not let anything sway you too much in any one direction. I love NC, I love Northern CA, and I love L.A. What a wonderful problem to have. A good friend of mine, Jason, told me once that home is where you hang your hat, as opposed to "where the heart is." My heart is always just a beat away. It seems like the moment we opened our mind to new possibilities, the universe opened up. I'm letting my intuition hold the reins. My ego has truly "let go."
    The Raw Vegan lifestyle has been my greatest blessing to date. I wish I'd started eating this way years ago. I'm a changed man, all for the better. I'm searching for ways I can give back. I've taken so much in my life. Taken from people, the Earth, and myself. I'm unlearning the conditioning that's clouded my mind for 32 years. The original mind is clear and pristine. My karma appears to be shifting in a good direction. Though appearances can be deceiving. I'm just watching it all go by and playing my part as best I can.
    One of the things that still makes me disappointed in myself is something I let happen on Facebook, of all places! I let myself get caught up in petty partisan politics. It ruined a couple really great friendships. I've apologized for myself but it doesn't seem to matter to them. One of those friends I'd had since the 3rd grade. It's a shame that people hold so tightly to their beliefs. The more your brain "believes" anything, the more it stops critically questioning everything. It literally stops functioning in that "belief zone." A non-functioning mind is clinically dead. I hope they come back to life in my life one day. This isn't a judgement or critique of them, it's a plea.
    There's love pulsing through every atom in my body. I feel so connected to everything, as if for the first time. The world is changing day by day and I think it's for the better. People are scared and they shouldn't be. We are the government. We can make the laws we want to live by. We can end the corporate democracy for good if we fight for what we belief in. Let's fight with our money, our hearts, and our minds. Have a good week everyone. I love you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

All In

    As I listen to the new Radiohead album I'm reminded of my own innate qualities. I'm a Scorpio that's also half-Italian. I feel that predisposes me to a lot of intense passion. Sometimes it manifests in a positive way, other times not so much. Raw Veganism has only widened the spectrum. I don't want to see auras or anything like that, but I definitely feel a deeper connection to all things living. I can read people easier. Not judge them, that's not what I'm about. Though I'm quick to share my thoughts, people can take it or leave it. If they leave it, they leave me. I AM my thoughts, words, and actions. A communal consciousness is within our power. We have so much power, and we give it away every day. We can all be a vehicle for change and a greater good. We need each other.
    I seem to be settling into a good place as far as diet goes. Fruits and greens in the morning and fats in the evening. I'm still maintaining a 90% Raw diet but am considering going the full monty. All in, 100% Raw Vegan, all the time. Coffee is gone as well. The only time I eat anything cooked is when we go out to a restaurant. I had a coconut curry last night with veggies and jasmine rice. Before I got home, my ears were filling with fluid and my sinuses were getting clogged with mucas. I skipped the tofu and still had this problem. Most places serve GMO crap with hydrogenated oils and I'm fucking sick of it. I don't feel this is an allergy as much as a refining of my digestive system. I never noticed it when my gut was loaded down with gluten and old toxins. But now it's in and out within a day. My system is clean and I intend on keeping that way. I just passed the three month mark and there's no going back now. I feel great!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Apollo Programme was a Hoax.

    One of my all time favorite bands, Refused, is on my mind today. Namely, the powerful words they forever etched into my brain. Sabotage will set us free, throw a rock in the machine. I'm a peaceful person. I always have been, I always will be. But to speak frankly for a moment, I'm pretty fed up with all the bullshit surrounding our food supply and our world as a whole.
    I focus on food for many reasons, Raw Veganism being only one. It affects us in every conceivable way. We literally are what we eat. I don't need to rehash old posts, you guys know exactly where I'm coming from. What boggles my mind is why doesn't everyone get it? I guess I'm strangely fascinated by folks who accept the truth as told to them by mainstream science and commercial media. The ones who think facts are negotiable. They are not. Some things are just true. If I cut through the white noise what I hear mostly is analogous to: "I don't believe in the law of gravity, watch me walk up this wall just to prove you wrong!" How do you respond to someone like that?
    Sabotage will set us free. There is no natural law that says you must actively participate in a mindless consumer culture. Peaceful, yet disruptive direct action, is highly encouraged. You decide what you're comfortable with. Some people shoplift at sweatshop chain stores, some people choose not to shop at GMO dominated grocers, some people hack into Monsanto's database and disseminate incriminating information. None of these actions harm another living creature. They're all a middle finger pointed towards our soulless system of profit and disease.
   If I sound angry, I'm not. I'm as cool as a cucumber. Anger and attachment are the distractions the ruling class use to confuse and divide us. Well, let me tell you, that's just not going to work anymore. If we start with an empowering diet and lifestyle, the skies the limits. I've never been this clear and focused in my entire life and 90% of it is because of a Raw Food lifestyle. It changes you, for the better. I've always had these concerns, but I've never had this sort of confidence in my personal choices. It's different for everyone, but, if you can look at a suffering animal on a factory farm or a starving child with any amount of indifference, maybe The Cooked Food Conspiracy isn't for you. My gut tells me however, that this is not the case. If you're still reading, it's obvious you care.
   Our lives are short. Soon the elements that make up our bodies will disintegrate. How will you throw a rock in the machine? Some of us have more rocks than we can carry. Pick your battles and defend them to the death. May a healing wind blow through us all.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Door in Front of Me

    I sometimes feel immense frustration at the wool that's been pulled over our eyes. Our social and environmental conditioning is by design and yet blameless at the same time. The members of our culture can't help but feel isolated and abandoned in such an ugly age. The powers that be are raised from childhood in a familial climate of power, greed and selfishness.
    I also believe that the seed of enlightenment is within us all. It begins with letting go. If you hold a bird too tightly in your hand, you'll crush it. If you release your grip too much, it'll fly away. Finding that balance isn't easy, at least it hasn't been for me. We're so disgusted by the world we see that we try our best to control as many things as we can. As well we should, lest we fall from the brink of our own collective madness.
    For me, a Raw Vegan lifestyle has been a door that's opened me to new possibilities. I never imagined, in my wildest dreams, that I'd ever be eating and living this way. I didn't feel worthy of such pure, clean food. Buddhism has also had an immense impact on me. Ever watched a bitter Atheist blossom into a neutral, contented Buddhist? Me either, but my heart of hearts is writing (and typing) this chapter as we speak. I'm loosening my grip and just watching it all unfold in front of me.
    My connection to the Earth is resonating in deep and profound ways. Mount Shasta, California is the 3rd Earth Chakra and one of our planet's highest energy centers. We'll be living there soon and I can't even begin to tell you how joyful I am about it. My karma is burning bright and I feel as if nothing could extinguish the fire I've started.
    The only wish yet to be fulfilled is to help others. That's what this blog is to me. I've never approached it with a self-serving interest. I have no ambitions other than to help others guide themselves towards they're highest potential. I felt healthy eating cooked Vegan food but I never imagined how far the spectrum could reach. If you think you feel good now, just imagine eating foods that literally digest themselves, leaving more energy than you can even handle at times. Balancing my 3 treasures (shen, chi and jing) is one of the most rewarding challenges I could have undertaken. Bringing my body into alignment, with regards to alkalinity and acidity, is also a great learning experience.
    The process continues. Does it ever end? It's as if I've reintroduced myself to myself. Where I was last week is not where I am at this moment. It ebbs and flows in a beautiful rhythm. It's the soundtrack of our lives. What's on your playlist?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

...And the Beat Goes On

It's truly remarkable how much my perspective has changed since I switched to a 90% Raw Vegan diet. I thought I'd reached a destination, but it was only the beginning. I've slowly been accumulating information and raw data, no pun intended, that's constantly reshaping my outlook. I've simultaneously been delving deeper into my own mind to unlock the potential that lies beneath. Just when I think I've got it all figured out, I hear an online discussion between Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Gabriel Cousens. These guys are at the leading edge of Raw Food nutrition. Hearing their wise words, my process continues to unfold. Dr. Cousens in particular is my guiding light in regards to Raw Veganism. He's been helping people cure their illnesses with a Raw Vegan diet for 38 years! What an inspiration! He should be writing the curriculum for our academic medical institutes of higher learning. Also, Brother Echo of Raw Sangha is doing a 40 day Juice Feast that's inspired me to start seriously juicing again. My own recipes are getting better too, I think. I made stuffed bell peppers for a Superbowl party last Sunday. Apparently, they were a big hit. I've decided not to do a new post for every new dish but I have a few to share. Bon Appetit!

Stuffed Bell Pepper Wedges

Multi-colored Salad, drenched in my Creamy, Basil Herb Dressing.

Fresh Juice with Strawberries, Aloe Leaf, Romaine, Apple and Lemon

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Internal Synergy

    The last two weeks have had a lot of twists and turns. When the decision was made to leave North Carolina for the West Coast, something happened: I pulled my head out of the sand. Suddenly the Universe laid itself at my feet. The dismal surroundings I'd long dismissed began to open. At first I thought "Wow, looks like Winston-Salem might actually have some great projects in the works." As if instantaneously my hometown became cool again. It's always had it's bright spots and I'm starting to see how I fit in here. The deeper my connection becomes with Raw and Living foods, and its relation to my body, mind, and spirit, the deeper the connection becomes to my social and geographical roots. I never thought it would be an easy choice to leave this place. I have so many amazing friends and a very loving family. I realize all of this and yet it's time for a change. There's something calling me and I have to answer.
    Changing what I ate was only the beginning. The internal synergy that's been taking place is propelling me forward. Settling into my ninety percent Raw Vegan lifestyle has, so far, been only a positive transformation. I've lost nearly thirty pounds in three months, my mind is crystal clear, and my gratitude and love is growing exponentially. We leave for our Spring Break trip on March 10th to go find out if home will be Ashland OR, Redding CA, or Mount Shasta CA. There are just some things that cannot be accomplished here. The cultural climate is not the same. The West Coast is the birthplace of the Raw Food movement, among many other things.
    All is uncertain and impermanent. Nothing is set in stone. We are only a spiritual biomass consisting of the four elements. We arise, we pass away. Pondering this, the present is always a place I'll enjoy residing, wherever that may be on a map.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Raw Vegan Karma

    In the past couple of years I've slowly been gravitating towards a path of Buddhist spiritual practice. After unlearning the Christian conditioning of my youth, I naturally found myself of the Atheist persuasion. I still consider myself an Atheist because Buddha is but the messenger, the teacher, and the illumination of my personal path to liberation.
    Organized religion always has a way of twisting spirituality into some set of rigid rules, supposedly handed down from a "Creator." This has become my polar opposite. I truly feel as if Veganism led me to Buddhism and Buddhism led me to Raw and Living Foods. What an exciting and enlightening time it's been, and I'm just getting started! 
    Insight Meditation is not what most people think it is. Meditation in general has the stigma of "sitting down to relax and escaping into yourself for relief." I think Insight Meditation is just the opposite. While you may be still and focused, it's anything but a leisurely escape. You guide yourself into confronting all the illusion and deception of the heart and mind. You ponder The Four Noble Truths and gain a deeper understanding of Dukhha, Impermanence, and Not-Self. Learning to strive for the least amount of harm I can cause without struggling to achieve it has become my most humbling attribute. The Earth and the Universe have opened up to me because I've opened up to them. We're all atoms belonging to the same body of energy. 
    The karmic stains of my past are being cleansed by the merit I'm trying to cultivate. There's a great saying in Buddhism about the fact that we've all been each other's mother in one of our infinite past lives, so respect and love everyone as you would your own mother. I've taken this concept and applied it to the food I eat and the Earth in which it grew. That's the essence of where I am today, right now, in this moment. 
    My wish is for us all, non-vegans, non-raw foodists alike, to take this step towards liberation. In doing so, we no longer need to quarrel about all the injustices of the world. The first step towards this liberation is also the first step away from our destructive culture that forces us to live outside of the community of life. It's within our grasp and we've already taken that first step.