Your Weekly Diversion, Week 33

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Image from the Medicine Owl

The Medicine Owl website tells us that in astrology the number 33 is a Master Number, the “teacher of teachers”:

33 is the number of ‘teacher of teachers’. It is a number that calls for service to humanity. It is a highly dedicated vibration, and people who carry this master number in their charts, have chosen a life of service to others. This means some sacrificing of personal goals and ideals for the greater good of man is required. When the number 33 individuals fully accept and step into their mission, they can overwrite other challenging aspects of their birth chart. That is the power of this number.

At this particular time in our human history, this time in which you and I and all around us are aware of such suffering from Hurricane Harvey and flooding in Houston, Texas, Louisiana and the whole region, service to humanity is certainly called for! I urge each of those who read this blog post today to do what you can for the cause, and I suspect you already have.

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You can donate to the Salvation Army here

We discussed how we would contribute, and we ended up donating to the Salvation Army, for long held family gratitude. Back in the day, my mother-in-law, may she Rest In Peace, got a job with the telephone company in New York, and when it was learned that she was Jewish, she was fired. This was devastating to her and the family on so many levels. After this awful event, she was hired by the Salvation Army, and we have a photo in the attic of her in full Army regalia ringing a bell on a street corner. We hold them in highest esteem because of this loving inclusiveness.

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Today’s diversions are first of the green variety. Household cleaning agents are often toxic, noxious or just plain lousy for us to smell and use. Today the Vitamin Shoppe sent an email giving some cleaning solutions we can make from nontoxic household items most of us already have. Then I looked up my favorite line of commercially available cleaning products on the Environmental Working Group. I learned they are mostly okay. Check out yours.

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One thing I learned there is that Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap is totally safe. It can be used for just about every cleaning task you have, personal, household and even animal. I intend to try it in a load of laundry this weekend, and follow their directions to add a cup of white vinegar (I’ve had a gallon from the dollar store forever) to the rinse cycle to soften the clothes. Here’s their page of cleaning solutions.

For your listening enjoyment, here is Sisana singing “Africa” and here is a link to a recent BBC feature about the young South African musician who once was homeless and destitute. It all fits together today, doesn’t it?

 

Namasté

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How do you know when to change things? By Ajahn Sumedho

Buddha, 3rd century
Pakistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province,
Schist; H. 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm); W. 11 in. (27.9 cm); D. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Denise and Andrew Saul Gift, in honor of Maxwell K. Hearn, 2014 (2014.188)
http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/646117

This interview with Ajahn Sumedho offers some wonderful insights into action vs. inaction, spontaneity vs. impulsivity, ego vs. awakened-ness. Please click on the link below to read the rest.

Q: Sometimes it might be a good idea to change things and sometimes it might not. How do you know when to change things?

A: Well, as you begin to trust in that way of accepting things as they are, then your own intuitive sense will guide you. It doesn’t mean to just put up with unpleasant things as a practice, but at this moment now, whatever way it is, it can only be this way. This is just a fact. Right now whatever we are feeling or whatever is around us is the only way it can be at this moment; it’s like this; this is the way it is. In that accepting and allowing, you will have a much clearer sense of what to do—whether you can change it or not, whether it needs to be changed. This is a way of working intuitively rather than from ideas about what you think should be. 

 

Source: How do you know when to change things? By Ajahn Sumedho

Authentic Hummus

 

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I just made hummus for the first time! Recently I ordered some tahini after searching for a non-bitter product, and after reading reviews, bought Soom Organic Tahini, and it is great! Now I felt ready to try making hummus.

There are countless recipes out there for hummus, and I’m sure most are very good, but this one at Vegangela got my attention. Angela writes that the secret to silky smooth hummus is peeling the chickpeas first. I would have moved on to the next recipe but then I read how she couched peeling the peas as a Zen, mindful experience, and I’m so down with that approach. Truly, peeling the whole can took me less than 10 minutes, so what’s the big deal?

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When I finished slipping the chickpeas out of their skins, which is easy once you learn how to keep the peeled peas in the bowl and not bouncing around the kitchen, I added the skins to my freezer bag of vegetable scraps destined for my next homemade veggie broth. We’ve been enjoying a lot of fresh vegetables this summer, from our garden as well as farmers markets and the generosity of friends with green thumbs, so it only takes me about three weeks to fill up a gallon bag of veggie scraps to make my broth. To make my broth, I empty the bag into a large soup pot, cover the veggies with water, bring to a boil and simmer for an hour and a half or two, usually with plenty of herbs and peppercorns because I always strain it. I figured the chickpea skins would add some nutrition and flavor to the broth.

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I adapted Vegangela’s Basic Hummus recipe, making a  few additions after my husband and I tasted it:

  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and peeled
  • 3 tbsp Soom Organic tahini
  • 1 small lemon, juiced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp water, plus more if needed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste, for extra umami (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Smoked paprika, olive oil and pinenuts to garnish (optional)

I put everything except the garnish items in the food processor and blended it all on high speed, scraping the sides often until very smooth. After tasting I added more salt, the Bragg’s, and more cumin. Totally yum!

After turning the hummus into a glass bowl and swirling the top, I drizzled it with olive oil, sprinkled on some pinenuts, and dusted it all with smoked paprika.

Voila!

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If you make this awesome hummus, please let me know how yours turns out!

Your Weekly Diversion, Week 32

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Another week has passed since I began this weekly blog, 32 weeks in all so far. What do we know? Plenty, and you can learn all about it on your Apple News feed, Flipboard, Twitter, Facebook, television news, local or national newspaper (paper or digital) or whatever reliable source you prefer. Even late night talk shows often give important information. Please support real journalism, the kind that is well-researched, fact-based, honest, and a crucial pillar of our Democracy. Too many are getting all their news from non-journalistic sources such as extremist websites and blogs. We all deserve to exercise our rights to knowledge and truth.

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“Anger” from Pixar’s “Inside Out”

What do we do when we are forcefully misunderstood, misheard, misattributed, falsely accused, or otherwise blasted with anger by another? A knee-jerk reflex is to hit back in like anger. Oh, yeah? Did not! You’re wrong! What’s the matter with you? So how do we avoid the knee-jerk response? First, consider the context of the comment. Despite our first defensive reaction, we may find a grain or more of truth in what is being hurled at us so angrily. Have we offended the other person? If so, do we need to make amends? It may help to re-explain our position, decision, or perhaps even reshape our plans. Even if the accusations are totally baseless, blasting back angrily solves nothing and only pours more fuel on the bonfire.

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Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher who is believed to have predated both Confucius and the Buddha, offers us four simple rules of personal conduct that can soften the hardest heart if the willingness exists:

  • Reverence for all Life
  • Gentleness
  • Natural Sincerity
  • Supportiveness

Try them, they really work!

The beautiful glass sculptures above are the creations of Artful Ashes, a company taking a tablespoon or so of a loved one’s ashes (human or animal) and incorporating them into small works of art. I stumbled on this on Pinterest and was surprised at how lovely they are. The white swirl is created by the ashes, and on the website they explain how carefully they track your sample to make sure the one you get contains the ashes you sent in.

I’ve been waiting for just the right week to end my post with this poignant tune by Paul McCartney. I bought the album “Memory Almost Full” years ago but had forgotten this song until I heard it recently when the Phillies honored the members of the team who have passed since their last Alumni Day. It really touched me.

Namasté

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Your Weekly Diversion, Week 31

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Photo courtesy For Arts Sake Boutique

Week 31. Just when you don’t think things can’t get worse, all hell breaks loose and people die. Then the spin machine wobbles, spitting out more crazy, and causing many to scratch their heads nearly bald. As a Buddhist, I was asked recently by a reader of this blog if I hate the president. I’ve been taught, as you probably have, to hate bad actions but not the actor. I said no, but sometimes I know I say that I do, so troubled am I by his demeanor, utterances, actions and incitement to anger and violence. It’s a process.

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Sign available from Rustic Decorating

What should we do with our negative emotions felt towards other beings, especially public figures who seem to be sending our civilization and the world hurtling toward mutually assured destruction? I practice Metta meditation daily, and sometimes, not as often as I wish, I remember to send it toward Washington. I also have used the 12-Step practice of praying for those towards whom I feel resentment for two weeks, three if necessary, until the resentment eases. I offer thanks to the person who reminded me through that question that I have a spiritual obligation to exercise the practices I know. Both Tricycle magazine and Lion’s Roar have run features in the past eight months offering Buddhist perspectives on this very dilemma.

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So, first distraction right here! Do you know your Ayurvedic mind type? Check this out to learn more.

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Graphic courtesy of Devon Hosford

Organic or not? Fooducate explains that for the most part, organic is better.

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Gif from thund3rbolt at imgur.com

Smiles are very good for you. They’re great to see and great to get, and wonderful to give. Some say smiling is healing. Here’s an exercise from Karl Duffy that really works.

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Photo from stoffy/Reddit

Animals provide wonderful examples of joy in action. Portraits of dogs at the beach illustrate my point. And this video of a bunch of dogs, and a cat, enjoying a swim is exhilarating to see, and “Happy” by Pharrell makes the perfect sound track!

 

Namasté

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Grain of The Past

This poem and powerful image certainly speak to my feelings about these dangerous times. Thank to Na’ama Yehuda for taking the time to share them.

Na'ama Yehuda

Poland OAsifPhoto: O. Asif

May the grain of the past

Tell the story.

May history speak

Of the truth

That must

Never be buried

Like heads in the sand,

Or in hesitant voices

That won’t take a stand.

May the stain of the past

Be the guide to these times

So no alleged ‘fine men’

Torch-lit hate in the night

Once again propagate

Let return

Evil’s blight.

For The Daily Post

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