I can’t even figure out how to make those links in the previous post come up. Sorry. I am bummed because I collected some rad images. Some work though. Others don’t
-the technically challanged mama
I can’t even figure out how to make those links in the previous post come up. Sorry. I am bummed because I collected some rad images. Some work though. Others don’t
-the technically challanged mama
This isn’t Mia’s Top 10. This is mine and there are only 8. Right now Mia has only a Top 3: The Curious George Soundtrack, AC/DC’s High Voltage, and her friend Adri’s Birthday Mix CD with her finger on track 5 over and over again (Rocking’ Robin). She plays those songs on her little CD player all day long, dancing around on her tippy-toes. So her 3 don’t make the cut in my Top 8. Besides, my list is a dedication to Goddess (the singular indicating that together we are One Big Phat Eclectic Goddess).
These tunes come from those with a womb, and blessed be that womb regardless if they have carried human life, they carry a seed of healing sound. Girls who rock, rock.
1. Sade, Lover’s Rock Sade is as smooth and delicious as cappuccino crème brulee. She is right, honest and true. There is a coastline of perfect iridescence that I want to visit and it’s Sade that brings me there. She gives me love like the goddess Eurzulie does; sensitive, sensual, and laden in bronze.
Dezarie, Gracious Mother Africa I stumbled across D while trying to buy tickets online to the High Sierra Music Festival. Her voice streamed out of some feed from the website and my still hips and proud shoulders started to loosen and move. She has been blessed with radical and divine communication. Her fire desire is to speak to the people about injustices and poverty and equal rights for I and I, all of us, One. Larger than life her presence is queeny for sure. She shares the power of Brigit, a poet and healer not swayed by any others.
X, Beyond and Back, The X Anthology. Xene. Hot. Raw. Bold. Roots. Rock. A total duality. Because she is so hardcore, her poetic and Los Angeles rootsy side might get overlooked. I see a deep and hard chick who has rad hair and a real body. And I also hear this punk lunge into real root music. The guitarist is more than fine and da drums ain’t joking. Xene takes twists and turns and metal’s edge meets punk-pop styly. She takes you down a soft and stretchy road and then slams you against a brick wall. And we all need to get slammed once in awhile. She is like Atlantia, Goddess of the unexpected musical slam bam and give thanks to the wo-man.
Mia Doi Todd, Manzanita I’ll never forget the night Mia came up to me at Dub Club, a weekly club that our sound system was resident at for a while. She is slight with a bright aura. A pixie crossed with a faerie crossed with a cat. Black eyes that I swore I saw an angel swimming in. She handed me a flyer. It was a vibrant shot of a field of wildflowers with a skyline growing in the distance. It was taken somewhere smack downtown Los Angeles. It had her name across it. “I just put out my first record.” She proceeded to tell me about a show she was doing in that spot the following week. Not long after that night if you hadn’t heard of Mia Doi Todd then what the heck were you listening to? A KCRW sweetie pie and the girlfriend of Saul Williams. She is both haunting and sugary sweet. Like Aphrodite, with her guitar in arms, she is crystalline adoration and affection.
5.Erykah Badu, Baduizm Once when we landed at LAX, I think we may have been coming from NY or something, I saw Ms. Badu. We were standing at baggage claim and I felt this slivery moon-like presence around me. A grand matriarch presence that made me feel real safe. I couldn’t figure it out but I knew a soul sister, a sage, a spirit from the center of a musical hum was near. Sure enough, my eyes searched around the space and quietly, in a corner, against a wall, stood Empress Badu. She had an acoustic guitar, caseless, in her hand. Her head was shaved bald and her arms displayed magical artwork. I watched as a fan approached her and she dealt with him in such a kind and sensitive way. Like her music. Soft, sweet, polite, and sexy. And though she is a radical, a warrior birthing goddess, she is also Eurzulie, sensitive. So sensitive. Her music reveals that vulnerable side. Her message massages with gentle beats and riffs.
Naomi and the Curteous Rudeboys The partner of an old friend of mine, Naomi mixes Edie Brickell and India.Irie and her own amazing coastal meets mountain quality of sounds from the roots up. She is high and flying and pixie-like with the grounding of drummy and bassie. She is Ella, The Forest Queen of All Faes. She makes me happy. Silly. Smart. She makes me think. She is everything but Bling and I love it. Good music to play hard to. Wear combat boots to. Wrap up your hair to and just get dirty in the garden with.
Joan Jett And The Blackhearts Need I say more than this? I love Rock n Roll. This goddess is the essense of earth and air and aura. She is golden as gold and dark as black and I love her. I wanna be her. She makes me want to jump all day long. Leather. I want leather. I want to wear leather and save the world with Joan Jett singing in my background. Durga. Joan is Durga. Her voice destroys all evil at the door my mind’s door.
8.Sister Nancy Okay, this is a single that has been in my life for a long time. I pull out this vinyl and put the needle on the groove of the song Bam Bam by the Queen Sister Nancy whenever I need divine inspiration. I suggest that everyone who loves to dance and loves powerful, big hearted, mama goddess booty-lishious-shakin-skankin, go to wherever it is you high-tech types go and download this tune. I named a business of mine after a line in her song (From Creation). I gotta share the powerful message of this song…here are some of the lyrics LOOSELY from Patios:
I say one thing Nancy can’t understand One thing Nancy can’t understand What makes them a talk bout mi ambition Say what make them a talk bout mi ambition Some of the they ask me where me get it from Some of them they ask me where me get it from I tell them no no It’s from Creation I tell them no no It’s from Creation. bam bam, ey, what a bam bam, bam bam dilla, bam bam bam bam dilla, bam bam
What faith. What faith. She get’s her ambition from Creation, it’s not just about her, but about all that surrounds her: It is the beauty and inspiration of all creation that keeps her singing. Nancy is her own Goddess. Her own Goddess.
We all are.
Tonight was like most nights. I was getting my second wind while making dinner, one of the few things I don’t botch: vegetable quiche with whole wheat crust. Bill played with the girls while I kneaded the dough and chopped the veggies and while the egg pies baked, I got to steal a shower. When it was time to sit and eat, just like every other night Mia played musical chairs and forks and cups and when she finally settled on a spot with all utensils all to her liking, the four of us held hands and got ready to bless the food. Sula immediately started “ooommming” and Mia began to say the blessing:
Blessings on the blossoms Blessings on the fruit Blessings on the leaves and stems….
And then she stopped before saying the last 2 lines. Mama? Dada? Let’s say the one I learn in school!
School? A prayer?
Mia goes to a 2x a week. 2 days a month each parent stays in class. I have not had a chance to co-op yet because two of the mama’s of kids in the class are very pregnant and asked to fill up on their days so after the baby comes they can take a couple months off. My first day will be next week. I usually stay for 15 minutes when I drop her off and come 15 minutes early to watch inside her classroom from the window. So she is there 2 hours with out me. The short time she is there, the walking distance from my house to this school, the cooperative aspect , the price and the fact that I waited to long to get her in anywhere else pushed me to make a decision that The United Methodist Pre-School Cooperative would be just fine. Yup. United Methodist. But here is the thing. I swear somebody somewhere while talking to someone, like the administrator of the school, had told me it is not affiliated with the church. Hearing that and being the person I am which is naïve I figured it was a safe call. I mean, if they say the church and the school aren’t affiliated than how much dogma can bleed over? In hindsight, I think I was feeling desperate and I chose not to go there. Okay, love. What is the blessing you learned?
Bill and I shot each other looks and Mia proceeded.
God is Grace (she meant Great), God is One (I know she meant to say Good but interesting that she chose to hear One). Let us thank Him for our food. Amen. We don’t say Aauuuuuuuumen like at home. Just amen. Like that. Amen. Can you say it like that, too, mama? Amen? Okay. I look at Bill. He looks at me like ‘just forget it until later”.
Amen, we all say
I tell her that’s a very nice blessing and thanked her for sharing it with us. But inside I was struggling. Someone else taught my child a prayer? Someone else made her say that God was a He and that we needed to thank Him for our food? That is a specific belief system. And well, let’s face it, I don’t have a belief “system”.
I have no problem with God. People tried to get me to connect with the Big Guy upstairs my whole life. Except not until I was introduced to a concept broader than a white man in the sky, I never got it. I did finally connected to My god. Which isn’t actually God at all. At least not one I pray to, or one I believe to be outside myself. And myself certainly isn’t a he.
If I feel the need to speak of what seems to be unspeakable, I guess I call it The Source, or The Divine, or The Universe, or sometimes I say Spirit. Or Love.
But the only way I can describe what I truly believe, in what I feel comfortable teaching my daughter isn’t a History or a Scripture, stories about Messiahs or Sins or Being Saved or asking for Atonement. I won’t define her life as a fast car ride to get to a Heaven or Hell. And surely there will be no talk of a Satan. All of the above confused me to no end as a child. All of the above scared me. All of the above taught me to feel guilt, to be judgmental, and to feel segregated to humanity as a whole. Al of the above I can’t speak of because I know none of it to be truth. I also don’t know it to be untrue. So the only way I can describe it is that it’s a mystery.
I come from an Old School kind of Catholic family: first we were Catholic then we were Italian. There was no Bible reading or Born Again business. There were no real political affiliations, but since my family were immigrants pre-depression, we were Democrats. My family believed red wine and balsamic vinegar cured all illness and a drawer in every dresser held plastic containers of Holy Water for minor cuts, skin flare-ups, sore throats and even a few cases of mental illness. A few window ledges held saint statues and desktop bulletin boards were scattered with prayer cards of the Blessed Mother for when we needed her son, St. Jude, for when we were depressed and St. Anthony when my mom couldn’t find her car keys. The Mother was the utmost important figure in my families take of Catholicism. I said the rosary with my grandpa every Saturday night for years (guess that explains my futures infatuations with chanting with mala beads). We mother wasn’t so hardcore, being a women with a scientific mind, she never made me believe the host was the actual body of Christ and the wine was indeed alcohol, not blood. My mother never took me to confession, but my aunt made it her job to take me the first Saturday of every month, where I “confessed” the same 3 things each time for years: not listening to my parents, fighting with my brothers and sisters, and maybe sometimes telling a lie. I was a totally generic confessor.
When I was about 12 years old I gave my Catholic family a bit of a scare. I went to a summer camp up at the lake near my house. Mission Meadows with affiliated with a Covenant Church. I begged my mom because I knew a few cute boys and nice girls from school that were going. She finally complied. I knew she wondered about the church, Catholics don’t tend to farm out their youth on other denominations, like every other religion, their system of beliefs is “correct”. But I think she had faith in me and her mothering to that point(I wasn’t yet a teenager). I remember her saying to my aunt that there were worse things she could beg for than church camp. Come to find out it was Evangelical Covenant. Charismatic. What I think thought was watered down religion ended up being a salvation roller-derby. I came home from camp that year a Born Again. I accepted Jesus into my heart on a warm upstate NY summer night. My cabin-mate yelled out in praise as she saw Jesus walking on the watery ripples of the lake we were in front of.
Praise Jesus! Do you see him? Can you all see him? Praise Jesus!
Yes! I can see him, too! Amen! I somehow didn’t think I sounded as convincing.
Of course I couldn’t see Jesus. I saw nothing. But she so believed and was so convinced He was walking towards her. I felt something, with all that faith, so I joined them. I was excited about the possiblities! I opened my heart to the Lord.
My family was hardly impressed or accepting of my new-found faith. I carried a bible everywhere. I tried to save my parents and my college-aged sisters with 1 John 3:16. First they were humored and then they were downright annoyed. Then my sisters started having fun wth me, making devil horns over me and calling me a freak. My family was not religious. We were Catholic. We believed in hocus- pocus more than salvation. The color red on the door warned off the maloccia or evil. Brown clothe around the neck clothe would send you first class and straight to heaven when you died. After you said something that was not positive or was a ‘god forbid’ type thing, we always, always made the sign of the cross. We worshiped saints. We lit candles. We did not sing and dance and sway and yelp about Jesus Being The Rock Who Rolls My Blues Away.
I was a born again for about 3 years. I swore that my life did changed once I accepted Jesus in my heart. The higher energy faith and power that just didn’t exist in my upbringing, gave me a little push somewhere, though I can’t say where. Although, the teaching that I would go to heaven but my family and friends wouldn’t unless they were save, was stressful and no kid should have to think about that bullshit. And soon after giving up my family and being tired of 6am before school Bible study, I uninvited Jesus in my heart, though according to the camp’s dogma, once He was in, He would never leave. I am pretty certain, that keg parties in the woods, and the sex and the pot pretty much evicted him.
After that I became Atheist. I studied Nietzsch and Kierkegaard. I philosophized. God was dead. Old news. There was nothing but a birth and a death. That’s it. Nothing else. Bang! We’re here. Bang! We’re gone. That’s it. Like a perverse science experiment. Being an atheist was nice because there was nothing I was suppose to behave for, nothing I was suppose to say or feel or believe. I was off the hook. I felt relieved. I began debaucheries.
Then I fell upon the scientific system of yoga. The Mystery started to reveal itself to me slowly, one breath at a time after that first class I stumbled upon in the snowy mountains of Idaho. The teacher had us make a triangle-shape with the pointer fingers and thumbs of both our hands and place it against our third eye, then against our mouth and then our heart. Pure of thought, pure of speech, pure of heart. I liked the sound of that, it was a new language connected to nothing but me. I liked putting myself in the shape of a triangle and using my own breath as the breeze through me, empowering my every fiber, every joint, muscles, my organs, my thoughts. One stretch deeper and one step closer to opening my heart to myself. As I started literally cleaning out my body, a body full of dogma, guilt, limitations, anger, Jim Beam and Cokes, Marlboro Reds, and self-loathing, I opened new rooms, a few more glands, pathways. I worked with color and visuals and sound. I had some hope. This was fun and it made me feel really, really good. Too good. I had to look nowhere but inside myself for this bliss. What a concept.
Then I got into Earth and Goddess Spirituality. The candle lighting and herbs and the rituals and the sensuality of connecting with the core of the planet, the fiber of a leave, the cell of a flower, the spirit of tree. Wandering lost around the soft carpet of forest, sitting naked on hot rocks at Mexican beaches, lighting candles under oak grooves, bleeding into the earth while my body held the language of the moon, making love inside caves at Joshua Tree, offering up gems to the sea. All these were the only churches I would ever attend. The mysticism was similar and it resonated with what I loved about Catholicism; ritual, fire, smell, sound, repetition, an emphasis on The Mother. Earth-Based spirituality offered me stories on all fragments of my psyche and soul: Brigit The Healer and Poet, Hecate the Midwife, Gaia, The Earth Mother, Diana the Moon. It taught me that the here and now and the dirt under my feet are all such blessed Mysteries. It is all there is right now to love and celebrate and take care of. Heaven is only a potential. Potential is a mere idea a hopeful thought, not a reality.
I studied a bit of Hinduism: slightly too much like a normal religion. Then some Tao, but I’m not simple enough and I spent awhile sitting in zazen, not thinking about Zen, but I certainly wasn’t clever enough for all that, althoughBeginners Mind is what I will always strive for.
And for years I got some grounding with the Rastafarians. Their philosophy of I and I (there is no you, or me or us, there is only I and I and that is not two but one) is one of the only dogmas I have been able to keep and pass one. And the belief in filling the body with ital food (what we would probably called whole and organic and home cooked and vibrant) has always been something I admire, respect, and try very hard to follow.
When I gave birth is when it all came together. To trust birth is to trust life, to trust life is to truly love and to trust love is to feel The Mystery like an age old storm. I opened up completely through Love for the first time when I birthed. For real. All the teachings and paths and faiths crossed and made a perfect circle right in the middle. And in that middle spot, perfectly still and humming and balanced…that is where life source dwells for me. I can go there because I am there. When I don’t feel it, it’s because I have wandered from it, learning about life in my own way. I don’t think it ever leaves me know. Each day that I look at my kids I am reminded by who they were and how they came and how they are as they stand in front of me. And that brings me back to that spot. I am so grateful for birth giving me what it did when i truly least expected it to. I finally understood that what I am and what I can do and where I can take myself is what that Mystery is. The Source. The Universe. Me.
Like the most delicious bread of life, I took a pinch of this and a spoon of that and shake of something else. The I have no religion. I would never describe myself as a firm believer in anything. But there is something in everything, a common thread, silvery and pure among a very old and outdated quilt. I believe in the mystery of all—- this beauty and pain. In the random acts of coincidence that occur in my life, in the connections I make with people and nature, in the unknown spiral of birth and death and this small speck of fleshy life we are in right now, right here. It’s like the words I heard over and over at those Saturday evening Novenas with my grandpa: the glorious mystery, the sorrowful mystery. Do I know where I come from? No. Do I know where I am going? No. Do I feel emotionally attached to that lack of knowledge? Sometimes, but I try not to. I do try to always feel that blessed, sparkly, sensual, and for me, fiery presence within me and around me. It’s the mystery. The mystery is me. And my kids. And all of you.
The prayer Mia said tonight is non-offensive and fine. I personally don’t associate God with a gender and the Him part of bothers me a bit, but that’s me. Not her. And I want her to be exposed to all positive forms of worship and faith. She has the right to choose her own path. My own childhood stint with my born-again Christianity did no harm. I may have really annoyed and offended those around me and I may have over-looked hypocrisy that I can see clearly now, but that short time where Jesus Was My Savior only made me a happier, more excitable person. It taught me faith. It wasn’t faith in something I could further on my own path, but it taught me to explore what else there could be. Being Catholic didn’t create totally irreparable damages. I work on the guilt and the sex stuff and female oppression business daily. But the rituals and the smells and the food and the faith in a Mother Goddess and all things magical are things I will keep. I am still an atheist, in my own way. I hold tight to questioning all and everything and coming up with nothing much. I will always be a yogi and a witch. I am forever a temple dancing goddess. But these are not religions. It’s art and life. And I got to experience it all. Ican never stop my children from fulfilling their spiritual calling through denial and inexperience. They must seek and find and stumble into just as I have. Even if Mia decided to become a charismatic evangelical Christian saving souls and on the look out for Satan on every corner, then that will be her choice. I won’t blame the prayer she learned at three. Because I know nothing (thank you, Zen) and I can’t do anything besides live like all is a Mystery and act as if that Mystery stems from Love, Pure Love.
Writing this has been good to let go of my judgments on that little prayer. There really is no right or wrong. There just is. There just is. If we feel it, then it is ours, yours. I and I. So who cares if my daughter says a prayer in school. Maybe when I go in to do my co-op day and it’s snack time, I will teach them our version of blessing food. Bringing in light from the Universe and filling our hands with it and gently sending it through to our food, filling it’s substance up with healing nourishment and energy. Maybe I will even say something about how Love really is the only thing we need.
Okay all you Believers in what some call New Age but is really Age Old. Here is something I was given by a soul sister. Try to wrap your magenta/blue hued thoughts around it. Maybe pass it on. Who knows what’s ‘real’ or not but I personally believe in power in numbers to manifest change, especially in collective thought. Me alone chanting or meditating or practicing yoga= pretty good. A room full of people chanting or meditating or practicing yoga=chill producing and visual enhancing and deep soul awakening. Maybe the pulse beam is actually I n I if we choose to create One collective concentration. So if we try it then perhaps it becomes real. If we don’t, we’ll never know.
Dear Mission 1017, A Cosmic Trigger Event will occur on the 17th of October 2006. This is the beginning, one of many trigger events to come between now and 2013. An ultraviolet (UV) pulse beam radiating from higher dimensions in universe-2 will cross paths with the Earth on this day. Earth will remain approximately within this UV beam for 17 hours of your time. This beam resonates with the heart chakra, it is radiant fluorescent in nature, blue/magenta in color. Although it resonates in this frequency band, it is above the color frequency spectrum of your universe-1 which you, Earth articulate in. However due to the nature of your soul and soul groups operating from Universe-2 frequency bands it will have an effect. The effect is every thought and emotion will be amplified intensely one million-fold. Yes, we will repeat, all will be amplified one millions time and more. Every thought, every emotion, every intent, every will, no matter if it is good, bad, ill, positive, negative, will be amplified one million times in strength. What does this mean? Since all matter manifest is due to your thoughts, i.e. what you focus on, this beam will accelerate these thoughts and solidify them at an accelerated rate making them manifest a million times faster than they normally would. For those that do not comprehend, your thoughts, what you focus on, create your reality. This UV beam thus can be a dangerous tool. For if you are focused on thoughts which are negative to your liking they will manifest into your reality almost instantly. Then again this UV beam can be a gift if you choose it to be. Mission-1017 requires approximately one million people to focus on positive, benign, good willed thoughts for themselves and the Earth and Humanity on this day. Your thoughts can be of any nature of your choosing, but remember whatever you focus on will be made manifest in a relatively faster than anticipated time frame. To some the occurrences may almost be bordering on the miraculous. All we ask is that positive thoughts of love, prosperity, healing, wealth, kindness, gratitude be focused on. This UV beam comes into full affect for 17hrs on the 17th of October 2006. No matter what time zone you are in the hours are approximately 10:17am on the 17th of October to 1:17am on the 18th of October. The peak time will be 17:10 (5:10pm) on the 17th of October. You do not need to be in a meditative state throughout this time, though that would be beneficial. The main key time no matter what time zone you are in will be the peak time of 17:10 (5:10 pm). Perhaps at this time if you can find a peaceful spot or location to focus. The optimum is out in the vicinity of grounded nature, likened to that of a large tree or next to the ocean waves. Focus on whatever it is you desire. What is required for the benefit of all Earth and HUmanity is positive thoughts of loving nature. We call this UV beam trigger event, “818″ gateway. Please forward this message to as many people as you know who will use this cosmic trigger event to focus positive, good willed thoughts We require approximately 1-million people across globe to actively participate in this event, 1-million plus people at the least to trigger a shift for humanity from separation and fragmentation to one of unification and oneness. Please use whatever communication mediums you have at your disposal. Reach out to as many people as possible. This is your opportunity to take back what is rightfully yours, i.e. Peace and Prosperity for all Earth and Mankind. This is a gift, a life line from your universe so to speak, an answer to your prayers. What you do with it and whether or not you choose to participate is your choice.
if the direct link doesn’t work maybe try just cutting and pasting. sorry. we’re technically challanged over here.
(this mama blog post really shed some light for me on a tragic, tragic awful, horrible thing.
The following is a post I wrote back in the beginning of May. I never felt like it was really finished. But after reading my meremortal friends intelligentle piece I knew it was time to post it, regardless of the turns of events and choices I have made in my life. After reading Leigh’s writing and re-reading this post (which was orginally titled: Almost A Veg) I knew I had to make another choice. Again.
I have become an almost vegetarian. ( I’m not gonna give up sushi. Period. ) My daughter Mia has also become a vegetarian. Last week I woke up and told her from now on we don’t eat meat. That once in a while when our bodies need it, we will eat certain kinds of wild fish.
No more bacon, ,mama?
I love bacon, mama.
I know, Rosie. But we don’t want to eat a pig anymore.
Okay, mama. Why don’t we want to eat a pig?
Because it’s not nice. The pig gets cut and they are not honored in death.
And that was that.
I’ve made this decision not because I am convinced we as humans should not consume the meat of other living animals. As a matter of fact, I think meat is a wonderful protein choice but only if an animal is honored in the hunt and there is no waste in the kill. At that point I tend to feel that the animal and the human have lived it’s karma. But about 99% of the meat we consume is what I all baaaaaad karma meat. Besides the karma factor, the meat is mostly a corn by-product and the industrialization of the corn-meat-fossil fuel connection has sickened me to the degree that I have been forced to dropped meat from my plate (and this is hard because I like the taste of a juicy BBQ pork tenderloin). Unless I find a local farmer who is TRULY grass-feeding and slow grazing cattle and chicken, and/or my husband goes out to the hunt himself, my mouth is shut to the stuff.
Although it’s been expensive, and at times has been a drain to our pathetically humble bank account, the only meat (or dairy, especially dairy) that has even entered my house in the past 4 years has been certified organic and if I can’t find organic than it must be labeled “free-range” or “natural”. For a long time that made me feel better about feeding my family meat. Most of the meat I bought was produced from a place called Harris Ranch which is owned by the Sunflower Market chain…the market I frequent the most. In my heart of hearts I often questioned where this meat was coming from, but never really found the answers I wanted from the people behind the meat counter. Sunflower claims their farm animals are given no hormones or pesticides, but after research I found their cows are all fattened up with Midwestern corn. Cows eat grass naturally, they graze on greens; the fresh and lovely greens growing from nutrient rich soil, even the weeds and wild herbs that grow naturally are giving the cows life force and health and vibrancy which in turn makes good meat. Although Harris ranch claims their cows are all in the highest quality ‘feed lots’ I could not get in contact with anyone who would send me an actual a photo of those cows and those feedlots. Harris Ranch cows also end up behind the meat counter at mainstream grocery stores such as Ralph’s, Vons, Safeway, Costco, Albertson’s and Food For Less. So all this time I thought that Sunflower Market was a special place with special meat and although I do believe in most of their products and I appreciate they keep their organic items at a lower rate than most places, their meat just ain’t up to par unless you like eating 50% corn with your flesh. If you don’t live in the southwest or Colorado where the small chain exists, Sunflower has a local-owned feel and farmer’s market type ambience and I don’t want to bash them because they are a much better grocery than most, but in reality they have they same meat as some of the biggest grocery chains in the West.
I began really questioning where my food came from and how it got to my plate after reading an article in Mother Earth News by Barbara Kingsolver entitled Lily’s Chickens . Her article questions the amount of energy and fuel wasted in the productions and the transportation of foods…organic or not. And how good these foods are for us and our local/global community at large. Do you have any idea how much energy is used to package and ship those only half-way decent strawberries from across the country? Or that organic asparagus from Argentina? Apparently it’s a whole lot more than the price of gas you use to get to the market to buy them. I read this article right after I birthed Sula and looking down at this new little life and thinking that what I fed me feeds her and I decided that I needed to find a local farm who could provide me with some meat, eggs, goats milk and vegetables. How hard could it be? I found what seemed to be the most productive independent family farm in the rural Phoenix area, about a 40 minute drive from my house. What I was going to use in gas (it was significantly less than what it takes to package my green beans from Mexico) seemed worth the quality and locality of the food. The unfortunate thing was The Little Farm In Gilbert had little vegetables to harvest, no meat for sale and no goats for milk and cheese. They did have tons of fresh eggs and the potential for some beef a couple years down the road. But it was hardly worth the drive for the eggs. The more research I did the more I found out I couldn’t find any locally raised meat from small farms, hormone and corn free. So I gave up. Sort of. I grew some veggies in my own garden. I headed to the very small farmers markets in Phoenix and got some more produce. Got my bread from a local source and tried to find everything else that was grown/cultivated and packaged in surrounding states. And continued to eat meat (and fed my daughter the same meat) from the store, blessing it and giving thanks to the animal that gave it’s life for us to eat and hoping that it had some goodness left in it.
Last week I began reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the new book by Michael Pollen. It was a reminder to me that my desires to change my diet should be urgently put into action. It reminded me that food is utterly and absolutely political and my choices in eating are just as my choices in voting. If I keep eating meat from anywhere other than my local farmer whose life is growing grasses and guiding animals to eat it or from our own hunting then I am supporting a machine that I no longer want in charge of my public life. It sounds drastic, I know, but each time we eat a piece of meat that comes from a farm (organic or not) we are using more fossil fuel than when we take a week long road-trip in a car. The energy it takes to create and process the feed (corn), ship the corn, distribute the corn to the cattle, slaughter and kill the cattle, process the beef, package the beef, and ship the beef off to the store…is feeding an industry: an industry that keeps us fixin’ for oil.
According to Pollen it all boils down to the kernal of corn. A close cousin of maize, corn is known as sacred and divine to Native American, but in our present day culture, it is a crop that keeps this nation of greed and gluttony running. We have become dependent on these little niblets. Our body is now used to massive amounts of it. We eat in our beef and chicken, we eat in almost every processed food you can name in the form of modified corn starch, corn oil or corn syrup. Check out the labels, you’ll be shock at how many foods have corn something or other in the first 3 ingredients. Our government subsidizes the farming industry to keep growing this cheap from of energy that reaches or plates in forms of animal fat, surgar and starch. Corn is making the cows nice and fat so that they can be a good commodity and slaughtered close to 4 years younger than if they were grass-fed. Corn is also making us obese. While we are warned that are children are fatter than ever before, living on less than whole foods; one fast-food meal of chicken nuggets (chickens fed with corn, breaded in corn meal and deep friend in corn oil, fries flavored with High Fructose Corn Syrup -HFCS-, and fried in corn oil and a soda which is comprised mostly of HFCS. We are talking about ½ pound of corn used for one fast-food meal. That same meal needs the equivalent of 1.3 gallons of oil to be produced. T government signs bills designed to keep the river of corn flowing into the mouths of cattle and anything else it can possible make. Corn is money.
Pollen also brings the industrial organic food chain to the discussion. Although we all know that foods laden with pesticides are not good for us, are all organic foods are so much better for our community? Are those Venezulan organic blueberries from Whole Foods any better than the local farm that might be across town that might use some minor pesticides? While shipping the blueberries over, they were exposed to numerous gasses and pretty much bathed in environmental pollutants. Not to mention the amount of oil used to get them here. The non-organic berries may or may not have pesticides and they grown locally. Which choice is better for the family and the community at large? This is a question I must start asking myself.
Pollen visits an organic chicken farm in Petaluma, CA. Rosie’s Chickens. Many a night my family and I have enjoyed Rosie’s chicken wings, which we’ve coated in extra virgin olive oil, salt and fresh-cracked pepper and maybe even a little sprinkler of chili powder or cumin and broiled until gooey and crispy. Chicken Wings priced at 8 bucks a pound and named Rosie’s better be good karma meat, right? They claim their Rosie’s are free-range and cage-free. Pollen visited Rosie’s farm and in his eyes the bottom line was that those birds were crammed in a coup, feather to feather with no room to move. At 2 weeks of age a little open window to the outside world is offered to these petrified chickens whose life until that point has been in a dark, crammed coup, not knowing what is up or down and pecking at each other to find food. No chicken dares to venture out into the scary world once they are offered the open window. Who can blame them? These little chickens are NOT clucking through the grass, happily and joyfully until they are fat and ready to made into nurishment for us. Instead, they are treated closely like any other industrial chicken farm. Stuffed in a feces filled corridor with no room to breath. Granted, they don’t have hormones injected into them and their corn-meal is not treated with pesticides. I think that this does make the Rosie’s of the world better chickens to eat. But reading the literature Whole Foods gives out regarding Rosie’s Chickesn, you might be misguided into thinking your poultry comes from a little chicken utopia, where your Rosie lives a sweet and free life until she is ritualistically killed for food. Not the case. Between Rosie’s Organic chicken and the non-organic, truly free-range, grass and vegetable fed chicken farm that may be 1/2 hour away from your home, go with the later. Organic means something. But not enough. We are at a point were we need to understand food beyond organic. We need to look at the system as a whole. By importing fish, meats and produce from lands far away, organic or not, we are contributing to a Factory Farming Machine. By supporting a meat and processed food industry that has relies on factory farmed, heavily sprayed corn and corn-based ingredients, we are not only supporting the Factory Farm Machine, we are supporting the Military Industrial Complex which depends on War which depends on our addiction of fossil fuels.
I know it is not easy. To take the time to re-evaluate and re-organize your families eating style, to find pure food products. To grow your own food. It’s a challenge, a human challenge. It’s kind of a test to us living her on Earth which provides us with an abundance of good things if only we can find the right tools and path to garner them. But somewhere there is a way we can go back to feeding ourselves and our children for health and energy and goodness. Somewhere there must be a way to find foods that connect us with the deep, dark nourishing soils filled with the essence to preserve our planet and avoid extinction. There is away to bind and connect us to an honorable way utilize the chains of life. I still have not found it and I by no means eat or live the way I dream to eat or live. But I can keep dreaming and taking these little steps to actualize.
If anyone has resources or advice, I am all ears.
Over a month of eating nothing besides a piece of fish a week and we feel great. My husband still had not made the cross-over but while we are here in Ojai he promises to leap into pesca-a-tarianism. It’s too confusing for Mia to see him eat meat while we don’t. I feel so much better about the choices in protein I make: lentils, beans, quinoa, tofu, nuts eggs and oils. Just today Mia says to me:
Mama remember the pig?
The pig that got cut and then he was bacon? I don’t eat animals mama. That’s just mean.
4 months later.
We have failed. When we were in NY at my parents place we broke down and gnawed on flesh. There were days I just did not have it in me to fight for my right to cook something else. My mother is queen of her kitchen, it is her one source of control and to be able to make a meal in their she either has to be sleeping or gone. Since she never sleeps, just “rests her eyes” and she is rarely gone for long since the town is quite small, I did little cooking.
After reading my Leigh’s piece about how satisfying and joyful her experience has been being meat-free I am inspired, ashamed, excited, motivated, guilty; all things that mean action will be taken. Starting right now, today, I no longer eat meat.
I no longer eat meat until there is a better way.
No Hiding It.
There are just some things you can’t get away from anymore when you have a 3 year old in tow. Basically I have a walking, talking, observation machine just ready to innocently throw me under the bus at any given moment.
Last week at the market, Mia was being shy in her tutu and blue suede boots and handmade copper tiara atop one crazy bedhead. As she often does when someone is ohhing-and-ahhing over her cuteness and extreme fashion sense, she holds my leg, sways back and forth, looking up at them with her big doe eyes and…picks her nose.
in “Mia, take your finger out of your nose, sweetie. Do you need a tissue?”
“No mama. My finger’s good.”
Of course her fans in line thought that was just too endearing.
“Mia, it’s kinda germy to pick your nose.” I was going to just drop it after I said that and let her pick. Because lets face it, I don’t care if she picks her nose. Because of deep rooted issues I have with people judging me, I felt it sort of my public responsibility to “parent” her in front of a whole line of people watching her.
“But mama, you pick your nose in the car! Remember it was bloody because it’s so dry in the desert? You don’t eat it, though, mama. Right mama? You don‘t eat it.” She did not whisper this. Oh no. Loud. And clear. Everyone heard. Everyone. I had to say something, right? I didn’t. I just busted out laughing because it’s true. I pick my nose in the car. And no, I don’t eat it. And yes, it is dry in the desert and perhaps there have been some inflamed tissues that caused bleeding.
Then today we were at our town’s Center For The Arts building using the public restroom. We had been hanging out at the annual Green Building Expo that took place on the grounds. Mia and I go into a small stall together. The bathroom was busy, full of people attending the Expo. She goes pee first. Then I go.
“Mama, where’s your underwear?”
She says this loudly.
“It’s right under my skirt.”
“Where? Here? She lifts of the little fluffy bit skirt and looks. No it’s not. Where is it?”
Has the child not realized in her 3 years of being attached at my hip that I only own like 5 pair of underwear that rarely ever get used (I stopped wearing underwear when I was pregnant with her in fact, taking the advice of the midwifes. They swore to me that my health would improve if I let my yoni breethe…especially in skirts)?
She demands: WHERE IS IT?
There were people in stalls on either side of me, people I knew (perhaps they are even reading this:-)
And then just as loudly, with the biggest, cutest, most curious grin, “Why ssssshhhhhssshhhhh?”
I convinced her not to worry about it and started talking about the big green Gecko named Eco, the Gecko that was the Expo’s mascot. We were all flushed and leaving the stall and she loudly stated as if I didn’t know and other’s needed to know:
“Mama. You don’t have any underwear on.”
Fine. I don’t.
And then there was the day last week outside our local coffee place where I was filling my low tank with my daily shot of espresso and a dollop of foam.
We were leaving the establishment and outside there was a sweet little dog, not sure of the breed, looked like a mini-Lassie, hanging out in the shade of a table. It’s owner looked pretty cool, older Scottsdale new-agey type reading a book on astrology and auras. He was soft spoken and more than willing to share some time so Mia could pet his dog and chat with him about it.
“Is your dog a boy or a girl?”
“A girl. Her name is Sadie.”
Mia gets down and gives Sadie some good loving.
“I have two dogs. One is Naana, one is Thunder. Naana is a girl, she has a yoni. Thunder is a boy, he has a penis.”
She didn’t say this fast because she’s 3, but as soon as she “she has” I knew what was coming. But whatever. We all have sacred parts, right?
“And I have a yoni and mama has a yoni but dada has a penis. His penis is soooooo silly. Right mama, it’s silly. And it’s got some hair.”
And then she asks him,
“And you are a boy? And you have a penis?”
Well, there has to be a time in life where moments of utter discomfort teaches us things like why we are suppose to wear clothes (Uh, why is it again? I forget). Mia knew she said something that is ‘taboo’ (according to whom, i am not sure) talk in public with strangers. I think she may have come to the understanding by sensing the energy shift when the man answered her in a slightly different tone then the rest of the conversation had been spoken in. I am sure she felt my tension rise and got that yoni’s and penis’s aren’t small talk topics. Though interesting topics, “others” may considered inappropriate for a three year old to be describing these types of things. And see, would you look at that? I couldn’t even write down what I was thinking, I wrote “things” but was thinking “penis”. There is something about even me writing about this that makes me feel…bad…squeamish…silly…naughty. I know there is nothing wrong with it. She sees her father naked at least 5 times a week when she eagerly waits for him to get out of the shower after his workday so they can play. We talk about body parts freely at home. I teach her they are sacred. But now she’ll notice that the her world hides behind clothes.