I’m a lucky duck as I have joined the Patreon account of 88 Cups of Tea. The creative director, Yin Chang, hosts write-in sessions called “Tea Time with Yin” and I’m in one right now! In case you’re a new reader, Yin Chang is the host of the podcast 88 Cups of Tea. She brings a level of enthusiasm and curiosity to interviews with writers of diverse backgrounds and genres and always leaves me with so much inspiration! It’s like having a portable M.F.A. in my phone 24-7. And the writers in the community are so inspiring, welcoming and full of resources too. I recently learned about Heather Demetrios FREE 30-day Flow Lab and I start that tomorrow. She has a bunch of wonderful free resources available on her site. I also had a geek attack when I stumbled upon this conversation with David Abram in Dr. Sharon Blackie’s This Mythic Life.
I have also been reading, reading, reading. Right now I’m enthralled with Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman. She is the author that made me decide to pursue writing for the rest of my life. It was her book, The Beet Queen, that was the deciding factor for me. She has an ability to create characters who live outside the books. When I read her work, I think about them and I wonder what they’re doing in that moment or what they will do next. That is the absolute magic of her work. I aspire to create that kind of relationship for you with my characters as well. Another book I’m enjoying now is Darius the Great is not Okay by Adib Khorram. There’s an immediate empathy for Darius and his inner journey as well as an actual family journey to Iran that has kept me gripped. I have also completed the Aru Shah series by Roshani Chokshi and the Storm Runner Series by J.C. Cervantes and finished Rebecca Roanhorse’s Race to the Sun —- all wonderful adventures that have taken me through action and Hindu, Mayan and Navajo mythology, respectively.
And please remember the new section of my blog called, “Will You Take My Hand?” It’s chock full of Black Lives Matter-related resources for BIPOC and more.
Lots of folks have been making sourdough (did it), cooking more at home and finding their way through our new normal. I have lots of cooks and bakers that I follow and will save that for another blog post down the road. I have a deep affection for waffles but have never owned a [working] waffle iron until now. My favorite waffle mix is Simple Mills. I add vanilla extract and lemon zest to the batter. The one above got a little crispy and was delicious!
Here’s the lesson in the waffles…they were always this treat that I got outside of the home. (Yes, I know about frozen waffles and they have their own nostalgia for me but they just don’t do the trick.) I borrowed a neighbor’s waffle iron one weekend to see what it felt like to make waffles at home. It was easy and brought me so much joy. AND I watched Scooby-Doo cartoons while eating them on Saturday morning. My husband sat there right with me in his own waffle heaven and said, “Let’s get the same waffle iron right now!” It was a little over $20 and it has brought this “diner brunch” experience into our home. And I can’t wait to try some savory waffle recipes!
When I think about wishes and dreams and embodiment–a.k.a. borrow the waffle maker, see how you feel making them at home–it reminds me of how I have, in small incremental steps, done this sort of thing my whole life. I love the water, the ocean and nature. While living in Chicago–I looked for that sweet weedy flower pushing its way through the concrete. I found time to walk by the Lake and I went to the recreation center to swim. None of these experiences were the full deep immersive hiking and boogie boarding life that I have now. But I wanted this life so badly. And so I created pieces of it with my imagination and with the ingredients available to me. Then I saved, planned, wished and LET GO. There’s a surrender experience to wishing that involves releasing “grasping energy.” The grasping energy keeps you in a tailspin of why you don’t have the job/home/partner/money/peace that you want.
To that end, bringing it back to the waffles, find something small and free that offers you the seed of experiencing what you want. My mentor, Lindsey Pera, calls this the prism process. I had been doing this my whole life, thanks to my imagination and doggedness. It has led to my greatest travel adventures to Spain, France and Italy–mostly for free. My husband really wants to go back to Italy and you can catch him practicing his Italian with free YouTube videos every single day. If you want to learn more about my journey to manifesting magic, you might enjoy my Secrets from the Olive Grove post.
This is me in front of La Torre Rossa in Itri, Italy. The tower dates back to the 13th century and the giant wheel below is part of the olive pressing process–and you can see my book just hanging out there. I’ve been deep in the writing sections in Italy and as a result have been cooking Italian dishes, drying my gorgeous oregano from the garden and drinking a glass or two of Italian wine!
All this manifesting hasn’t been as easy as it may look. Upon reflection, it could have been easier, if I rested in a level of trust and ease. And another element is focus. To that end, you might want to check out this video by Dandapani. He offers free mental health tools on his site as well. I have been using his app for a tiny short daily journal in the evening and at night. I also have enjoyed this loving kindness meditation on Insight Timer by Manoj Dias. This meditation is powerful as it helps you to direct loving kindness to yourself and then to others. If you are hard on yourself, it’s especially helpful in exercising your kindness muscle toward your own precious heart. I also have listened to lots of meditations by Andrew Johnson as well. Oh and I just did the loving kindness meditation today (on the same site) by Heather Demetrios (of the Flow Lab mentioned above) where you send loving kindness to yourself and to other writers! Very cool.
Your Sacred Wild Soul: Monica Garcia and M. Ruth McCants are two PhDs who will give you a level of love, compassion, clarity and straight talk about what’s moving through our universe at the moment through the lens of Tarot and Astrology. Monica is one of my best friends and has a superpower for empathy and intuitive insight. And Ruth knows astrology like she was born with it in her DNA.
Walk Inn Beauty:Ho’omalamalama Brown and I co-facilitate a monthly mastermind together. She is an amazing and inspiring human who touches upon Hawaiian culture (you get to learn a new word each episode), and generational wisdom about health, wealth and relationships, creativity, planning and so much more. Her episodes are short and sweet and joyful.
She Will Not Be Silenced Women’s Leadership Podcast: Keisha Shields and I spent one full year together in an intimate mastermind experience led by Lindsay Pera. Keisha has given me some of the most profound and insightful advice for my life and business as it relates to my personal story and the legacy I want to leave in this world. Her gentle and direct approach comes through in the episodes I have enjoyed.
Hey Girl, Thrive: Samaria Williams partnered with Akiva Harris, both therapists in this recently launched podcast. In full transparency, I haven’t listened yet! There are only two episodes so far–but I will say this: Samaria was a featured speaker in the conference I just co-hosted for the Intergenerational Grief panel and she is a lovely, compassionate and knowledgeable human being. She has held my hand through some painful moments and done it with grace, faith and again, a deep knowing of my suffering and how to help me out of it.
The Giant Pause: Catherine Solomons is co-owner of 28 Well Hung in London and is doing such important work in the world for our food systems and the earth. She’s brilliant. Her podcast focuses on: “Creativity in a time of corona. Inspiring responses during lockdown of local business and communities – mainly in South London – pivoting and thriving in the strangest of times.”
One day, Catherine said this to me,
You are the cosmic mother that you need. You are ancient and complete.
I was all, “whaaaaaa???” And honestly, I wrote it down on a piece of paper and kept it front and center for weeks. Just yesterday when I was navigating some disappointment in a loved one and the hurt was a familiar old hurt, I paused, noticed and observed my feelings rather than cause my own deep suffering (all over again because let’s face it, I’m an expert at that). I remembered what she said. Through all of our wounds and grief, we can heal ourselves with compassion and ascend into a new level of consciousness so that we don’t have to live in the past and be limited by it. And also, WAFFLES!
Sending you love with butter and syrup! Go forth and build that life. YOU DESERVE IT!
Nourish Your Heart. Expand Your Mind. June 30 – Register here.
Friends, this is a first. I have never ever shared an event from my job on this site. And here’s why I am sharing it–this upcoming day represents the intersection of all that you read on my blog and how I earn my living. It’s what my mentor Lindsay Pera (and Buddhist tradition) calls Right Livelihood.
I will be speaking at the beginning of the conference about my personal experience in Resilience Mapping: Transforming Trauma into Joy. This is what we call a #viewsmyown kind of talk offering approaches that you can use to thrive, especially during these times.
Coming Together While Living Apart is a free virtual conference focused on creating hope and connection and providing practical tools and knowledge you can use right away. And you’ve read about Priya Parker, author of The Art of Gathering, How We Meet and Why It Matters in a previous post of mine. She is one of our speakers! I’ll be hosting her in a fireside chat at the culmination of the day.
When you visit the registration page, you can view the schedule for this live event (as well as the bios of the panelists, moderators and speakers) which runs from 12:00pm ET-3:45pm ET with a break in the middle. Find your local time zone here.
Here’s the journey
12:00 PM Welcome Audrey Grove, Director of Community Services & Social Accountability, Masonicare Resilience Mapping: Transforming Trauma into Joy Rebecca Villarreal, AARP Advisor, Office of Community Engagement
Connecting Mind, Heart, Body & Soul through the Expressive Arts Moderator: Gary Ware, Breakthrough Play Jennifer Fijal-Brevik, Instructor for the Adult Chamber Choir at the University of Hartford’s Community Division Juan Brito, Artist, Composer, Musician, Editor and Social Worker Susan Holmes, Expressive Arts Facilitator for Masonicare Home Health & Hospice Marissa McInerney Expressive Arts Therapist Center for Discovery
Creating a Path for Zero Isolation Nicholas R. Nicholson Jr., PhD, MPH, RN, PHCNS-BC, Associate Professor, Quinnipiac University School of Nursing
1:45 PM 10 minute BREAK 1:55 PM Gather
Thriving in Troubled Times: How We Can Normalize Acute Stress Dr. Richard Kamin MD, FACEP University of CT Health Center Unlocking Creativity: Your Path to Joy & Mastery Gary Ware, Breakthrough Play
The Presence of Absence: An Intergenerational Response to Grief Moderator: Claudia E. Oakes, PhD, Department of Health Sciences, University of Hartford Mala Matacin, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Hartford
Samaria Williams, Licensed Psychotherapist/Adjunct Professor, Co-Founder, Hey Girl, Thrive podcast Beverly Bryda, MSW, ACSW – Director of Social Work, Masonicare Healthcare Center
How to Be Together Apart Virtual Fireside Chat Priya Parker, Author, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters Rebecca Villarreal, Community Organizer, AARP
Wrap Up and Gratitude Rebecca Villarreal, AARP
I hope that you will make time to join all or part of the conference!
Personally, I’ve been on a journey to health after illness, grief after the passing of a family member and rage and anguish over the collective suffering of people due to the pandemic and the ongoing injustice and suffering of our black community. Check out my resources of support on my new page Will You Take My Hand?
I think this conference will be healing for me and for so many. Let’s come to the table, learn and celebrate a future where we can be together, together.
Onward to this week’s resources featuring real talk for navigating these times by Brené, vulnerable and valuable insights from my friend Samaria and fabulous fashion for family dogs from my friend Mona:
Small Business Feature: Flowerchild – In the interests of lifting up creative people and supporting small business owners, check out Flowerchild’s dog jackets below. You can custom order or Mona might just have a design that fits your pup. You can check her out her site or Instagram and send her a DM or email her at email@example.com
Here’s how you can help this week:
*Quick request: I have done this weekly experiment for 3 months now and I’m analyzing whether to keep it weekly or move to monthly. Please let me know if you still want this weekly or if switching to monthly makes more sense. You can comment or shoot me an email that simply says “weekly” or “monthly” at firstname.lastname@example.org
Navigating Grief and Joy at the same time: If you or someone you know is struggling, check out my resources page for help.
Dream a little and share your wishes with the Secret Whisper Tree.
Practice taking a nap this week–even if you don’t sleep, rest your body for 10 minutes straight–or even 5.
Take a break from the news for one day. Notice how your mind, heart and body feel. Write 1-3 sentences about what you notice.
Tell someone that you love them. Remember that I love you.
That’s all for this week!
Look for the magic in the everyday. There are clues everywhere!
We’ve come to see each other again, haven’t we? We now deeply know what it is to break bread together side by side. And we are finding new pathways to nourishing community as well as reconnecting to mother nature. This week’s Magical Mondays is themed “Feed the Love” — just the way you feed sourdough starter. Let’s offer hope and take back our individual and collective power by supporting each other.
Free Wellness Classes and Connections: Check out Creative Live’s Free Health and Wellness Classes here. Or join me every weekday with Ho’omalamalama Brown as she offers a 5-minute morning burst of exercise daily at 6:30am-ish PT to get you going. I don’t always catch them live but I do them when I wake up and it’s just the encouragement I need. You can sign up for more info here and then you’ll get the link to the private Facebook group where she streams every weekday.Then I move into my home yoga practice or have some fun with Tabata.
Music – Follow D-Nice and Quest Love on IG or YouTube for some amazing music during this time at home. Check out a glimpse here. Musicians like Nahko have also offered concerts where each view leads to a non-profit donation.
Get Some Yummy + Support Small a Small Business: My favorite Italian Bakery in Chicago is Scafuri Bakery. I am thrilled to let you know that they are still shipping online orders of their amazing cookies and loaves. Get a discount with the code SMILE2020 for the rest of March. Pictured below is the Cuccidati, Pignoli and Chocolate Orange Ricotta Pound Cake Loaf. Say that last one fast three times with your mouth full of cake. I dare ya!
Free Slow Food Live Webinars: Learn to Plant a Seed on Thursday, March 26 at 11am PT/2pm ET by registering here.You can register for the Zero Waste Minestrone webinar on March 27th at the same time here.
Stay tuned to my Instagram account where I’ll keep you posted on my next chapter reading.
I have a lot of fun resources for you this week and in case you missed last week’s edition, do check out some of the nourishing resources here.
I hope you’ll join me at #CampFTC by using the hashtag to share creative ideas on staying home for those with non-essential jobs, as well as going out into nature for a breath of fresh air. I also want to acknowledge small business owners who are doing what they can to stay in business and to stay careful during this difficult time. If you’re wondering what FTC stands for, it’s Flatten the Curve. You can read Flattening a Pandemic’s Curve: Why Staying Home can Save Lives and this message from concerned physicians to gain a deeper understanding into the importance of our collective choices. These articles are particularly helpful for individuals who are still in denial about the pandemic. We have a chance to significantly slow down the community spread. And if nothing else, this interview with Michael Osterholm, an internationally recognized expert on infectious disease epidemiology will give you the scientific details needed to convince anyone who is doubting the value of social distancing and washing hands as demonstrated in this video.
3. Armchair exploration – Here’s a link to virtual tours at museums around the world. And here are virtual field trips. And you can enjoy an epic 12-hour mix charting the history of spiritual jazz here.
4. The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker – how can we take the approaches by Parker and apply them to a virtual space? Let’s get creative! You can listen to a wonderful podcast interview with her, titled “Gathering as a Form of Leadership” here and here. Or look on your favorite podcast app and search for the Sounds True podcast to find it.
There’s always more to share, but for now, I invite you to stay close to home, let’s bring our globe back to a level of health and think most about those with compromised immune systems.
Here’s how you can help:
Share the resources in this post.
Sleep and rest as much as possible.
LAUGH LAUGH LAUGH.
Try to stay nourished with nutrient-rich foods.
Practice social distancing (6 feet or more between people), stay home and get out in nature — and wash your hands thoroughly.
And remember, look for the magic in the everyday — there are STILL clues everywhere.
And amazing news! You are invited to a monthly mastermind that I’m co-facilitating with Ho’omalalama Brown of WholisticFit.com — our next online gathering is Saturday, March 21st at 11am Pacific Time. (You can calculate your time zone here.) She is an amazing and inspiring multi-passionate entrepreneur who always brings new, creative and practical resources as well as deep roots in Hawaiian culture.
Here’s how it works: a group of entrepreneurs, writers, artists and creatives gather online for 90 minutes. During the first 20 minutes, we state our goals for the session. Then we stay online together and at least start on those goals, then come back for the last 25 minutes and share what we accomplished. We get feedback and ideas from the facilitators and participants if we need help solving for something or advice on next steps. It has been so motivating for me. And get this: you can drop in monthly for only $20. You can click on my PayPal link or Venmo if you would like to join us! It is so energizing to know that I can count on a monthly gathering to kick start me to get that project done–be it transcribing my novel, crafting a production schedule, revisiting and getting clear on my goals or organize my finances.
Here are this week’s resources:
A. Samin Nosrat interviews I love: For simplicity’s sake, I’ve shared links that work no matter your device, but you can find these interviews on your favorite podcast app:
Do you still need to get organized for your taxes? Do you have another project hanging over your head? A huge part of my success (and happiness) is thanks to #smallincrementalsteps in everything I do.
You can join me on Saturday, March 7 at 11am Pacific Time via Zoom and get your stuff done. I will be hanging out for 90 minutes. I will get us grounded, pull cards and then off we go to get our stuff done.