Friday Suffering??

On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for heresy.

What things would you be willing to die for?  What things do you suffer now?  I know some people feel that you can’t be a good blues singer/writer/artist unless you suffer.

But what if you could set yourself free from a need to suffer?  Wouldn’t it be nice NOT to blame yourself for perceived imperfections?

For today’s creative writing prompt, write about ways you cause yourself to suffer and about ways you might grow if you DIDN’T suffer that way anymore.

Advertisements

Why Do You Eat What You Eat?

Let me state right off that I truly wish to initiate conversation with this post.  I know that we humans tend to get our knickers in a twist if we feel our beliefs are being questioned.  But, really, I truly want to know your thoughts on food choices and lifestyle.

I think I have experience on both sides of the omnivore-vegetarian question.  I was vegetarian for nearly 20 years myself.  (I did give “vegan” a go, but that lasted about 20 minutes.)  Back in the late eighties/early nineties when I decided to change my diet, I had several reasons for going vegetarian.  I was competing in sports a lot and wanted to be lean-n-mean.  I had read Eat Right 4 Your Type by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, which recommended different nutrition for different blood types; according to the book, my blood type is better suited for a vegetarian diet.  And I didn’t particularly care for the way conventional farms and slaughterhouses treated livestock.

That food lifestyle served me well for a long time.  But as I began competing less, I found myself turning into a carbohydrate addict.  Every meal was either cereal or pasta.  So I knew it was time for change.  Now since I hadn’t chosen to be vegetarian because I think it’s wrong to eat animals, it was easy enough to adjust my diet to include more variety.  In addition, I’m lucky enough to live in an area where I can easily get organic/biodynamic/free range meats and dairy.

I wonder why people choose to eat (or not eat) what they do.  It seems to me that “vegan” is very fashionable now.  Now, I know that some people  adopt certain diets for religious or health reasons.  But I seem to be running into people who can’t quite articulate WHY they are eating vegan.  Personally, I do have a difficult time understanding it.  Vegans do not eat anything associated with an animal/bird/insect, including honey.  I am a big believer in the “circle of life” philosophy, so I don’t have a problem with the food chain theory.  I fully accept predator-prey as a part of life.  At the same time, I can understand and accept someone who might NOT believe in that.  But I do struggle with understanding why someone wouldn’t eat honey or milk or eggs; no harm comes to the animal if we eat those things, especially if you choose organic and free range.

I’d love it if you could chime in on this topic.  Are you vegan or vegetarian or omnivorous? Why?

Food Pyramid

 

Alphabetic Friday Fun

I have never been much of a poet.  For whatever reason, I was never drawn to that form of writing.  Today’s creative writing prompt, though, is to write an ABC poem.  Known by various names, the ABC poem has five lines, and each line begins with a successive letter of the alphabet (starting with the letter A).  Here’s my attempt:

As raindrops begin to fall,

Beech trees shiver in the wind.

Clouds rumble and roil.

Darkening skies match her mood.

Ennui settles in for the night.

Happy writing!

 

The Uranus-Pluto Square

Have you noticed that everyone and everything seems to be breaking down to the foundations lately?  That structures (both literal and figurative) are cracking and crumbling?

It has seemed this way to me for a while now.  In my own life and in that of my friends and family, I have seen some serious rug-pulling-out-from-under and some big upheavals.  Divorces, deaths, career shakeups, you name it.  Of course these things are always present, but in this case I am noticing that the EFFECTS have been rattling people to the core.  These events have been creating such havoc that the persons involved have been thrown into Major Overhaul mode.

Right now–and since 2012 actually–Uranus and Pluto have formed a square.  They are literally at a right angle to each other, and in astrology terms this arrangement means friction.  The Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn square can be interpreted to mean great shakeups and major transformations in both our personal AND our social structures.

First, Uranus in Aries represents big changes in the Self:  Uranus means upheaval, and Aries means the individual.  So that translates into big turnover in how we view ourselves and in what is REALLY important.  Second, Pluto in Capricorn means transformation in authority figures and in society.  And that translates to big changes in what we individuals want and expect from our leaders.

This square will last until 2015.  My takeaway from this is that we should all be very careful and discriminating in what we want our new foundations to be.  What about you?  Have things been stripped down to the concrete slab for you?  What will you use to re-build?  What should our collective foundation be as a society?  Can we build something that honors both the individual and the group?

W.H. Auden

On this date in 1946, the English poet W.H. Auden became a U.S. citizen.  Fans of the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral will remember the Auden poem read at the funeral.  I possess no poetic talent whatsoever, so Mr. Auden’s words will stand for today’s post.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum,
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Thrilling Friday Fun

On this date in 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional.  So in honor of the historic Brown v. the Board of Education decision, today’s creative writing prompt is to write the opening sentence of your legal thriller.  Using the words judge, change, and right craft a wowser of a sentence to start your story!

The Nature of Good and Bad

I read an article the other day written by a Buddhist monk about his own spiritual journey.  He mentioned the Buddhist idea about suffering being caused by our wants or expectations.

Something about that concept and that story stuck with me.  Most of the article was about alleviating suffering in the world.  He was making the point that one’s spiritual lessons ought to be shared in the world to help make it a better place.

But, I got to thinking, what if suffering were eliminated?  What if all bad things, all evil, went away?

Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m not trying to be cavalier about pain or heartbreak or hunger or illness.  I’m just saying, what if those things are necessary, however terrible?  Let me play devil’s advocate for a moment.

The concept of homeostasis says that all things tend toward stability and equilibrium.  So how can there be balance without good AND bad?  How can we feel motivated to act without something to fight against?  How can we get ourselves out of a complacent rut without crushing ennui to prod us?  How can we find out what we are made of without some kind of shove in the back?

I think a lot of us would dearly love to get rid of all bad things. In fact, I believe that a fear of death motivates a great deal of human behavior.   But what if things aren’t simply “good” or “bad?”  What if they are opportunities?

Now, I realize it is a very great leap to say things like child abuse or torture or mudslides that wipe out entire towns are “opportunities.”  And I certainly do not trivialize those things at all.  I just wonder if those things might not have a place in the big picture too.

If I assume that reincarnation is a given, then we all have multiple lifetimes and multiple deaths.  And if I assume that one of the main points of life is to learn, then wouldn’t we need multiple lifetimes to learn it all?  And wouldn’t “all” include wealth AND poverty, illness AND health, pain AND pleasure?  I just wonder if getting rid of “bad” is not the point, but rather we might want to shift our view that death is not the enemy, that evil is certainly to be fought without it we could never learn and grow?

I suppose, too, that if we did eliminate all bad things in the world, then wouldn’t that make Earth into Heaven?  Is that possible?  Wouldn’t that then upset the homeostasis, to have Two Other Sides and No Physical Plane?

What do you think?  Is “bad” necessary?  Can we make a Heaven here on Earth?

YinYang Symbol

Please Pass the Olive Oil

Spinach

Renegade Spinach

I cannot express how ridiculously excited I am at having a garden.  I’m finally living in a house with sufficient space to have a little patch of land all my own to till, sow, and enjoy.  I planted spinach, carrots, tomatoes, and carrots.

In case you were curious, here are some quick facts about the grooviness of spinach:

  • Spinach is a seriously nutrient-dense food.  It contains vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, magnesium, and folate, just to name a few.
  • Spinach may be a fierce cancer fighter.  It contains certain flavonoids and carotenoids that are showing promising results in lab studies.
  • The oxalic acid in spinach can block absorption of calcium and iron, so try to pair your spinach dish with a food high in vitamin c.  Or you can boil the spinach for a minute or two.
  • Boiling spinach actually makes it better for you because your body is unable to break down completely the raw spinach.

Got your fork?  Salad’s ready y’all!

Friday Fun for All

I recently finished a middle-grade fantasy novel that I am submitting to agents in hopes of being published someday soon.  In the meantime, I am starting some new writing projects.  One is the sequel to the aforementioned story.  But the other project is very different, and I would like your help on it.

I have an idea for a collection of mini-memoirs.  My plan is to gather short stories from a wide range of people from different backgrounds and differing viewpoints.  The common thread for all of these stories is “a defining moment, lasting memory, or profound lesson that shaped the person I have become.”

Feel free to share your story here.  Write about an ordinary moment, a blinding flash of inspiration, anything at all that had a great impact on you.  Or f you are so inclined, please share your story with me directly for use in a collection.  Email your story to me at aim4wisdom (at) yahoo.com.

Thank you!