I got home yesterday from a week in Vermont. I was there for a yoga workshop and it was the perfect thing to do after the election last week. While it was hard to be away from Anders and the dogs during such an emotional and confusing time, I was able to spend my time away reflecting on purpose, reconnecting with community and recharging for the holidays ahead. For me, the past week has been full of emotions including disbelief, sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, frustration, hopelessness, and hopefulness. I’ve been reading and listening to the news obsessively and trying to wrap my head around what is happening and how to move forward. I certainly haven’t figured it all out but I’d like to share with you a few things that I believe are important to do right now:
- Listen to Others. So many people have said to me that I’m lucky to live in a place like Seattle where I am surrounded by like minded, progressive thinkers. But am I really lucky, or has my privilege blinded me to what is going on in other parts of the country? So, instead of shaming or shutting out the other, let’s take this opportunity to reach across the divide and listen to how people feel. I for one have started a dialogue with my extended family about their values and why they believe what they do. I’m working hard to remain open and compassionate and to listen without judgement. We can’t assume to know anything about someone else’s values, beliefs or motives and broad generalizations and demonizations of others only fosters more hatred and fear. (I recognize that in writing this I’m assuming that you all share my beliefs and values. If your views differ from mine, don’t close our browser or delete this email. I’d love to hear from you).
- Practice your Beliefs. All religions and faiths have moral codes and tenets that provide instruction on how to live righteously. I’ve found inspiration lately in the yoga sutras, particularly the idea that we should have joy for those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, delight in the virtuous and equanimity towards those who are unvirtuous. Each time I find myself reacting to a person or situation I try to remember these guidelines and act accordingly.
- Listen to Music. Here are a couple of songs I’ve found particularly inspiring, poignant and relevant. Here, here and here.
- Take Action. Simply being well informed and voting doesn’t feel like enough any more so I am making a concerted effort to become more engaged and fight complacency in the long term. I’ve been signing petitions (like this one, this one, this one and this one), creating calls to action, calling my senators (encouraging them to do everything they can to block the appointments of Stephen Bannon and Myron Ebell. You can look up your representatives here), researching opportunities for community outreach and am working towards shifting my finances to support banks and companies that support the values I hold dear.
- Laugh Often. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and burdened by the negativity these days so I’ve been seeking out humor and levity wherever I can. Soak up those moments of pure joy and let that energy carry you forward. Maybe you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did.
- Donate. More than ever I feel it is my duty to use the resources at my disposal to support non-profits and organizations that work to support communities and people in need. Here are a few that I’m supporting or planning to support: Planned Parenthood, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, NRDC, Pro Publica.
And in the spirit of Thanksgiving please also consider joining Julia Turshen’s Friendsgiving for No Kid Hungry campaign to provide meals for kids in need. In her book, Small Victories, Julia says:
This cookbook, like most cookbooks, assumes that whoever is reading it has access to food and not only the desire, but also the time, energy, and means to cook. How great would it be if that were the case for everyone? I firmly believe that if you have the privilege of eating however much you want whenever you want, you should spend some time ensuring that others have the same opportunity.
To join the campaign click here.
Wishing you all a weekend full of loving kindess, wellness, peace, and joy.
Roasted Mushrooms on Toast
From Small Victories by Julia Turshen
2 lb assorted mushrooms (I used chanterelles and criminis), torn or cut into bite-size pieces
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
Twelve ¼ -in- thick slices baguette or country bread
1 garlic clove
½ cup creme fraiche
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the mushrooms on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and the thyme. Use your hands to toss everything together. Roast the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and well browned, about 40 minutes.
When you take the mushrooms out of the oven, toast the bread and rub one side of each piece of toast with the garlic clove (the toast will act almost as sandpaper and will catch little bits of the garlic). Spread the garlic-rubbed side of the toasts with the crème fraîche.
Divide the roasted mushrooms among the toasts. Drizzle each toast with a little bit more olive oil and sprinkle each one with a little pinch of salt and some of the parsley. Serve immediately.