Friday Five

Hello, it’s Friday. It’s been another very busy week, largely because my dear, dear friend is in town from Chicago and I’ve been getting to spend time with her. Last night (when I’m normally writing intros to the FF), I was feeling all the feelings at a dimly lit bar while miss Emily Jane Powers played my heart. <3

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That’s it from me for this week’s intro. So here are four things from the internet + a list of stuff that made me happy this week…

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Taking Beauty Out of Body Positivity 

This is a controversial but important view about all those “you are beautiful”-grounded body positivity campaigns. Lindsay King-Miller writes, “If we insist on the primacy of beauty, doesn’t that give the word “ugly” even more power to cause us harm? For years now, fat-positive activists have insisted that the word “fat” is morally neutral; that if you don’t need to be thin to be considered a worthwhile or complete person, then “fat” isn’t an insult, just a descriptor. Similarly, the answer to an oppressive and arbitrary beauty standard should not be to insist that everyone is beautiful, any more than the cure to weight stigma is to declare that everyone is thin. It is to resist and counter the notion that thin and beautiful are the only acceptable things to be.” This is admittedly challenging for me…I tend to find so many people beautiful! But I totally see her point. What do you think?

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I’m “Out” as a Person with Mental Illness

This article by trans writer Sam Dylan Finch feels really important. In it, Finch talks about how being out about their own mental illness helps fight the stigma. Finch rightly notes: “The reality is that the stigma around mental health keeps us so silent that we’d rather ask Google what to do than ask our friends or family. We go it alone because we’re ashamed, we’re afraid, we’re confused, we’re overwhelmed, and we think that our struggles make us too much of a burden for others to deal with.” This is just so true. I’ll say now, I am a person living with a handful of mental health issues and I often feel alone in coping with them. (I am actually working up the courage to write a more extensive post on this, so, more soon probs). I hope more people can stand up and talk about their struggles as a way to connect with others going through similar things; that connection, I think, can be so profound.

Allison Bechdel Broadway Musical (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) 

Okay, so. THIS IS REALLY EXCITING. For those of you who have not yet been fortunate to encounter Allison Bechdel, she is a lesbian feminist graphic artist responsible for the “Bechdel Test;” that is, the test given to movies to see if 1) two women talk to each other, and 2) about something other than men. Sadly, very few movies pass this test. Anyway, composer Jeanine Tesori saw Bechdel’s life as worthy of a musical and created one of the first contemporary theatrical depictions of a lesbian leading-lady. I heard the story on NPR about the musical, and was almost brought to tears hearing “Ring of Keys,” a song from the musical celebrating the amazingness of butch lesbians. I, for one, cannot wait to see this live!

 Curry + Garlic Sweet Potato Fries w/ Miso Gravy

With Emily in town, I’ve got sweet potato fries on the brain—it was our staple late-night diner snack when we went to school together in Chicago. This version of sweet potato fries from The First Mess is much classier and healthier than the greasy things we ate at Clarke’s, and they seem like the perfect snack to mate for a grown-up version of this total comfort food.

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Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy

EJP + MG FRIEND TIME!; hearing ejp play songs that healed and filled my heart; yoga; a kickass spin class; students; feeling confident enough to reshape the direction of the readings and discussion in my social change class based on the wants and needs of the students—they are really excited to talk about psychology, trauma, and emotion/affect’s role in social movements, which is convenient given my personal newly formed interest in that realm of inquiry; having the resources to afford a second therapy appointment this week (yeah, #realtalk); warm weather; tea and other sources of caffeine (eep!); planning for the third chakra workshop i’m co-leading this weekend; finding out more about my England trip; kitten cuddles; friend texts; oh, and last weekend’s ladies weekend biking through Long Island’s wine country was amazing!

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What made you happy this week? Have a great weekend! xoxo

Friday Five!

Hello and happy Friday! My week has been quite busy, so this intro to the FF will be short and sweet. The picture below is one I snapped on my way to the train the other day. I thought it was really lovely. <3

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And now, four things from the internet + a list of stuff from the week that made me happy….

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Commodifying Black Death

This article was written after the devastating death of Eric Garner but I think it’s worth re-circulating after the devastating death of Walter Scott that happened on Tuesday.  William C. Anderson acknowledges that viral videos of Garner’s murder serve to “illustrate and illuminate the injustice of police violence,” but wonders about other implications these images of Black death might have. Anderson states: “Dead Black people are not ornaments to be put up and taken down for every activist need, purpose and point. Treating those who have come before us as such might reinforce our objectification and further cement our disposability in public consciousness.”

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 Queer Farmer Interview

On a lighter note, I loved reading this interview with Jonah Mossberg,  the filmmaker behind Out Here, a documentary about queer farmers. The trailer for the film looks awesome, and Mossberg’s insights are lovely: “I think small-scale sustainable agriculture is inherently a logical and safe place for queer people because it’s a place where we can enact and practice our queer values. For me, my queer values are that I’m anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian too, and engaging in farming is another beautiful way to do that.” 

Teaching Yoga to Teen Girls with Sexual Trauma and the Connection to Us All 

(First, obviously, trigger-warning for content about sexual assault). This piece is really powerful. In describing her own reflections on her sexual assault and healing while teaching young girls who have experienced trauma, Anne Falkowski writes, “Therapy and yoga were my tools. Therapy started to unravel the event and showed me how I had gone through life operating through the lens of my trauma, distorting my self worth. In therapy, I began to try to widen my view but I just couldn’t seem to get it to stay open. It wasn’t until I practiced yoga that I could actually begin to let go of self-hatred and expand myself to feel high-quality feelings such as self-love and trust. I had needed to make the connections in my body. It was then that I began to grow.” Lots of realness here.

Collard Wraps with Chickpea Walnut Meat

Maud always inspires me to have more collard wraps in my life, and I really like the looks of this one from Dishing up the Dirt. Not only does it look delicious, but it also has very few ingredients and sounds super simple to make. Also, springy, right?

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Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy

seeing more progress from my Sculpt teacher trainers!; coffee (this is a new thing for me, so it’s pretty exciting to delve more into this club that I’ve never really been a part of…I’m still mostly a tea drinker, but a good cup of joe from a swanky coffee shop has become a recent simple pleasure for me!); more progress on my tattoo; surprise gift bag on my doorstep from a sweet friend (which included, among other goodies, a Drake poster (!)); PLANNING FOR LADIES WEEKEND IN MATTITUCK (which will commence in mere hours!); getting to talk to students about #BlackLivesMatter and having what seemed like a transformative conversation about anger and trauma and race and protest; friend phone calls and texts; listening to the new Waxahatchee record; friends’ happiness; kitten snuggles; having people over for dinner and mindfully and joyfully preparing the meals…

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What made you happy this week? Have a great weekend! xoxo

Mindfulness Monday #2: “This Is It”

Welcome to week two of the Mindfulness Monday series! Last week’s practice got me thinking about the history of my food. It meant pausing before eating, and, ultimately, it turned into a short prayer of gratitude before eating. Once I stopped to think about the grocery story employees, the food service workers, the farmers, the soil, bugs, and sunlight, I couldn’t not feel so deeply thankful for the work that went into my nourishment. The practice led me to learn about the sustainability practices and packaging of Tempt hemp tofu; it got me to research the growing process of kale; it inspired me to watch this video on how to grow and harvest turmeric root; and, when I didn’t have time to consult the internet before eating, it just encouraged a lot of reflection on the magnitude of the work that goes into things we take for granted. I definitely plan to keep up with this pre-meal mindfulness practice. <3

This week’s exercise comes from a lovely and replenishing conversation I had with my dear friend, Binya. Binya has been a friend, mentor, and deeply empathetic soul-sister to me for the past few years, and although we rarely get to see each other in person, our bond is strong. As we talked about life and love and loss and beauty and despair, she shared with me a practice she’s recently been engaging in. A few times a day she will closer her eyes and put her hand over her heart and say, “This is your life. This is it.”

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That’s it. It sounds simple, but I assure you, it has been profound for me (and Binya said the same). The act of noting that your life is right now, this moment, truly encourages you to appreciate what you have going on right now. Even if it’s not awesome, it’s all there is, and so you might as well be in it, you know?

This has been especially helpful for me lately considering that there are some major things going on in my life right now that I wish were…different. It’s really easy to get stuck in a negative headspace that makes me feel like I can’t be happy until those things are figured out. But that kind of thinking assumes that happiness and contentment are a result of external factors, rather than internal peace. Fortunately, as various faith traditions, bumper stickers, and pinterest boards will remind us: peace with difficult situations comes from within. Life isn’t going to wait for you to get your shit together, life is now. It’s not just point A’s and point B’s, it’s everything in the middle. This is your life. This is it. 

I invite you to use this week to engage in this practice. Pick something that you do or see a few times a day to coordinate it with. Maybe you can do it every time you see the color blue, or every time you hear someone say your name. Or maybe you can set an alarm on your phone once every few hours. And then, in that moment, place your hand over your heart, close your eyes —(the physical elements of this are important)— and say (silently or aloud): “This is your life. This is it.” 

And then….wait for the shift. <3

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How did last week’s exercise go for you? Will you join me in this week’s practice? 

Friday Five!

Hello readers, happy Friday! It’s been quite a week for me. Do you want to hear about it? Okay!

On Monday, I went to H&R Block to do my taxes (per the advice of many friends who said it would be worth it), and walked out with an IRA. Oh, don’t know what that is? Neither did I! It’s a retirement fund that people apparently know they are supposed to have. I felt like a grown-up and a class-traitor. Saving for retirement is not really a thing for working-class people who live paycheck to paycheck, so it wasn’t really on my radar as a kid. And now that I “pass” as middle-class, things are just complicated. Being in academia is such an exercise in class-performing and class-hopping. My last tax year I made more money than I’ve ever made before (note: this is not a high bar to break), so the H&R block people were like, “You’re a professor, you can do this.” But I then had to explain that, given the precarious state of academic labor, I am currently unemployed for next school year so I may need these dollars to, you know, like, live now, not when I’m 65. Still, somehow they—and my desire to not make fear-based decisions—got me to sign up for a very (very) modest start to an IRA. ANYWAY. Being a grownup is weird. And being an academic is rough. But now I have a retirement fund, so….let me buy you a drink in thirty years?

In more exciting news, the college where I currently work asked me to teach a summer session class for them…in England! All expenses paid, plus a stipend. All I’m expected to do is teach one class to a mix of US and UK students, and attend all the fun little excursion trips the students go on. I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to do it, but ultimately this is an opportunity one should not pass up, right? So, I signed a contract on Wednesday, and I’ll be heading to Wroxton for the month of June! It’s scary but I know it’s going to be super amazing. Life is full of surprises.

Otherwise, my week was full of Yoga and Yoga Sculpt. I’m helping lead the Yoga Sculpt Teacher Training, meaning I’m teaching future-teachers how to teach, which is pretty amazing. I get to spend many hours of my week talking yoga and fitness pedagogy. RAD.

So that brings us to today. And because I am about to leave for an impromptu visit to Providence to see this gal perform, this is how I feel about today:

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And here is the Friday Five to help kick that off!

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14 Caribbean Nations Sue Former Colonizers for Slave Trade

This is awesome and should be standard for all colonized peoples and nations. I hope they win their demands: “an official apology, a cancelation of debts and assistance for cultural and educational institutions.” #powertothepeople

What It’s Like to Be Intersex

I was so excited to see a friend of mine from college featured in this delightful and important video about being intersex. Pidge (the one who talks about intersex dinosaurs) has been doing amazing intersex activist work for years, and this video is a great teaching tool that can aide in creating a world with more gender justice!

In Celebration of Old-School Livejournal

I loved reading this essay from Lindsey Gates-Markel about the beauty that was the internet platform, Livejournal. Were you on it? I was a faithful LJ-er all through college, and could have written the exact lines that Lindsey wrote: “I wanted to make poetry out of life, to believe that life was good and beautiful, and when I was younger, that never seemed difficult. I posted on LiveJournal most days, often with a great sense of relief that it was finally time to write it all down. I bound zines full of writing I’d posted on LiveJournal; I got into college using essays I’d started on LiveJournal. The world seemed to always be shedding those riches Rilke spoke of, shiny coins from shallow pockets. I wanted to collect them, keep them all, warm them in my palms.” The vulnerability and community that LJ enabled felt so important. Having this blog is very different. I don’t write about as much personal stuff and it doesn’t feel as…cozy? Secret? Special? I don’t know how to describe it, but blogging is different than journaling (even internet-journaling). Naturally this makes sense that as we all get older we put up more walls, don’t feel like we’re allowed to process things with such unabashed emotion, but I’m so grateful I had a space for all that back then!

Healthy Vegan Falafel

When I first became vegan, I ate so much falafel. There was this little market in Cleveland that made this incredible falafel wrap that all the punks were obsessed with. We’d go there before shows and fill up on the fried, spicy treat. Fast forward 12 (!) years and my stomach cannot handle that deep-fried business even a little bit. But I still miss falafel, and so I’ve often tried to make healthier, not-fried versions. This recipe from Groumandelle is totally going to be added to my list of healthy falafels to make!

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Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy

deciding to go to England and daydreaming about my adventures there; i wouldn’t say starting an IRA made me happy, per se, but I am happy at the idea of having some stability in the future, so it’ll make the list; yoga sculpt teacher training and seeing all the growth from the trainees!; positive feedback from my studio manager; kitten snuggles to the max; friend phone calls; friend emails; friends texts; attending a workshop on “making peace with your past” at the meditation center; taking the train around town and finding joy in the details of my urban surroundings; attending my first opera! (with a very dear friend!); being asked to teach a yoga workshop on the third chakra; sleep; water; witnessing my (college) students get outraged by the reality of the prison industrial complex and hearing some of them start to own abolitionist viewpoints; buying myself purple tulips just because; warmer weather and walking around in it; songs that make me believe it will all be okay.

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What made you happy this week? Have a great weekend! xoxo

Mindfulness Monday

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Mindfulness is something I thought I’d had a handle on for years. It’s become a common buzzword in the West, and was a  supplementary concept that frequently arose in literature and practices I engaged with during my eating disorder recovery and while diving deeper into my yoga practice.  Mindfulness, I gathered, was, like, paying more attention to stuff, right? Got it, easy enough.

Except that’s not a complete definition. Like a lot of Eastern practices that gain popularity in the West, the concept has gotten muddled down and commodified in a way that makes it more accessible for mass audiences. Paying attention might seem easy enough, but what about this more thorough definition from Buddhist-influenced scientist (and son-in-law of the late, great Howard Zinn), Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose,in the present moment, and non judgmentally.”  For me, the addition of presence and nonjudgement are game changers. Paying attention is one thing, but to focus solely on the present and to do it without judging any thoughts that take you out of that presence? It’s a big ask! It’s literally saying, “you’re not going to do this perfectly probably ever, but your goal is to do it anyway and never judge yourself for not doing it perfectly, (even though you’re never going to do it perfectly).” Like Michelle Tea says in her chapter on Buddhism in her memoir: “Buddhism embraces failure because it embraces humanity, and to fail is human.” Mindfulness means inevitable failure but striving to do better anyway, even in the midst of it.

That kind of commitment to a practice of almost-inevitable failure requires a huge amount of self-love. And, spoiler alert to my readers who haven’t already figured it out: self-love is probably the hardest (and most important)  thing we’ll ever have to learn in life.

Understanding the more complete version of mindfulness has made my attempts at the practice both more challenging and more rewarding. For years, I’ve been attempting to think before I speak and act, but I would still do things that weren’t mindful. Sometimes in big, ugly ways. Why was it that I could spend two hours at my yoga studio feeling centered, grounded, calm, and loving, only to drive home and feel irritable in traffic or snap at my mom on the phone? How, I longed to discover, could I practice mindfulness outside of the optimal conditions presented in the yoga room, and apply it in all the other parts of life when I need it even more?

Non-judgement is crucial here. When I’d drive home and get irritable in traffic, instead of observing that irritability and letting it go, I would criticize myself for not being a better all-loving yogi. This creates a terrible cycle. In Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach describes this stuck place of judgment as “the trance of unworthiness,” and explains that judging ourselves in these moments will not make us do better. On the contrary, “Feeling guilty and bad about ourselves for something we’ve done might temporary restrain us from doing harm, but intimately blaming and hating ourselves only leads to further harmful actions. We can’t punish ourselves into being a good person. Only by holding ourselves with the compassion of forgiveness do we experience our goodness and respond to our circumstances with wisdom and care.”

Practicing this in the middle of life-stuff is really hard. It’s asking a lot of you all at once, in seemingly contradictory ways. Be aware of your emotions, but also let them go, don’t judge yourself, but still observe that feeling. All at the same time, in one moment (and then the next moment, and the next, and so on)! As Brach notes, “Often the moment when we most need to pause is exactly when it feels most intolerable to do so.” 

Because it is so challenging to do that in real life, intentional mindfulness practices become invaluable. Meditation is key here. If you can practice sitting in a safe-to-you-space, with as few external distractions as possible, you can start to lay the groundwork and literally rewire your brain to do better when you are back in the “real world.” I have been working through a lot of resources to enhance my meditation practice, and these are some I’ve found especially helpful: Andy Puddicombe’s Do Talk (I appreciate that, in addition to the common analogy of clouds in the sky, Puddicombe also uses a traffic analogy that feels much more conducive to my city-girl sensibilities),  this Mindfulness App on my phone, and a place I’m now visiting in Cambridge called Inner Space.

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Another practice, outside of traditional meditation, that I’ve come to turn to is working through a book called How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays. The book provides a mindfulness exercise “task” to focus on each week. Examples include using your non-dominant hand, noticing filler words, committing to taking three breaths, etc. The idea is that you focus on this exercise throughout the whole week to help draw attention to the present. This book was gifted to me over a year ago, and I’ve attempted to use it on a weekly basis, but it’s admittedly been rather hit or miss. I will start really strong on Monday morning, and by Monday night it dawns on me that I’ve sometimes already forgotten the task.

And so, I thought I’d use the blog as a way to be more accountable to these kinds of exercises. Out of respect to the author, I don’t plan to reveal the entire contents of the book, but I will  post some of the exercises from there, and also other places, on the blog each Monday to engage with it more fully for myself, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

One task from the book that felt very relevant to the RGL community is to “Look Deeply Into Food.” Now, this is not a mindfulness practice about eating and fullness (although those are excellent tools for those of us who struggle with not eating enough or eating too much, and can be more thoroughly explored in Tich Nhat Hanh’s Savor), but rather this is about thinking about where our food comes from. This is about committing, for the rest of the week, to take a moment to imagine the process it took to get the food you are about to eat into your hands. It’s about honoring the work of not only farmers, and food industry labor, but also of soil and bugs and sunlight. And then, take a moment to thank them.

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A mindfulness exercise that is also a lesson in Marx’s commodity fetishism! Win! : )

Two final notes here on this inaugural Mindfulness Monday post. First, I feel it’s important to give credit to people and things who have influenced me on this path to deepening what feels like a very life-changing spiritual practice: AC, LC, AP, DC, BAB, GH, and yoga. You know who you are;  thank you. Second, the reason I have been immersing myself in this so rigorously is because life has been really, really difficult since I moved to Boston almost two years ago. I have never had a more challenging 18 months in my adult life than I have since living here (big moves, heartbreak, death, job insecurity, ptsd, etc.). We have a two options when life gets big and overwhelming and scary: we can numb it out and distract ourselves or we can confront it and allow the suffering to make us more compassionate. I’ve done both, and turns out the second option is a lot more liberating.

There is a Buddhist proverb that states, “No mud, no lotus.” That is, you need the crappy stuff to get something good; lotus flowers need mud to grow. I’m starting to realize that my lotus may not mean getting what I want externally, but rather finding peace internally, regardless of circumstance. These mindfulness practices help remind me of that, and for that, I am so very grateful.

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Do you engage in mindfulness practices? Will you join me in Looking Deeply Into Food this week? 

Friday Five

Dear friends, happy Friday. My heart has been as full as my week. It was Social Justice Week at school, and I spent most of my free time staying on campus to help facilitate screenings, discussions, and performances to encourage my little college community to think about issues related to oppression and liberation. We had some really powerful events, including a performance by  And Still We Rise, “a collaborative theater project dedicated to healing, public awareness, and social change through empowering the voices of formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones.” I was humbled and grateful to share space with these defiantly vulnerable human beings.

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And Still We Rise

Despite a lot of things in my life urging me to feel blue and stuck, it’s been hard to indulge either of those feelings after this week’s events. Instead, I am feeling so glad to be alive and to have an opportunity to share in the struggle to create a better world….

and to, you know, make the Friday Five. So here we go!  : )

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Mexican Farm Workers on Strike

It is so easy to forget where our food comes from. It doesn’t just fly from the earth to our plate, it is a process of intense labor, provided to us largely by immigrant workers. The conditions these workers endure are often grueling—-“subpar housing, inadequate sanitation, poverty wages, and often, labor arrangements that approach slavery;” currently in Baja California, Mexican farmworkers are taking a stand against this exploitation by going on strike. The strike’s organizers also plan to launch a boycott, so stay tuned for how you can stand in solidarity by not purchasing the food from companies who refuse to treat their workers like human beings.

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Zen and the Art of Social Movement Maintenance

This article is everything to me right now. The deeper I get into Buddhism and the more I incorporate yoga into my life outside the studio, the more I am challenged to confront how these spiritual practices support or complicate my radical politics. In this thoughtful essay, James K. Rowe analyses the Occupy movement to suggest how a commitment to dismantling systems of oppression does not necessarily conflict with practices of mindfulness and  lovingkindness. One activist notes, “If you look at the general mechanics of anti-oppression discourse and training, it is observing how socialization and social structure speak through us, and then finding points of intervention so that we can make deliberate decisions about our agency rather than just moving through racist, patriarchal, colonial inertia. It is a form of meditation.” If you’re at all interested in these questions, I highly recommend reading the whole piece.

How to Sleep Better

With all the self-care I’ve been working on lately, something I still struggle with is getting to bed at an early hour. A lot of these tips from Kris Carr are things most of us have heard a lot (no screens before bed, exercise, etc.), but, for me, it’s still good to see them written out to help me stay accountable to best practices. I also know good sleep is a problem for a lot of other people I know (hi mom!), so I hope it can be a helpful reminder for some of you too! Relatedly, I also recommend checking out Rande Moss’s ideas on “Detoxing Your Evening Routine: 29 Things To Do Instead of Watching TV.”

 Mung Bean Cakes with Cilantro Cream Sauce

This recipe from Ashley Neese looks and sounds so delicious. I don’t actually eat mung beans a lot, but this seems like a great excuse to give them a try. And it’s definitely very springy, right?

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Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy

yoga; sculpt teacher training; kitten; phone calls, emails, and texts from dear friends; laughing; Social Justice Week and the inspiring conversations it nurtured; warmer weather; sticking to my meditation practice; empathy; compiling care packages; planning ladies’ weekend; my students; fresh arugula; femmey bow-collar blouses; and green tea.

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What made you happy this week? Have a great weekend! xoxo

Friday Five!

Well, somehow it’s Friday again, and it’s yet another week when I haven’t posted anything since the last FF. Apologies! Some week I’ll manage to post a recipe or a WIAW or some musings on the latest buzz. This, however, is not that week. Instead I was busy with work, busy with self-care/healing/growth, busy getting tattooed (it’s a multiple-session kind of deal), etc. It’s been okay.

Here’s some cool art by Sayaka Maruyama:

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And now, the Friday Five!

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“It Ain’t All Good, and That Sucks, and It’s Okay”

I think a lot about this conflict between the New Agey Woo World of positive affirmations and visualizations and universe-trusting mantras, compared to the reality of the material world of systemic oppression and concrete struggle. Author Toni Bell, a self-described “recovering New Ageaholic,” describes how some of the workshops she’s attended have described racism and genocide as “bad vibrations.” Understandably, she became disillusioned. Bell goes on to make a case against always trying to feel positive and defends the importance of feeling anger and grief. My reaction to that (and something Bell gives a nod to) is that Buddhism provides the best of both worlds—(feel all your feelings, but also trust that the universe/your buddha nature can provide you the tools and space to heal)—but I see her point all the same. There is a fine line between the practice of positive thinking and the practice of ignoring problems in the world that can’t be mantra’d or affirmed away.

Taboo LGBT Sex-Education

Speaking of feeling angry, I just can’t with the reality of sex-ed in our schools, especially this: “Only 22 states plus the District of Columbia requires sex education in schools. Twelve of those states require sex education teachers to discuss sexual orientation. Three of those 12 states require teachers to impart only negative information on sexual orientation to students. Yes, three states in the United States make LGBTQ youth listen to discriminatory information directed at them by their own teachers. Take Alabama, whose sex education instructors are required to teach that homosexuality ‘is an unacceptable, criminal lifestyle.'” Currently, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, which would ameliorate some of this, is just sitting around Congress, not getting addressed. All young people deserve comprehensive sex ed, and our LGBT youth especially deserve something better than being either invisible or villainized. Ugh.

America’s White Fragility Complex

This interview with Robin DiAngelo is so important. DiAngelo discusses what she terms as “white fragility” that is the foundation for our current climate surrounding race in the US. DiAngelo states, “For white people, their identities rest on the idea of racism as about good or bad people, about moral or immoral singular acts, and if we’re good, moral people we can’t be racist – we don’t engage in those acts. This is one of the most effective adaptations of racism over time—that we can think of racism as only something that individuals either are or are not “doing.” In large part, white fragility—the defensiveness, the fear of conflict—is rooted in this good/bad binary. If you call someone out, they think to themselves, “What you just said was that I am a bad person, and that is intolerable to me.” It’s a deep challenge to the core of our identity as good, moral people.” And that defensiveness leaves us at a stand-still. I experience this a lot when I’m teaching (white) students about race, and we see it all the time in the media when white people talk about things like Ferguson, Oklahoma, etc. Hey, white people, let’s stop making everything about us, and start acknowledging the very real systemic violence experienced by people of color, yeah?

Lemony Lentil Chickpea Salad with Radish and Herbs

Oh em gee, you guys, look at how springy this salad from Cookie + Kate looks! I love everything about this—protein? good. lemon? good. herbs and radishes? good good. It is not actually spring weather yet here on the east coast, but I’m committed to making more spring-like meals in an effort to manifest some warm weather quicker, and this looks like just the dish!

lemon-dressing

Stuff from the Week that Made Me Happy

beginnings of new tattoo; kitten snuggles; yoga; Sculpt Teacher Training starting tonight!; sunshine; hosting a st. patrick’s day party for two (with theme-appropriate food & drink, obvi); my students; boxing! (srsly, such an amazing and fun workout); friend phone calls; feeling the evidence of growth and change in my bones; sticking with my meditation practice; this song (and the dreams of summer it inspires); also, new best coast (for the same reason); seeing local boston pop-punk bands at new-to-me venus; reading (this book, still, because i don’t want it to end); first run outside since september; therapy (#realtalk); cat island!; coordinating some pretty femme-tastic teaching outfits; showers; & the scent of the impending spring persistently fighting its way through the cold winter air….

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What made you happy this week? Have a great weekend! xoxo