Archive for March, 2011
As one grows older, one accumulates more tools for navigating life’s rough waters. We learn to handle things with grace and dignity rather than hysterics and panic. We can look at painful situations with a veteran’s seasoned eye knowing they won’t last forever. Our coping skills are honed. My birthday’s coming up and it always makes me wonder if I’m getting anywhere and I’m kind of feeling like the answer might be “yes”. I’ve actually learned some stuff and what’s more – I’ve assimilated it. Good for me. Being taught new stuff is one of life’s most exciting and most scary things. They say when the student is ready the teacher appears. I haven’t always felt all that ready, but looking back – I guess I was.
Here at Living Light, we not only teach people the art of raw culinary excellence, we also teach people to teach. To help our students along this path we make empowerment kits available to them. Each kit has a theme (i.e. comfort food, breakfast, holiday, etc.) and was developed by Cherie Soria and our own Jenny Cornbleet. Jenny has made a fabulous career for herself as a raw food chef and instructor – and she’s put her expertise into these kits and her new advanced instructor training. If you want to learn to teach – call me!
One of my favorite coworkers, Terilynn, took care of Dan and Cherie’s dogs, Winky and Rudy, while they were in Costa Rica for their anniversary. Her children adored the dogs and have since asked for visiting rights which, of course, was granted as the dogs also love thechildren. It was (and still is) cold here last February and Terilynn took pity on the small dogs and made sweaters for them. Terilynn knows I love to crochet so she asked me for help. We didn’t really understand the directions, so Terilynn readjusted them and look what she created – wonderful!
One of the fun things that Living Light students get to do is create new raw vegan foods. They start out in Associate Chef and begin creating new dishes. Then in Ethnic Flavors and Raw Fusion Spa Cuisine they really get to let their creative juices flow. Flavor dynamics is a very important part of the culinary experience, especially for raw vegan creations as you are attempting to create a taste similar to the cooked version: not an easy task. By the time you graduate, however, you will rawk!
I heard a report this morning on NPR about a famous painting from Japan called The Waves at Matsushima Bay, which is just north of Sendai where the tsunami hit the country hardest. The story mentioned Cherry Blossom time in Washington. The oldest cherry trees in our capitol were gifts from Japan to the U.S. many years ago. The screen painting of The Waves at Matsushimi was made over 400 years ago. Apparently the recent aerial views of the Tsunami in Japan look very much like the original painting.
Our relationship with Japan has changed over the centuries, depending on the vagaries of politics and human relationships. In today’s world, it’s important to remember that we are truly a global community. My colleague Teresa shared a March 22 blog post from Pure Land and Mountain:
“In this new instant, the world became Japan and Japan the world. For the first time in history, we all felt it: we are all in this together. This was not politics, this was not spin, this was life – our life – all of us, here on this small blue spaceship. I believe that this will go down in history as a major turning point in the hopeful advance of civilization… If we can maintain our native integrity, keep our minds clear and learn what we are being taught…”
At Living Light, our students come from all over the world – many from Japan. We are donating $250 for each person who signs up for our new Advanced Raw Culinary Arts Instructor Certification with Jennifer Cornbleet. We also have a link for donations to our sister city, Otsutchi, Japan. Check details here. It is heartening to see that on many websites there are donation links; people are pulling together in new ways. Hope for peace and love to prevail on earth at last. We’re in this together.
Living Light is making donations to our local chapter of the American Red Cross for every student that signs up for our Advanced Raw Culinary Arts Instructor Training Certification. We as a company have always promoted positive planet change by promoting a healthy life style. Be a part of the solution and learn not only to prepare healthy food but how to teach others to make this positive change. Each choice for health – both personal and planetary – is another drop in the bucket of change. And all our drops can make a splash.
As we hear back from our former students in Japan, the tragedy comes closer to home. One woman wrote that while so many are subsisting on noodles and water, eating healthily seems almost a luxury to be put on hold for a bit. In their situation it probably is, but sadly, eating healthily is often a luxury right here at home. As a mother of two children, I can tell you by the end of some pay periods, healthy eating habits are put on hold. Organic produce and lunch box treats just can’t compete with name brand processed choices and non-organic food. As a nation, we say that the health of our kids is a priority, but one can buy five giant boxes of FruitLoops for the price of one normally sized box of organic cereal. I really want to support organic farmers and companies putting out organic alternatives to comforting staples but when my family’s involved, if it comes to eating consciously or eating – I choose eating. As we Americans reach out to our brothers and sisters across the Pacific, let’s also be mindful of taking care of our own. We all have a voice and a choice. Let’s concentrate on making healthy choices accessible to all.
Last night Archie and I went to a town meeting. Where we live, there are several hundred people living off one particular road with only one way to get to Highway One. They were discussing the possibility of opening another access road and proposed four routes, one of which goes by our home. Several of our neighbors were there and now everyone is upset. All agree we need another access road but no one wants it near their home as the traffic will increase. People will use the new road to get to work in a more efficient manner, etc., and not just in emergencies. We live in the country and know every single vehicle that drives by and if it is not one that we recognize we wonder who it is. If the new road goes in we will have several unrecognized vehicles and a lot more noise. We need the road – fire being the biggest danger – but as I said, no one wants it by their property. The project is scheduled to start in September; I wonder which proposed road it will be?
What WILL be happing in September (and also in July) is the Advanced Raw Culinary Arts Instructor Certification™ Series with internationally renowned chef and author, Jennifer Cornbleet. Master the art of teaching dynamic culinary classes and share the delicious health benefits of raw vegan foods with others. What makes this class so special is you will learn how to organize your notes, your talks, your demos, your internet marketing, and much more! Jenny will wow you with her insight; she has been on television, radio and the internet marketing her talents. Learn how she does it.
When I studied with Ann Wigmore at her institute in Puerto Rico in 1991, several of the things I remember best are de-hulling sunflower and buckwheat greens under shady trees, the beautiful big greenhouse, the songs we sang in a circle when we first arrived, and watching a film about the Peace Pilgrim. Beginning in her 50s, she walked thousands of miles for peace, leaving the comfort of a middle class life, and taking shelter and food only when it was freely offered.
On a daily basis it is often hard to find peace even in our own hearts, as we are caught up in the daily dramas and anxieties of our own psyches. Yet all over the world, in spite of wars, natural disasters, and other frightening and disheartening events, the human spirit is still capable of expressing love and peace. Peace Pilgrim’s book falls into my hands every couple of years, and I read it again, and pass it on, grateful for the reminder that many have worked and continue to work to give peace a chance.
My friend Monica sent me a note that had been written by a Japanese woman in Sendai, and it was all about how people in that city are reaching out to help each other in dizzyingly painful and terrifying times. Our sister city, Otsuchi, Japan, was hard hit- over 10,000 people are missing. We’re donating $250 for those signing up for our new Advanced Instructor Certification Series with Jennifer Cornbleet as well as 15% of the cost of the 28 day Living Light Inn stay while attending the program. We’ll also have a general donation link for the American Red Cross Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund on our website for Living Light friends, students, and graduates who want to donate. Details in our March Newsletter here. May peace find its way into all of our hearts.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day so I sent my children off to school this morning wearing green (well, my son’s wearing it and my daughter has on a ton of green eye liner) and with some extra treats in their lunches. For the past few years, my kids and I have set up a little leprechaun hotel the night of the 16th. We set out treats and make a tiny place we think a leprechaun might want to stay for the night. We’ve always been successful – so much so that the leprechaun always leaves us a thank you gift in the morning. But seriously, my kids are getting a little old for this. Even my son suggested we skip it this year. I’m always worried that we’re making him grow out of things along with his sister which may be too early, so I insisted. The leprechaun brought each of the kids a pack of gum, and they were happy to shove some in their mouths on the way to school in defiance of the rules. I must say, they were good sports about the whole thing as obviously the only one of us not willing to let go of this tradition is me.
In light of events across the Pacific, I’ve been feeling extra grateful for my kids, their health, our comfort and safety, etc. It’s so easy to forget how precious our day to day lives really are. I’m sure we’re all feeling that way right now. We at Living Light want to reach out – not just to the people of Japan, but to you – our friends and family – and make it easy for you to do something. We’ve set up our own account with the American Red Cross so we can all make donations safely and confidently. Please visit our website soon for details. Together we can make a difference!
Just a few more days left until our next series of culinary classes begins. There are still five spaces left in the six week Gourmet Raw Food Certification course. We are always excited to meet our new students in person and find out what they are planning for their future with the skills they acquire here at Living Light. Frequently potential students ask me about the Gourmet Raw Food Chef training. Do I really need the advanced courses, are they worthwhile?
Of course I am going to say yes, and not only because it is my job. I also do not lie. In my interview with Cherie Soria the first time I met her, I told her: “I will not lie to anyone I speak with, Ms. Soria. I am not a telemarketer, and though I have the “gift of gab” if our classes are not legit, are not truly outstanding, or are not something in which I can believe, I will quit.” That was over four years ago.
I often speak with the students after they’ve finished a class and I ask them: “Was it worth it?” Most say, “Oh my goodness, yes!”
Some say yes, but I would like to see . . .(insert suggestion here).
I love both types of students, and I’ve watched Cherie incorporate our student suggestions time and again. Cherie listens closely to the students and their suggestions, since she wants to help people in the best possible way to succeed and be able to help others. She is a teacher of teachers, after all! We have created several new classes since I first started here, in response to students speaking out and sharing their needs and desires.
Some of the popular new classes we’ve added include Sharpen Up Your Knife Skills, Food Design for Photography, and our newest class with Jennifer Cornbleet, the Advanced Instructor Training Certification Series. More details on the latter coming up in our newsletter and future blogs…only two opportunities to take it in 2011 – July and September. Stay tuned….
It seems that everywhere we turn, the color du jour is GREEN. And methinks it’s not just because it’s March and the green wind is whistling through the trees. No, it’s bigger than that. It’s the collective consciousness making a huge shift for the better. Whether it is New York Times famous food writer Mark Bittman touting the glory of greens and simple vegan pleasures, or Ellen Degeneres giving Lady GaGa a Kale Bikini on her TV show, or my friend Maria writing a wonderful book on sprouting in Spanish, the trend is clear. There’s no turning back now. It’s a leafy green revolution all the way.
Sometimes working at a raw food school it might seem that the rest of the world is taking awhile to catch up, but when you look around you’ll find them everywhere, and I don’t mean Leprechauns. I mean green revolutionaries. If you’d like to be a part of the green wave of the future, Living Light is the place to learn the tricks of the trade. As the revolution progresses. there will be many who want to learn the secrets of a plant based diet. Now is the time. The next full Gourmet Raw Food Chef Certification series begins March 19 and there’s only 5 spots left!
Sometimes the universe gives you little unexpected signs that you’re doing some things right. This time the unexpected sign was in the form of a thirteen year old girl. My daughter’s class is going on a field trip next week and she actually said she wouldn’t mind if my boyfriend and I went along. Definitely not what I expected. But – it sure makes me happy. I’ve been feeling a bit inadequate lately as the bills pile up and my desk just accumulates more and more little post-its – all flapping in the breeze of my own anxiety. At least my kid’s willing to spend some time with me. Something’s going right.
How are you at goal setting and time management? I find these to be rather elusive. I try and practice with things like, “Finish your tea before it’s ice cold” which encompasses both and makes me feel better about myself for a minute. But I don’t think that’s the sort of thing Jenny Cornbleet means in the description of her new class: Advanced Raw Culinary Arts Instructor Training Certification. If you’re an Associate Chef and Instructor grad, or soon will be, you’ll want to check it out. If you want to make raw food your career, she has it all spelled out for you, and will give you the tools you need to really take your business to the next level. This class will be a fantastic confidence booster and a great way to re-connect with Living Light!