Archive for October, 2010
Our October newsletter is all about creating your future. The focus is on our graduates and how they are excelling in the raw world now that they have completed their training here at Living Light. There are some wonderful stories included – you should check it out. I know you’ll be inspired if you’re thinking about a future in raw food. And if you’re already in the field and are ready to take your recipes to the next level, check out our brand new class in recipe book writing. There’s no other series like it in the industry, and Cherie has lined up some super fantastic guest instructors. Also new next year is an advanced teaching course taught by Jennifer Cornbleet. Your future can’t help but be brightened by taking these classes!
When I was a kid, I thought the future was a destination – a Jetsonian city in the clouds some measurable distance away. We’d all be talking on our video phones, riding around in rocket cars and the future would have arrived. We’d be there – done. It isn’t exactly like that though, is it? I mean here it is, 2010, a date I certainly thought of as well in the “future”, and not only am I still riding around in a dumb old regular car, I’m no closer to some sort of static utopia than I was when I still believed there was such a thing. (On the bright side, I don’t feel any closer to the zombie apocalypse my kids are so certain is coming either, haling from a more optimistic era…). Whatever our concept of the future, eventually we just roll into it and it doesn’t feel like anything different. And, seriously, we can create our futures. The future can be super far away or in a minute. Our attitudes, our goals and our dreams today will inform us of what’s in store.
If you read my blog last week, you heard about my Dad, and his journey in America. Today, as part of our Day of the Dead observance honoring our ancestors, I’ll tell you a little about my mother. She was born Virginia Ruth Rowell, and when she was twenty-five (in 1938) she discovered a new religion called the Science of Characteristics that made sense to her (and at the time to my father as well). Everyone in the family changed their names in accordance with the new religion; I am the only one who was born with a “true” name. Her new name became Helen HZ Schuler. I was born Hilloah Heigh Pheigh in 1948.
She really was an amazing woman and ahead of her time. One of the benefits of her religion was that everyone was health conscious (they were the brave new world after all). We were vegetarians and did not eat head lettuce. It was not until I was 21 that I realized that not eating head lettuce, and eating leaf lettuce instead was beneficial to my health and had nothing to do with religion!
During World War II, my mother Helen wrote a column about Victory Gardens and instructed people on how to black out their windows so that enemy planes would not be able to see the lights at night and therefore drop bombs. As you know, Archie and I have a garden of our own. Everything we grow is organic. We love our fresh fruits and vegetables. Here at Living Light, we only use organic produce, as I always inform my potential students. It makes such a difference to the individual and the planet to shop locally, eat organic and grow your own vegetables if you’re able. It’s still a victory!
I was born after the war and my mother went to work for the State of California. When I was two she and my father divorced, and neither ever remarried. My romantic soul wonders what their hearts are up to now.
Today several of us took a few minutes off from our computer tasks to make some brightly colored paper flowers for the Day of the Dead Altars we are creating together as a company, and as a community on the Mendocino coast.
We got the idea of making the paper flowers when I stopped by one of my favorite shops, Art Explorers. As we were working together, fashioning the paper flowers, we talked about making crafts in school, and shared some school memories of ourselves as children, and of our own children’s experiences in school, and I realized that in some way, doing a very simple task like this is a microcosm of how we can collaborate together in bigger ways. We did the altars last year for the first time, and this year we are seeing them come together almost easily and effortlessly as each person becomes a part of the effort. Someone is bringing a tablecloth, someone else found candles, I found some gorgeous little flower shaped orange plates at the thrift store, a couple of us are making cookies, and besides making the load lighter for each of us, there is a true sense of joy in a shared project. Everyone is eagerly “pitching in” to make it happen, and in the process we are seeing how easy it can be to support each other in a shared experience.
This seems particularly significant because Day of the Dead celebrates our ancestors – those who came before us and paved the way for us to become who we now are. And Mary Elizabeth just wrote a blog about the United Nations and all of the work it is doing to bring the world together and offer help and sustenance to people in a variety of ways. I really do believe that this is the new paradigm for the 21st century. It’s how we will get things done.
Here at Living Light, I won’t say that everything is always easy or completely stress free, but I will say, that over time we are learning better and better ways to cooperate and support each other, and the more successful we become at nurturing each other as a Living Light family, the more our potential power to transform lives is translated to our students. Like I said, we are a microcosm of what is possible in the world around us, and for that I am grateful.
Today is United Nations Day. Not one of this country’s bigger commercial holidays, as discussed last week, by any means. But – what a significant global accomplishment! Many members have called for today to be observed as a global public holiday so as to draw attention to the work they do. UNICEF, the UN Human Rights Council, the International Labour Organization – there’s a lot going on at the UN besides long speeches and those fascinating little translator things.
Our next class coming up here at Living Light is Ethnic Flavors in Recipe Development. It’s the first in our trio of advanced culinary classes needed to complete one’s Gourmet Raw Food Chef certification. It involves creating dishes within the flavor palettes of different global regions, allowing students to develop their own Thai or South American dishes, etc. without sacrificing creativity for authenticity. And based on the samples which sometimes find their way into the administration office, it’s a culinary feast of both.
Speaking of the office, we had a little potluck picnic in honor of United Nations Day this week. We brought in yummy international treats and enjoyed sharing a meal together. (I ate way too much which, of course, isn’t at all unusual but it went a bit far – even for me.) Anyhow – if you’re an Associate Chef and Instructor graduate of ours you should consider taking Ethnic Flavors. Our 2011 schedule is now available for planning your advanced culinary training. Maybe next October 24th, you can celebrate United Nations Day with an international treat of your own.
Since my November newsletter topic will be The Power of Gratitude, I’m doing a mini blog about the subject today. Number one gratitude item: it’s Friday afternoon, and I’m looking forward to the weekend. The weather is getting all misty and foggy and mysterious…only nine days til Halloween! Everyone knows black cats on Halloween are good luck AND they have nine lives.
Now, isn’t that a coincidence! And I’m grateful that Brenda Hinton introduced me last week to one of our real life angels at Living Light. Someone who has taken time out from a busy life to come to our school and volunteer her time in our school kitchen, and of course learn oodles of interesting things in the process!
We’ve had many wonderful angels in the 5 1/2 years I’ve been at Living Light. Koali Pontual Thorne is not only an amazing kitchen angel, but a terrific photographer as well. She’s doing a series on Facebook called My Life as an Angel, and I highly recommend that you friend her on Facebook to see the amazing photos she is taking in our kitchen. I’m absolutely blown away by them. Thank you Koali, for documenting your experience here at Living Light. No one else has done it in quite the insightful and artistic way that you have, and I’m grateful that you decided to join us here to share your multitude of talents.
At left is a collage Koali did about one of our famous dishes, Linguine Parody with Pine Nut and Cashew Truffle Cream. Super delicious looking as well as tasting! I’m grateful that each angel who comes here brings individual gifts that we couldn’t have imagined before we met them. And our students, too, each bring with them amazing talents and life stories. We’re very lucky to attract such wonderful people here on the rugged Mendocino coast–a little oasis all it’s own.
And I’m grateful that our pastry chef, Meagan Ricks came back after just a couple of months being away. We just love her sweet smile and winning ways, not to mention her sweet treats! And during the holiday season we will have our rightfully famous Pumpkin Pie with Cashew Cream available at Living Light Cafe!
Since my ancestors are at least half Swedish, that makes me a Scandinavian, and one of my favorite places to visit in California is the Danish village of Solvang . There is so much to see and enjoy. One of the best places to shop is Nordic Knives : they have knives and swords. It is such a cool shop! One time, my former husband took my arm and dragged me out of the store. “Why did you do that?” I asked. “Because you had a look on your face like you were remembering a past life as a Viking and I had a feeling that you were about to loot and pillage me!” I do remember when he was on the Mark Twain riverboat at Disneyland – he had that same look, and I wondered if his hair was going to go white and if he would start dressing in white suits like Mark Twain.
My father was born in Sweden in 1906 and came over here third class on a ship (no steerage for him!) in 1921. After landing at Ellis Island in New York, he got on a train and went to California where his mother and her new husband lived. The conductor pinned his tickets to his chest: when the ticket opened up it was about 10 feet long! At each stop, the conductor would pull off part of the ticket so it got smaller as time went by. I do not know how many days it took him to go across America; it took my former husband and me three days to go from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Georgia on Amtrak in 1973 with our 10 month old baby girl, Phyllis.
My two youngest children were born in October and the two oldest were born in November. Yes, three Scorpions and one Sagittarius. I am a Gemini and their father is a Virgo – it was an interesting mixture. My father had asked me to put some part of his name in my children’s names. Since his name was Wolf Arvid Hjalmar Lindvall there was no way I was going to give my children any part of his name! (I’ve had too much attention with my own name, I was NOT going to do that to my children!) Many years later I told this story to my boys, and they got upset. “You mean I could have been named Wolf? Mom! What were you thinking?” Go figure.
I must be thinking of my parents because of our upcoming “Day of the Dead” celebration here on the Mendocino Coast. At Living Light, we’ll be featuring our famous pumpkin pie at the cafe, and we are creating altars to honor our ancestors–one in Living Light Cafe, and one in Living Light Marketplace. Our whole company participated last year, and it was really interesting seeing photos and memorabilia from our Living Light family. Speaking of family and ancestors, next week I will write about my eclectic mother.
Listening to while I write this blog…the song playing right now is “Until the Real Thing Comes Along,” which makes me wonder about the nature of reality. What’s real? In my last blog entry I had a quote from about finding that “happy place” so that you are vibrating at the resonance of your desire. Sounds like heady stuff, but is it, really? I think almost every one of us has had the experience that when we are feeling good, the Universe seems to smile on us, making it seem as though everything is just naturally falling into place.
One of our graduates, Brenda Hinton, who now teaches FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods and Essentials of Raw Culinary Arts at Living Light, (as well as doing a host of other fantastic things), is a great example of this principle. A breast cancer survivor, she prefers to focus on the fact that she thrives, rather than just survives -check out her license plate! A week or two ago she completed a half marathon race. You just never know what she’ll do next! And she’s just one example of what our students can do. If you are not yet subscribed to our newsletter, I suggest that you sign up. You’ll be amazed!
I’m a host on Womens Voices on a local public broadcasting station, KZYX, and I’m always encountering extraordinary women. The resiliency of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me – just last week I interviewed Deborah J Swiss who wrote a book about convict women transported from the British Isles who helped create one of the most democratic societies in the world in Australia. Next week I’ll be honored to speak with Jean Shinoda Bolen, author, Jungian analyst, and activist. These thoughts on her webpage inspire me, and remind me of what we see every day in the students who arrive at Living Light:
“Activism and individuation (to find a meaningful, inner directed, chosen life-path) come together when the choices we make express who we are. There is a soul purpose to life. Be centered, and archetypes, dreams, and synchronicities provide depth and direction. As one phase of life shifts into the next, energy becomes free to take on something that is personally meaningful, fun, creative, and motivated by love.”