January 21, 2011

Passion for the Language of Food

Growing up in Italy taught me that, by honoring food traditions, we restore meaning in our lives and remain connected to the earth that feeds us. This childhood teaching was reinforced by living in Bali, where I learned that everything is alive.

Even though life's form changes through the alchemy of activities such as cooking, its essential vitality persists. By working as a whole foods cooking teacher, I encourage myself and my community to connect with sources of nourishment and feel more vital during everyday experience. I trust that food is alive. When we work with it, we speak our life stories, which often become a teaching for others.

I notice that, when people gather to cook food, shared experiences inspire greater depth. When someone inspires, he or she literally 'breathes in', affirming the life force that constantly re-establishes harmony between self and environment. This balance allows us to be in the world with enthusiasm. This word traces its etymology to the Greek word theos, 'spirit'.

I raise awareness of nourishment's many forms through a culinary discovery process, which demonstrates how the language of food affects our lives. When we recognize ourselves in the context of what we eat, we gain a greater capacity to adapt to a situation and thrive. By appreciating our roots and embracing them through preparing and savoring creative meals, we breathe, speak our experience, and remember the life force that connects all beings.

On Bali, daily offerings to the spirits are sculpted from foods such as rice, meat, and fruit.

January 20, 2011

Meditation on Nourishment

Since childhood, my entrepreneurial spirit has motivated me to start creative initiatives. From crafting art holiday postcards in grade school to starting a fair-trade Indonesian textile import business after graduating from college, I have always noticed my community's needs and acted on my natural impulse to fulfill them.
I feel most satisfied when my livelihood aligns with my passion of inspiring others to make harmonious choices.
How can you find balance between nourishing yourself and helping others?
For me, this peace comes through the art of cooking. I listen to my body and engage in a dialogue with myself about what can best feed me right now. It might be a walk in the woods, a cup of tulsi (sacred basil) tea, or a particular food. When I give myself permission to hear my own inner voice and take the time to respond with my outer actions, I establish harmony between myself and my environment.
Then, I can go into the world and help others!
Let us remember that life is a journey. How can you be satisfied with the way things are?
Explore this meditation, taught to me by my yoga teacher, Prem Prakash, as a tool to gain appreciation for your life.

Imagine putting down all your responsibilities, worries, and burdens. Just leave them in a heap on the floor.
Walk away.
Come back to them and scoop them back up as light, downy feathers of privilege.

This is your life...and mine. There is no destination, but there are ways you can gain a greater sense of freedom within the structure of your own reality.

Here is a feast table set on a volcanic rock during a recent trip to the big island of Hawaii. Grilled salmon, sweet potato salad, avocado mango chutney, and other delights!

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