Food made with Love – Zen Organics Farm Visit

A trip to a farm is a great family day-trip. And imagine this, you can do a farm visit through HomeGrown Foods in Hong Kong! This past weekend my family took a trip out to Zen Organics with a group of people from Slow Food Hong Kong: we picked; ate and listened to the vegetables.

Joey, the farmer showed us around her farm and let the kids harvest vegetables from the farm. We had so much lettuce we gave extra produce to our neighbours. The badge Joey is wearing is from the youareloved.ca collection.

Hong Kong has a growing movement of people who are concerned about the quality and character of their food. There are several restaurants in Hong Kong that are focusing on the source and quality of food by supporting local agriculture.

Chef Todd, from Posto Republico says that the “quality” of the food is an integral part of creating a tasty dish. Finding the right quality of food is difficult in Hong Kong as so much of our food is imported from so far away. The closer to the food is to home the better the quality. As well, the more farmers/acre of farm results in better quality and higher nutritional value of food. Of course those farmers are adding the secret ingredient that grow the best vegetables: LOVE.

Recently when I was asked for my secret “discoveries” for health as a Naturopathic Doctor I reported, “The most important aspects of good nutrition is to eat food that is grown, harvested, cooked and eaten with LOVE.” I believe if we eat less food, with a higher nutritional value, and huge quantities of LOVE there will be food for all of us.

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Tooth Transformation – Best Conversation I had this week

This week I had the pleasure of visiting the Lion’s Outdoor centre in Sai Kung. I went with a group of 11 people (five children & six adults)! We breathed in the fresh air; walked through a butterfly forest; looked at “poisonous caterpillars”; and observed a display of the butterfly life cycle.

Unfortunately the rain was starting to come down quite heavy, so no butterflies were flying in the forest. However, we did collect useful information on the types of butterflies in Hong Kong, and the type of flowers which attract the butterflies – good information for our school butterfly project!! (more about this later)
On our long taxi drive home the kids and I were talking about our own life cycles – we were inspired by the butterfly metamorphosis I suppose. We started to talk about our tooth-loss stories.

One boy was feeling his first loose tooth; “More like a wiggly head” one of us suggested playfully. The same boy explained how he had kicked out the tooth of his big brother as they wrestled one day. The little brother was very proud of being able to a part of his big brother’s life changes. The big brother explained how he had swallowed one of his teeth when he lost it, and how his dad had had to pull out one of his teeth that just wouldn’t let go.

I told a story of my own stubborn tooth. My father suggested the “age-old door handle method”: attach a string around your tooth and attach the other end to a door handle. Well you get the picture. Luckily all the fooling around with a string on my tooth caused the tooth to fall out in it’s own. No need for dad’s door slamming assistance!
Every tooth that my young friend had lost had a traumatic story attached it, explained his mother. Blood, accidents, extractions by dad. And the whole thought of losing a tooth made the boy feel ill.
“I don’t suppose you are going to be a dentist when you are older?” I asked sarcastically. Other peoples teeth would be an improvement, agreed the boy.
Our war wound stories brought us all closer together. We all have common human experiences of change and transformation. How appropriate too that our tooth-loss conversation was right before Easter. This is a time for transformation: from winter to spring; dormancy to new life; and from baby-teeth to adult teeth. We’ve all managed so much change in our lives, there is no limit to what we are capable of next…

Window Ledge Planting Beginnings – Advocado Seed Instructions

Has anyone ever tried to sprout an Avocado Seed? I have failed many times. I just found these instructions, so I’m trying again. Wish me luck!

Adapted from: Sprouting an Avocado Seed – by Richard Jauron, Department of Horticulture

  1. remove the large seed from the center of the fruit, wash it in water
  2. insert several toothpicks into the sides of the seed; halfway up the pit
  3. suspend the seed in a glass of water. The bottom one fourth of the seed should rest in water  (the broad end of the seed is considered to be the bottom)
  4. periodically add water to maintain the water level
  5. remove the toothpicks and plant into a 6″-8″ pot when the roots are at least 2″-3″ long
  6. top of the seed should be level with the soil surface; water thoroughly
  7. place potted plant in brightly lit location (east or west window is ideal)
  8. Water the plant regularly. Keep the soil moist, but not wet.
  9. Fertilize once or twice a month during the spring and summer with a houseplant fertilizer.

Avocado plants grow rapidly. They often have to be discarded after 2 or 3 years because they’ve become too large for indoors. (Never produces fruit inside- it may take 20 or more years to bear fruit!) If it doesn’t sprout within 2 to 3 months, discard the original avocado and try again!

Inspired by NIA – a Multi-sensory Exercise Experience

I have been going to NIA classes for the past four weeks. And I happy to say that I love NIA! Along with the benefits of getting exercise & being in a dance class again; NIA inspires me: to think, act and react differently in the world.

Love WEEK

I started going to NIA during LOVE week (the week of February 14 & Valentine’s Day). The focus of the NIA class was to be love in the world. I was inspirted by the NIA class. I was inspired by the Beckoning of Lovely event during Social Media Week http://m.socialmediaweek.org/imps/smw/event.html?event_id=1033&rnd=1224773 And I was inspired with the new focus and energy I freed up by reducing my practice hours. The “youareloved campaign” is one such outlet. I attribute my ability to get this campaign started to the week of love.

The campaign is going well, up to 10 recipients now. Although I had hoped to reach one person each day my production is not as high as I’d imagined it could be. As I want each gift to be unique, I can’t set up an assembly line… Although I did for St. Patrick’s Day:

BIG WAVES & Comfort Zones

Ocean Recovery Alliance

Ocean Recovery Logo for Doug

My second week of Nia was focused on stepping outside one’s comfort zone. I was excited about this one, as Tracey, our instructor, used the analogy of living on one coral reef and taking a step off to explore the ocean. Because I have been involved in the HK Ocean Film Festival http://www.oceanrecov.org/hong-kong-san-francisco-ocean-film-festival/info.html I was doubly inspired by the Ocean films. As the NIA class imagined ourselves stepping off our familiar coral reef, we “felt” the waves grew large and scary – creating a great ride. However, when we made it to the next coral was worth all the fear; the next coral was an exciting and beautiful place.

This week made me think a lot about my life: my issue as an urban nomad, I don’t have a regular. I feel like everything is new each day. There is no regular place for me to go (although I have been meeting people regularly at MANA!) There is no regular place for our family to hang out (although the walk up the Peak and a trip to Saffron Bakery is lovely). These kinds of “regular” are good! I feel that coming to a completely different continent is a “step outside” my comfort zone. Moving house every two years to a different country is another step beyond comfort. My comfort zones are more about interacting with the world wherever I am – learning to trust the abundance of the world.

WomenHood

During women’s week, we were to celebrate life, celebrate woman-hood. That day, our Nia instructor asked us to do one thing special for ourselves. We celebrated and had a party. Every class there is time for a dance party. The NIA class participants move their bodies to the extremes. I enjoy my little weekly dance party with my dance partners. We always steam up the windows!

Relaxed Aware Waiting

Last week we were discovering the RAW that is NIA – learning a new way to listen.

This week I have trying to be RAW in my interactions with my friends and family. With everyone I meet really. The idea is that you keep your body relaxed with your mind alert for subtleties and wait for the message from the other being. When you truly pay attention to the words of others, you will truly hear their story and have empathy for their situation. It is easy to become distracted by other things, or even your own thoughts. Now I am keeping the RAW motto in my head so that I stop what I am doing, relax my body and become aware of the thoughts in my head and I wait for the words of the other person.

Tomorrow I am excited to take a special NIA class with a guest instructor from Beijing, Jen Schwerin from Beijing http://www.nianow.com/niachina a NIA black belt holder! I am excited to learn how Jen will guide our class towards the merging of the Music and Movement and watch us create Magic. Join us?

Twitter How-Tos for Newbies

As a newbie to Twitter and “tweeting” I thought I would share my top ten tips on proper “tweetiquette” for writing Tweets:

  1. Keep it real, be honest & be positive
  2. Keep your tweets short, to allow others to retweet & add their own message
  3. Create catchy intro & add a link, e.g.,
  4. Pick a topic you are passionate about & use # “a hashtag” to intro your topic & become the “go-to” person for that topic
  5. Sarcasm is only interesting to a point – you need to be sincere
  6. Lingo: we “tweet” (the action), but we do not “twitter” (the Platform)
  7. Using @ – also known as a “handle” – sends a direct message; include a “.” before the @ to make message public
  8. Observe proper retweeting – RT: or Name: before quote and @: @ if 2nd degree retweet
  9. Ask before you tweet – would I want to know/see this about someone else?
  10. Respond, to: follows, messages, posts. Go make some friends!

The Game of 100 Steps

After my huffing and puffing up the stairs sections of the Hong Kong Trail, I decided I needed to do some extra training. So, this morning I decided to do a few extra steps at the end of my usual Morning Trail walk.

It was a hiking pal, Lorna (a.k.a. Stair Master) who explained how to access the extra trail to the real peak of my backyard mountain. I thought I would just challenge myself to a few steps, start with 100 say. However, as I started to ascend the beautiful and solitary path towards the sky, I couldn’t just stop at 100. I tried 100 more.

Suddenly I was startled by a large wolf-like animal on the path. I remembered my training yesterday and the polar bear and instead of feeling frightened imagined myself playing with the wolf. Fortunately, the scarey wolf was actually a white, fluffy dog enjoying the stair climbing herself along with her owner.

I continued up the trail and kept the idea of playfulness and fun as I slogged up another 100 steps. It was the game of 100s as I proceeded to complete all 550 (I may have missed a hundred) stairs. I was having fun counting and listening to the music of the wind. Who knew exercise could be SO fun?

At the top I was rewarded with the views of both north and south island – for which you will need to climb up yourself (or wait until I am generous enough to share & bring my camera!). And a strong, cold Hong Kong wind threatening to make my journey downhill, much easier & faster!

You Are Loved Campain

You Are Loved Campain

Yesterday my eight-year old son asked me why did I twitter? What was the purpose? This boy is meant for thoughts far greater than mine. (Apparently infinity is the number just before one?) As I walked down my mountain along the Morning Trail I had to start thinking as I do. I tried to come up with an reason in answer to my child’s question, WHY?
Playing the why game over and over in my head?
Mom, why do you twitter?
Because I want to say something to the world
Why do you want to say something?
Because I have interesting ideas that I want to share with the world
Why do you have interesting ideas?
Because I am always thinking about how the world is and why we interact with each other and other non-human beings.
Why do you think about “interacting”?
Because I love being around other beings and feeling their energy and learning from them.
Why do you love learning?
That is what life is all about for me. It is about learning from other people and discovering what they are thinking.
Why discover?
Discovering allows me to expand my own concepts of the world (of infinity) and questions about why we are here. Why I am here.
Why “expand”?
Because it is FUN!
Now, that I can understand, mum ; why didn’t you just say that in the first place?
YOU ARE LOVED

AFTER THE CLEANSE – enjoying the rain

AFTER THE CLEANSE

There is an album of piano music by the composer Eric Satie called, After the Rain. It is a soulful, reflective album. However, throughout the album there is a sense of loss and regret for letting go of the past. It is as if the pianist never really wanted the rain to end.

I feel a tinge of regret for having to let go of what was not working for me: all of my addictions – both physical (caffeine, chocolate, wine) and emotional (anger, jealousy, disappointment). In fact, the idea of not having any “thing” to blame my problems on is quite frankly, terrifying. Our lives, our happiness, our choices are ours. That is what is reassuring about having “things” to blame; they provide a distraction for the reality of choice. Yet, we have a choice in how to react in any situation.

I chose to remove myself from a situation that was not nourishing for my soul. But, the question remains, what is next? Even though I was unhappy where I was, at least I didn’t have the time to analyze why it was that I was unhappy. Now I am revaluating everything. Trying to re-create myself – how tiring!

Isn’t it rather haughty of me to even discuss these “choices” as something that is difficult? As I watched the film, Babies, there were these women raising children in an agrarian society. You thing they were asking, “What should I do with my life?”No, they were living it: nursing babies; making red paint to clean their bodies; preparing food; and spending time with each other.

My Human Design analysis has re-assured me that I am meant do something creative with my life. So, I am putting it out there. I would like to be involved in more creative projects: art, medicine and Cambodia?

So rather than blaming the rain for making us wet, we should blaming ourselves for not enjoying the rain while it is falling.

Day Seven & Day Eight

Day Seven

This was a day of rain. The rain came down the mountain as a cloud of mist. The dragon is coming down the mountain for new year!

We were all inspired to walk up the mountain. We put on our layers and quickly were surprised by the heat of day. The mountain walk was quiet and serene. We pushed our way up to the peak. Really not so bad compared to our first attempts when we initially arrived in Hong Kong.

We asked each other if we thought we were ambitious. Do you work on things, despite how hard it seems at first? Do you keep pushing yourself until you improve? Music, math, Mandarin, etc. Yes, replied my son. Look, he said indicating the raincoat draped over his arm. The raincoat was supposed to be covering his body, not his forearm.

Day Eight

You are ambitious. You were one of our top members. That’s why I enjoy talking to you.

I don’t feel ambitious; at least I don’t feel ambitious about the future. I feel like I am one of those people who want to live in the past. Like Owen Wilson’s character in Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris.

Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present… the name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one is living in – it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.

I wish that my kids walked to the local school house with their pet dog. They would meet up with other friends on the way. They would eat lunch on the lawn in summer time. On a beautiful spring afternoon, the teacher’s would cancel lessons and have a picnic and a game of soccer instead.

I wish that my kids came home for a hot lunch of thick chicken soup and home-made bread.

I wish that I got my milk from my goats in the yard. And that I sold goat’s milk cheese and goat’s milk soap.

I wish that I made all my children’s’ clothing. And in the summer I would make jam from the wild blackberries growing on the edge of our property. All of our friends would get together and do canning and pickling when the harvest season arrived.

What am I doing living in a city that has no green? I thought I was an urbanite, but this city takes it all to the extreme.

I am burnt out. I have nothing left to give. I need to rebuild. I need to restore my “self”. I know what I want. I want peace and quiet. I want nature. I want to be outside – not on a cement path – on the ground. Do you know that I never touch the ground in Hong Kong? There is no ground. I am ungrounded. I have lost it all. I am having a nervous breakdown.