Saturday, June 28, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Loincloth

The Loincloth

I head out on vacation (to see my family in South Dakota) on Sunday and won’t be writing for a couple of weeks. After I get back, I will be interviewing Barry Dennis (, a truly inspiring speaker and remarkable writer and musician. Barry, one of the most multi-faceted and talented people I know, founded the COEXIST Celebration in Portland, Oregon, which I now consider my spiritual home. I’m thrilled to be a member of the COEXIST visionary group, which I will write more about after I interview Barry.

For now, here is something of particular interest for any of you who – like me – often look at the massive consumerism in our society, shake your head, and go WTF…? (Or something along those lines, especially when you find yourself actively engaged in it!) This is an excerpt from Barry’s Book, THE CHOTCHKY CHALLENGE (Hay House, April 2012), a book I highly recommend.

            The Loincloth

            In the 13th century, a great master lived in a cave near a small village in Nepal at the base of the Himalayas. Today that village is known as Katmandu. At this time, however, there were fewer than 500 villagers. The master had renounced everything of the world. He had need of nothing other than his robe and sandals. He took only one new student every ten years. When the time came for a new student, several young men from the village made their cases but only one showed true promise. His name was Fu.

            After a year of tutelage, it was time for the student to denounce all things of the world. He was to learn to trust the universe to provide, as did his master teacher, who proudly presented his student with his own humble, flowing garb. And so it began. The student found a cave nearby to be his home. He was to do nothing but meditate until the master returned from a spiritual trek for an undisclosed amount of time.

            Fu was quite content. The universe did provide, and he was happy. He lived in harmony with nature and was greatly loved by the villagers. One day some friends came for a visit, and there was Fu, sitting blissfully on a rock in his cave.

            “Fu, you would be much more comfortable with a loincloth,” one of the villagers remarked.

            Fu replied, “I have renounced all things of the world. I am content and happy with nothing but that which my master has given me to wear.”

            “As you wish,” his friend said. After they left, however, Fu began to consider a loincloth. Maybe it would be more comfortable. But then he remembered his master teacher’s words and was conflicted. It is said that he meditated on this idea for many months: to get a loincloth or not to get a loincloth.

            Finally one day he thought, What could it hurt? So he went to the village and, because he was so loved by the villagers, the cloth maker gave him a loincloth.

            He used his loincloth religiously to sit upon as he meditated. He did have to go to the river every so often to wash it, which cut into his meditating time, but it seemed to be a fair exchange.

            Then one day he came to get his loincloth off the branch of the tree where he hung it to dry, only to find several holes. It appeared as though rats had found the loincloth quite appetizing. He considered letting it go. However, he had gotten used to it. It was cushy. So, he went to the village to get a new loincloth, but this time the cloth maker wanted him to pay. He didn’t have any money, so the cloth maker accepted an IOU.

            Fu also got a cat, with a similar arrangement, to chase away the rats. This worked beautifully. The cat chased the rats so the monk could have his cloth. However, the cat became scrawny. He needed more nourishment than the occasional caught rat, so Fu got a cow for milk for the cat who protected the loincloth so Fu could sit on it and meditate. Soon, however the cow became scrawny. There wasn’t enough grass around the cave for the cow to graze upon. So Fu began to work the land to feed the cow that fed the cat that kept the loincloth from getting eaten by the rats so Fu could meditate.

            Working the land, of course, cut greatly into his meditation time. He was making a little profit on the extra grass, so he hired his friends who had recommended the loincloth to work the land so he could get back to meditating. Soon there was so much grass he had to hire more people from the village. It became quite an enterprise. The villagers worked very hard and became strong. They made up songs and even danced as they worked the field. However, over time, they grew unhappy. They didn’t like the working conditions and formed a village union. They made many demands. Fu spent most of his time now dealing with the unhappy villagers. He built a kind-of office and what today would be called a “break room” for the villagers. He also hired a manager.

            Fu was stressed, but had very little time to meditate for release. At least when he did, he had a loincloth to sit on. The cave no longer seemed appropriate, so he built a home next to the office and the break room. He didn’t sleep very well, though, because he was concerned about his loincloth. Each day he milked the cow that ate the grass that fed the cat that kept the rats from chewing on it.

            The next season there was a great drought. They could not grow the grass that fed the cow that fed the cat that kept the rats from getting into his house and chewing up his loincloth. The business went under, and the villagers were very upset with Fu. Under so much stress he had forgotten to pay back the IOU for the cat and now he barely had enough to reimburse the cloth maker. When he tried to return the cat, it ran away while chasing the rats who had just absconded with his loincloth. He ended up paying back the cat lady with his sandals and the robe off his back. He then became known as the naked beggar. Cold, dirty, and hungry all the time. A few years later, the master returned. He barely recognized his student, there in the street, nude.

            He said to his apprentice, “My son, what happened?”

            With great remorse, the student, unable to hold eye contact, finally confessed, “Master, I got a loin-cloth.”

            The master shook his head in grave disappointment and said, “You Fu!”

--Barry Dennis (Mythical, from THE CHOTCHKY CHALLENGE)

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Some Authentically Good Recipes

Some Authentically Good Recipes

I recently received an invitation for an e-mail recipe exchange. I care about the person who sent it and wanted to respond, while knowing it would be challenging to find 20 people willing to take the time to share a recipe. I thought about just ignoring it, but to ignore anything from someone I love feels less than authentic.

It had been a challenging day at the office when the invitation came in. I stayed late without having moved my undone tasks to the next calendar day. I wanted to go to the gym before my 5:45 chiropractic appointment. I reallllly needed an adjustment, and I don't mean just in my spine. Doc Harrington did a great job getting my spine adjusted in more places than ever needed before. It took longer to adjust my mental state.

Writing down these recipes and passing them along to my friend, while declining to participate in the recipe exchange, helped. I hope you enjoy them.

Robert Duvall's Mother's Crab Cakes (from Oprah)

-1 lb crab meat

-2 heaping TBSP mayo

-2 eggs, lightly beaten

-1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (my "secret ingredient" for everything from meat marinade for grilling to sloppy joes to baked beans)

-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/2 small onion, grated (don't try and dice or food process it - grate it)

-1/2 TBSP mustard powder

-18 Ritz crackers, crumbled


***See possible additional ingredients below.


Combine all ingredients except the crackers. Add cracker crumbs as close to sautéing as possible so they don't get too moist.


Form into desired size patties. Sauté in butter (oil isn't going to work) on medium to high heat (turning it down low isn't going to work) 10 minutes per side. Crab cakes should be crispy outside and moist and juicy inside.


Easy tarter sauce: mayo, grated onion, lemon juice, and maybe some sweet pickle relish.


***I have to add these suggested ingredients after having my friend Chris Kyle's crab cakes, while I haven't made crab cakes myself since: Red bell pepper, fresh basil, fresh lemon juice, hot sauce. The basil especially added a fresh flavor I just loved. I'm guessing cilantro might work, too. Chris serves his crab cakes with a fresh rosemary aioli sauce.


Kale Smoothie


I recently purchased a Vitamix and am now making my own smoothies. Here's one of my favorites so far. I love the fresh, green taste and all the nutrients I am getting in a glass. I have added banana, strawberries...really, I think you could add just about anything in the fruit or veggie arena and it would work fine. (Maybe not tomatoes, but I might try that too!!)


-1/2 apple

-2 C kale leaves

-1 C spinach

-Fat free vanilla yogurt to put in the bottom

-1 TBSP ground flax seeds or flax seed oil

-1 C ice on top


Blend until smooth.


Fresh Corn Succotash (no lima beans!)


I Googled a recipe for corn succotash after falling in love with the dish at The Cheesecake Factory. (It comes with their spicy chicken tenders called "littles", along with amazing garlic mashed potatoes.)


-Kernels cut from four ears of corn

-1 red bell pepper, cut into fine half inch strips

-1 yellow bell pepper, cut into fine half inch strips

-1/2 onion, diced

-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

-1 TBSP fresh thyme leaves

-1 TBSP fresh bay leaves, chopped

-About 1/8 C olive oil

-About 1 1/2 TBSP butter

-Salt & pepper


In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook until translucent, about four minutes. Add the corn and bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the herbs a minute or two before the veggies are done.


Potatoes Deluxe


Now for something truly fattening, not healthy, and really good and always a hit with dinner guests...


-2 lb. bag frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

-1 C diced onion

-16 oz. sour cream

-1 can cream soup (chicken or celery for vegetarian)

-1/2 C butter, melted

-8 oz. shredded cheese

-Salt & pepper or other seasonings to taste

-Crushed potato chips (1 C) for topping


In large bowl combine all ingredients except for topping. Spread into 9x13 cake size pan, top with crushed potatoes chips. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.


And two last tips: for either chicken salad or tuna salad (the kind made with mayo to spread on sandwiches or tortillas)...add some diced jalapenos (I'm talking pickled from a jar, not fresh in this case), shredded cheese, and in the case of tuna salad, two boiled eggs, diced with one of those wonderful egg slicers that cost like three ninety nine at your local store.


Enjoy cooking, putting love into the food, and eating with loving appreciation!!


Authentically Yours,



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Encrypted Patterns

Encrypted Patterns

In Don Miguel Ruiz’ important book THE FOUR AGREEMENTS, the third agreement is “Don’t Make Assumptions.”

This is not necessarily easy. In fact, I suspect most of us make so many assumptions, so frequently, about so many things – without even being aware of it – if we can get to the point where we even question whether or not we’re making an assumption, that is gigantuous progress!

I’ll choose one particular scenario as an example. Some people seem prone – if not to flat out road rage – to becoming easily irritated or angry with other drivers on the road.

“Learn how to drive!” Honk, honk. “He cut me off!!” Honk, honk, hoooonnnnk. “You a**-hole!!!” Flip the bird.

Sound familiar?

It seems to me one of the easiest places to make assumptions is from behind the wheel. But what if the guy who cut you off in traffic just left the airport en-route to the hospital, where his wife is in premature labor with their first child?

Another is in hearing and reading about celebrities. “Yeah, I’d look like that too if I made a million dollars a movie, and had a personal trainer, and a plastic surgeon, and a nanny. (And you know that picture was photoshopped anyhow.)”

Sound familiar?

I’ll readily admit I think there is way too much emphasis on celebrity and physical appearance in our culture. And, of course, anyone is going to look better after two hours in the chair with the makeup artist and hair stylist. That said, noone can know the schedule of and demands on another person’s time without being in that person’s life. Even the best personal trainer can’t exercise for you. Personally, I love to exercise and don’t feel good when I don’t. But working out two hours a day every day…? No thanks.

Yet perhaps even more destructive than the assumptions we make about others are those we make about ourselves.

I am not a person prone to road rage. My tendencies lean in the opposite direction. Someone honks and my first thought is “What did I do wrong?”

I remember once when I was in the Transformational Voice Training Institute Apprenticeship program, in between jobs, and short on money. My voice teacher left a voice mail asking me to call back as soon as I could as there was something she wanted to discuss. In the moments leading up to my return call, I felt concerned, even panicky, wondering if I had made some colossal mistake, offended someone, or if I was behind in my studies, etc. It turned out Linda was losing a roommate and was calling to offer me a place to live!

Whatever experiences and socialization led to our individual encrypted patterns (or ingrained tendencies, or old shit, or whatever term you want to use), being aware of them is helpful. Knowing they exist, and to look for them, can help avert assumptions and open up authentic potential for a new way of looking at things, a new choice.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Stupidest Thing I Ever Said

The Stupidest Thing I Ever Said: The Duck Story

When I told my fiancé I was writing a blog post entitled The Stupidest Thing I Ever Said, he kindly reminded me about something else I recently said that could equally be categorized as stupid. That would be the question: “Why is the water so wet?”

I don’t think that really counts as stupid, though. See, we were at the park on a sunny day, about to toss a Frisbee; I took my shoes off, and when I removed my socks they were wet. It hadn’t rained in days and the grass looked dry. What I MEANT to say was “Why is the ground so wet?”

So, that was really just one word coming out when I meant another. 

The duck story is another matter entirely. My friend Natalie kindly reminded me of this today after I had made a trip to the duck pond, as I call it. (A little man-made lake—with a fountain in the middle—where Mallards and Canada Geese flourish and have babies, near an office building across the street from where I work.) It has been a couple of years since this happened and I had completely forgotten about it.

Natalie is a walking buddy and there was one particular street where this duck couple hung out. The people in this one particular house fed them cracked corn or something…Natalie and I saw the couple (the ducks, not the people) several times in front of the same house.

Then one day we were walking on a different street, several blocks away, when I spotted the same Mallards. (And here is where I write like a novelist—and not a very good one):

            “Look!” I said, pointing.  “It’s the same ducks from that other house, way over there!”

            “Sure enough; it is!” said Natalie, smiling.

            “Gosh,” I pondered, watching the ducks waddling along, “I wonder how long it took them to walk all the way over here.”

            Natalie quizzically raised her eyebrows as she looked at me and responded, “Perhaps they…flew?”

My reaction would have made a good movie moment. Boy, did I feel STUPID.

God’s Honest Truth. I temporarily forgot, even while looking directly at the wings on their bodies as they did the walking waddle, that ducks can fly. All I could imagine, in that particular moment, was them waddling on the sidewalks and streets all the way from Lehman Avenue to The Street A Block Away From The Elementary School.

That’s funny.

What’s not so funny (see bubble bursted) is how we limit our sense of our own potential in the same way.         

In E-SQUARED, Pam Grout writes that the brain receives 400 billion bits of information each second. It would take nearly 600,000 books just to print 400 billion zeros, to give you an idea of how much information that is. Geez Louise, as my friend Nancy used to say. So what does our brain do? It narrows down and screens to something like 2000 bits of information per second. (Gosh, that doesn’t sound like so much, huh? Yikes!) So what we actually choose to take in is only one-half of one-millionth of a percent of what’s out there, as Grout says. And then she goes on to talk a lot about neuro-pathways in the brain and how we are programmed to think a certain way and only see certain things…and rather than get into that any further I will simply recommend her book. It’s great.

Can I just say, well for God’s sake, no wonder I forgot for a few minutes that ducks fly!

But I’m making a commitment to remember that I can. Maybe not with wings, but with my spirit, my imagination, my heart, thoughts, words and actions.

You do the same, okay? Because I’d hate to see you waddling all the way from Lehman Avenue to The Street A Block Away From The Elementary School, forgetting that you can fly.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Stop Fighting Yourself

Stop Fighting Yourself

Learn to listen to the messages your body gives you. Rest when your body feels tired. Eat when your stomach tells you it’s empty. Drink when your throat feels dry. Cry when your eyes sting with tears. Laugh when you’re bursting with happiness. Dance when your feet feel the urge to move.
–from MOMENTS FOR MYSELF, a calendar by Blessings Unlimited

Stop fighting yourself. You know what you need.

Authentically Yours,