Tag Archives: resolutions

What fills your silence?


First, goal progress: In bed by 12:00 a.m. ish Jan 21, Up at 7:15 a.m. ish Jan 21.


My favorite podcasts, in not quite random order. You can find most of these on iTunes except Vegan World Radio and my own show, All Things Vegan.

Any recommendations for me?

All Things Vegan, episode 2


First, goal progress: In bed by 12:00 a.m. ish Jan 20, Up at 7:15 a.m. ish Jan 20. It’s all becoming a big blur.

Finally, our second All Things Vegan radio show is completed and ready to air (and stream live) tomorrow (January 21) at 4p. We were bumped from a half hour to an hour show, and did a last-minute interview today, so we had a lot of material to record and prep. All Things Vegan airs every 3rd Friday from 4-5 p.m. on KPOV 106.7. Listen to the archived show. Now, just like last month, I’m going to go collapse.

We all have reasons for moving


First, goal progress: In bed by 1:00 a.m. Jan 19, Up at 8:45 a.m. Jan 19. (I’ve been working on the second All Things Vegan radio show every night since Sunday, so it’s hard to get to bed early this week.)


In spite of having a Writing and Literature degree, I’m not a big poetry fan, but tonight, I leave you with my favorite poem from college, by Mark Strand:

Keeping Things Whole

In a field

I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Mark Strand, “Keeping Things Whole” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1979, 1980 by Mark Strand.

Electronics revenge


First, goal progress: In bed by 11:45 p.m.? Jan 17, Up at 8:15 a.m. Jan 18.


So, I gave my iPod a compliment (battery life) on twitter earlier this week, and complained yesterday in this blog that it was keeping me from my own silence. Today, it decided to freak out and not let itself be recognized any longer by iTunes (on any computer), and in spite of my spending several hours going through all the tips and tricks online, I still have no access to my podcasts. What does this tell us? We always hear the negative comment. Sorry, iPod, I need you back; to keep me company, to keep me informed, to keep the crazy voices away.



First, goal progress: In bed by around midnight Jan 16, Up at 8 a.m. Jan 17.


A Year of Mindfulness: 52 Weeks of Focus – Week 3

As you continue your mindfulness practice this week, think about ways in which you ARE and ARE NOT disciplined.

Take a look at the goals and intentions you had in mind as you began this mindfulness practice. What intentions are happening for you? Which ones are getting left by the wayside? How are you wasting time? What distractions creep in that detract you from doing the things you really want to do . . . or need to do? What thoughts limit you from reaching your true potential? If you are a yogi, what gets in the way of regular asana practice? What drives you toward regular practice? How disciplined are you with listening to your body? What does it need? Do you listen? This is self discipline too. What of your mind? Does it run rampant with thought? Can you discipline yourself to a regular meditation practice to learn how to quiet it more regularly? How can you be mindful this week while working with the concept of self discipline?

Here’s how I resist: How can I quiet my mind when there is already so much to do, to learn, to catch up on? I’ve been in the habit of listening to podcasts at every spare moment: during exercise, walking the dogs, painting the house, getting ready for work, doing the dishes, feeding the animals. It’s gotten to the point where I’m uncomfortable doing these things without the iPod, as if I’m afraid of what pure silence might bring, or say. Or I’m afraid to lose this multi-tasking time. When else am I going to keep up with everything that’s going on in the vegan world, or with my workout guy, or Flylady? This month, I’m trying to take some time in the mornings to just be with my thoughts sans ear buds as I go about my morning routine, listening to whatever comes to mind. The animals are pretty quiet in the morning too, and hubby is not up yet, so we do our little rituals in mostly silence. It’s not easy, but also not as hard as I expected.

At the beginning of this month, I had started to meditate in the mornings. I was only committing to 10 minutes, because that seems like such an attainable goal. And the time does go by very quickly. But as I’ve lacked discipline with my getting to bed early habit, my mornings have suffered. Meditating and writing have been the casualties. So, I will continue to work on my sleep schedule, which means ending this post, maybe before I am ready to. Good night.

French Lentil Chili & weekly goal recap

French Lentil Chili

French Lentil Chili

After a long afternoon at our Ask a Vegan table at Whole Foods, I came home to a warm bowl of French Lentil Chili that I had put together in the morning and left to simmer in the crockpot. I’ve been trying to incorporate more lentils into my diet since they are so good for you, and have made many soups and loaves over the last few years. I don’t love lentils, but I don’t mind them as long as I don’t have to eat them too frequently. Usually, I buy the brown lentils, because they’re cheaper, but the French lentils were on sale yesterday, so I thought I’d give them a try. The first recipe I happened upon was this one from Vegan on the Cheap. It’s pretty much what I would have put in a crockpot soup anyway, except I did go heavy on the chili powder and the cumin to emphasize the chili aspect. I think it turned out well; the little green firm French lentils are a nice change from the brown lentils, as they don’t get as mushy. I’ll list the ingredients per the recipe here; of course, I adjusted the quantities and cooking method to accommodate my crockpot. I also left out the sugar and the vinegar. I might try adding some vinegar to a bowl tomorrow to see how that changes the flavor.

French Lentil Chili


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 medium carrot, minced
1 celery rib, minced
3 garlic cloves
1½ cups French lentils
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups water
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (optional)

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, chili powder, salt, cumin, thyme, sugar, pepper, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  3. Cover and simmer until lentils and vegetables are soft, about 50 minutes, adding more water if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, if using. Serve hot.


Weekly goal recap: Goal – Go to bed by 10:30 p.m., get up by 7:15 a.m. every weekday for a month. (This started out as 10:00 p.m. & 6:30 a.m., but I revised it to be a little bit more realistic for my current sleep cycle and commitments.)

  • In bed by around 11:45 p.m. Jan 13, Up at 9 a.m. Jan 14.
  • In bed by around midnight Jan 12, Up at 8:15 a.m. Jan 13.
  • In bed by 11 p.m. Jan 11, Up at 8:15 a.m. Jan 12.
  • In bed by 1 a.m. Jan 10, Up at 9 a.m. Jan 11.
  • In bed by 11 p.m. Jan 9, Up at 7:15 a.m. Jan 10.

Obviously, I’m having a bit of a hard time going to bed early. And this doesn’t take into account when I’m actually going to sleep, which could be up to an hour after I’m in bed, depending on how engrossed I am in my reading. I still think 10:30 / 7:15 is possible and realistic, so I’ll go for it again next week. I also know that I have a busy week ahead, with our All Things Vegan radio show to finish up for airing on Friday. Hopefully that won’t produce too many late nights. My co-host is a night owl too, and we both have day jobs, so we do tend to work on the show in the evenings and into the night.

One drawback to slipping back into a later schedule, is that I lost the time in the morning that I had been using to read, write, and meditate before work and other things take over. Those habits are important to me, so I will renew my efforts Monday.

I also noticed that if I don’t put something down in my calendar, even something fun, that I will forget about it or not make plans to go. I missed out on two events around town this week that I would have liked to attend and could easily have gone to, if only I had scheduled them.

Weekly goal recap: Goal – Be 15 minutes early for everything for an entire month. This means leaving 1/2 hour early to anything around town.

I didn’t have too many appointments this week; most of them were meeting my co-host at the radio station to work on the show and do some interviews. I made it on time or was early for most of them. I did fail abysmally today though. I had agreed to meet at 1:00 p.m. to set up for our Ask a Vegan table at Whole Foods. But because I didn’t adjust the time in my calendar, I remembered 1:30. And then I arrived at 1:40, thinking I was only 10 minutes late. It didn’t even occur to me until after the event that I had done that.

How do you decide if the deciding is already decided for you?


First, Goal Progress: In bed by around 11:45 p.m. Jan 13, Up at 9 a.m. Jan 14. Sigh. We can see what my natural pattern is.

More from Keeper: one house, three generations, and a journey into Alzheimer’s by Andrea Gillies:

I also come across some rather startling research to do with the electrical impulses that carry information between neurons. Apparently, studies of the action potentials have found that they fire up before we decide they should be doing whatever it is that we’ve asked of them: for instance, to turn a page or flip a fried egg or pick up a stone on the beach. Experiments showing this to be true were begun by the research scientist Benjamin Libet in the 1970s, and continued in 1985 in a scientific trial done with people who flexed their wrists at will and signaled the moment of deciding by marking the position of a rotating disk. Extraordinarily, it was discovered that the appropriate neurons fired up a full half second before the moment the subjects “decided.” The interval is known as Libet’s delay. In terms of the speed of the electrical impulse, a half second is a very long time. What seems to be happening is that something below or aside from consciousness is making decisions before we think we are making decisions. Something else in us, backstage of our deciding, appears to be deciding before we decide. It reminds me of a British TV series called Yes Minister, in which civil servants manipulate a member of the government, convincing him that he’s in charge when the truth is that the real decision making is going on elsewhere. In April 2008, an experiment using fMRI scanning not only confirmed that Libet’s delay exists, but went further, showing decisions can be predicted up to ten seconds before deciders “decide.” (Or course, it’s possible to argue that these are ten seconds in which the subject is observed in readiness, preparing to do something as instructed by the experimenter.)

This raises all kinds of questions for me about the nature of self and instinct and mind. If we’re not consciously making decisions, then what part of us is? (Note I said what part of us, not who.)