…You must know you have an unlimited reserve of energy. Once you invoke your energy, there is nothing that is small in you. All the environments start flying towards you. It’s beautiful.
“Cross the frontal area of the grey matter so that you can see the huge multiple universe we call love… Love is the basic grit with which you can combat death, negativity, attack, it’s a vibratory effect. I want you to experience it.” Yogi Bhajan
“In collage we take images that can never possibly co-exist, and arrange them in the same frame. Thus we train ourselves to expand our sense of what is possible.” Andre Breton
This collage was created over the course of a few hours last friday night. The sewing lady called out to me and then the rest of the images just formed themselves around her. Sometimes you just enter the flow state and it’s the best feeling ever. I feel like creating a collage is an alchemical process that transforms me. Then sometimes the piece is doorway for the viewers psyche to enter that same space. Imagery and symbols, like sound, send the mind automatically in a direction. I think that is the idea of all sacred art. It sends the mind into a good direction. I think it is all so fun, but it is useful too!
Artists don’t have a monopoly on creativity! Everyone is creative every single day by virtue of being a human on the earth.We have co-created everything we are and everything we see, touch, taste, feel and think. It is a creative universe and we are a part of it! Each unit of the hologram contains the whole hologram. We are all creative beings whether we know it or not. Being an artist involves one thing – deciding to be an artist. ANYONE can be an artist. If you need proof of this just google Jeff Koons or Richard Prince. Creativity is a mindset.. making art work is a decision. Plus no one said it has to be good. I think it is more important to be having fun with it than to be making a living or being recognized. In fact, those 2 things can be deadly for the creative spark unless you are clever and fierce in your desire to keep it real. What is real is your flow state. You, being in your game.. losing track of time as you bang away at whatever it is you do. This applies to all mediums. The flow state is better than any drug.. you are the drug. The art is all you need to elevate your whole perspective. It is a means and an end. You just have to do it.
HOW TO TAP IN?
1. Meditate. This can be any practice that gets you in the zone. I obviously think Kundalini yoga is the most potent and effective form available today. It is a technology to open the energy of your Soul through the body. It is something to experience, instead of just read about or “believe in”. For great online Kundalini Yoga check out RA MA TV.
2. Start something. Just pick something and start it. You don’t need to know what it is going to be. You don’t need to know how it is going to turn out. You do need to just start. Start today.
3. Do it everyday. And then just.. keep going. Really thats it. The work will unfold itself through you. But you have to show up. If the inspiration just stays inside your head.. you will never really understand what it could become. You will be fulfilled in direct proportion to the effort you put in. And if you don’t feel inspired anymore.. go back to step one.
Thats all there is to it. The world needs what you are carrying inside you and now is the time.
GO FOR IT !!!!!!
“The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.
Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.”
Steven Pressfield The War of Art
It is ironic that my favorite thing to do in the whole world — create stuff — is also something I avoid quite expertly. The resistance to jumping in to the creative flow is real! I have successfully avoided writing this blog post for over
a month two months and have been thinking about it all day before finally making myself sit here as the summer light fades through the window. Sure it is writers block – but I also experience this same dance with everything I make. I love collaging so much that I have made an 11 year career out of it, yet I still feel like hiding out before almost every creative session. There is a fear that if I sit down this time, nothing will come, the magic won’t happen. The creative flow is something I can summon but not control. Real creativity is always a co-creation with the universe. When I am “in the flow” I am tapped into something greater than myself that is literally flowing through me. It is a sensitive, very meditative process. It is you showing up for You! A spark really happens when we just show up. So thats why you just have to start.
Just starting sounds easy enough. Deadlines are great for this but sometimes you don’t have that luxury. So what then? Here are some of the ways I go about opening up the inspiration flow. The first two suggestions are universal and the last three may be the most relevant to visual artists and specifically collage art.
1. Create the space
Depending on your location and resources, this can mean many things. But most important and first – turn off social media, email and your cell phone, and don’t turn them back on until you have logged some time with your art. Then figure out where your ‘power spot’ is in your studio, home or wherever you are. This is as simple as just realizing that you really like a certain chair next to a certain window – that you feel good there. Then figure out what you need to feel really solid and ready. If it is too dark where you are, get some more light. If its too messy, clean it up (within reason! Don’t delay your art making to chase after perfection!) This is about creating a space that supports your creativity, and it is not about being rigid. So figure it out to the best of your ability and do it fast! You have art to make and there is always room for more improvements later!
We have explored here how sound is a physical force that moves energy. Well it can also move you into the “zone” ! I have always been a lover of all kinds of music, but it is in the last 8 or so years that I have really started to understand how different music creates different energy states in the body and mind. This is a fun area to experiment in. Let what you are trying to express dictate what kind of music you play. For me it’s all about the mantra music these days. I love the pure high vibration of mantra – I feel like the intelligence that is carried in that sound current really opens up the flow in the most beautiful way. Just go with what works for you- what excites you – what music makes you feel alive? Play that.
3. List making
Ok so you have a space and you have some music. Now you have a lot of thoughts in your head to face. My solution is to make lists. I make a list of topics that inspire me and I also have my work / errands lists close by too. I write down the work related stuff as it comes in to my head, to be dealt with later. I love writing lists of what inspires me because I get to remind myself of all the elements I can then put in to my work.
4. Image gathering
Once I have my lists, I then go on imagery hunts. I look for old and obscure images as these are usually copyright free and I love them the most, so win win. My favorite places to look for imagery are thrift stores – old encyclopedias are the best – and the picture file sections of public libraries. Online I like to look at Wikipedia and The Commons section of Flickr. I like to search with words that are even remotely related to my topics of interest. I find that I get pulled down many rabbit holes but as long as I am finding images that excite me, it is worth the time. I save all the images in a folder I usually name for the season and year it is. Thats the best way I’ve found to remember where to find it later but if someone has a better way to organize imagery archives, please let me know!
5. Letting colors lead
Once I have a good amount of raw materials to work with I like to look at all of my inspiration in the folders at once. I then open those files that I am most excited about, and I start putting images and elements together that speak to each other. For me this means that the colors go well together and sometimes the meanings of the images do too. I very much let the colors lead me, especially in the beginning of creating a collage. At this point I am usually in the zone and the ideas are popping like popcorn. I love this part so much! I hate even stopping to eat when I am in the flow like this and I really love to eat …
So there you have it. I hope these suggestions help you to just. do. it. already. I am convinced that starting is the hardest part. So just go jump in, you’ll be so glad you did. HAVE FUN. Let me know how it goes.
I grew up wanting to be a fashion designer. I love clothes. I love expressing myself with what I wear and I love seeing how others choose to show themselves to the world. What I don’t love is the group think that happens when certain styles are proclaimed to be “in fashion”. The mindless following of fashion trends is outdated. It’s time to think for ourselves.
When clothing is done right, it is one of the highest forms of self expression. People get a hit of who you are in a split second of seeing you and what you are wearing. Wearing certain cuts, colors and fabrics make us feel things. It’s a kind of art that everyone is invited to do, every day.
However, the fashion industry doesn’t want you to think for yourself. You are the best customer when you are following trends and feel the need to be “in style”. I used to read a lot of fashion magazines before I realized that instead of feeling inspired they made me feel inadequate. I will never have the body or face of a fashion model and that is fine, but it’s the clothes themselves which are often times so out of reach ! Thousands of dollars on an outfit that is not a wedding dress or covered in gems?! For most people this is not a realistic budget. It’s boring and depressing to constantly lust after things that are not and will not ever be on your actual shopping list. No thank you. I prefer reality over fantasy, personally.
The fashion business is about making money and lots of it, and the old Piscean culture (still) at large is about control through conformity and caste systems (yes, caste systems in America too) . They work beautifully together. The fashion people tell you what you should be wearing, and our cultural program teaches us to judge each other based on what we are wearing. We keep ourselves in line this way, it’s like a self policing system embedded into the fabric of every day life. And by the way, I’m not saying it is wrong to judge based on clothes, it is actually helpful to do most of the time. It’s just interesting to step back and see how it all fits in to the big picture.
Imagine if clothing was only about keeping warm and individual self expression. No more ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ boring crap. Imagine a world where a human is taught from day one to think for themselves and honor their own creativity! I think it would make for much more interesting outfits, just for starters !
To go deeper into the subject, read about how clothing shapes our energy and about dressing the chakras. I look forward to writing a lot more on this subject – ‘the energetics of hair styles’ and ‘shoes as control devices, coming soon !
I have noticed a mis understanding of this word among those who even recognize it at all. Seva is a word you hear a lot if you go to yoga classes or have been to India. Sometimes a yoga studio will have people do work exchange and call it seva, which is misleading. The word seva means “selfless service”. Seva is not work exchange. Seva is not volunteering to then get something tangible in return, like “free” yoga classes. Pretending seva is some kind of work exchange is dull and uninspiring.
So what is “selfless service” ? Why do seva if you don’t get anything in return? Well that’s the thing. Pure seva is supposedly selfless, but I have gotten so much in return for any seva I have done that on a certain level it seems like the most selfish act in the world.
The concept of seva in the west is basically the same as “volunteering”. Why do people volunteer? To help a cause or an organization they believe in. If you ask someone what they get from it, you would hear a lot of answers but a recurring theme would be that they feel like they are “making a difference” and that it is empowering on some deep level. So we are getting something pretty important from the exchange, it’s just not something overtly related to money or material goods. But what are we gaining exactly from this “selfless service” ?
The answer I found that resonates is this: “Seva is an energy exchange with the energy field you are serving.” So whatever force/ lineage/ higher power you are serving, you are receiving blessings and energy from that source. It can be on a purely universal level as well – your beliefs don’t need a name for this to work. When you give without thought of the return, the universe has to take care of you. Yogi Bhajan said, “The law of the vacuum is that there is no vacuum”. When you give selflessly, you open up a space that has to be filled by the universe. That is also the reason why tithing works. What you give comes back to you multiplied.
One of the 5 sutras for the Aquarian age is “The other person is you”. Practicing seva is a really practical and empowering way to experience the truth of that. After all, they say what goes around, comes around. All in the fullness of time…
(when I was thinking of the ultimate example of “Love in food”, I thought of this amazing birthday cake my husband made for me a few years ago)
Food made with love tastes better and is better for you. I feel like this is the most obvious yet least acknowledged fact. We know it is true but we don’t know how it actually works, so it gets overlooked. “Love is the secret ingredient” is an anecdote we might see written in swirly letters on a new age cereal box or as a cute addition to a recipe write up. The irony is that it is so true. It is an open secret. We aren’t taught about this in a serious way and I feel like this is our loss. The intention with which food is prepared is just as important as where it comes from and what it is made of. Let’s explore why this is.
Quantum theory states that the act of observation affects the observed. I’m thinking of that as I try to find the best way to describe the relationship between the cook and the food. Obviously the cook is transforming the food by chopping, mixing, heating etc. but food contains more than its physical components- the vitamins, minerals, protein etc. The subtle energy we call prana that is running through every living thing is also something that is ideally in our food. I say ‘ideally’ because often prana is not in food anymore. Overly processed packaged foods don’t have prana. It is the prana in food that nourishes all of our other energy bodies (11 bodies total!) . Fresh foods in general have more prana than cooked, canned and processed foods. But the energy of the cook can add prana to ANY food by the consciousness that is given to the food preparation.
A cooks energy field as a whole has a tremendous influence on the pranic energy contained in the food they prepare. A human can have an aura that reaches 9 feet in every direction. So the food that is being handled by the cook is IN THEIR AURIC FIELD. The cook can add love to the food simply by thinking loving thoughts while preparing a dish. One can also use a mantra and chant it silently or out loud while preparing the food. Playing mantras in the kitchen also works. Practicing mindfulness by being aware of the breath and all the sensations while cooking can make the whole experience of food prep a meditation. If we enjoy the process of cooking chances are we are adding love without even realizing it! It isn’t complicated. Just the intention to add love works.
This subject makes me think about the awareness that restaurant workers bring to their jobs – and how , if you pay attention, you can taste and feel it! The fact is that many people that work in restaurants are underpaid and under-appreciated and that has a definite impact on the food they make. The vibe of a restaurant is just as important to me as the “fresh, local, organic” ingredients. I would rather eat something made with average ingredients prepared with devotion and love than something made with exceptional ingredients but prepared with anger and indifference. If you search your memory banks I am betting you can come up with an example or two of both scenarios!
So, moral of the story?! Put love in the food you eat and prepare for others! Get intentional about it and see what happens. My guess is that you will enjoy it more and feel healthier after you eat it. It’s easy, free, powerful and delicious!
My next post on this subject is going to be about the power of “blessing” food before you eat it. Another simple practice that can transform food and your relationship to it.
Thanks for Reminding Me 48″ x 107″ Acrylic , House paint, Graphite on canvas. 2010
Jodi Fuchs is my favorite painter alive today. The energy and scale of her work (she paints BIG), the living colors, and the inspired motifs and patterns all resonate with me so much. Her work has a vibration that changes the room it’s in. Some day I will have a Jodi Fuchs original on my wall but until then I’m super stoked to have her work featured on my blog!
Jodi is also a super fun, down to earth, beautiful human being that I’m so lucky to call a friend. We got to know each other over the years in Harijiwan’s living room when he used to teach out of his home in those pre RAMA days of yore. Then maybe 4 years ago we teamed up and produced a holiday art/craft show at her pop up gallery in Santa Monica. It was so fun working with her and my cousin Ashley Wade (of Action Cookies fame!) on the event and we learned a lot .. but never again! Amiright ladies!? So much work you would not believe.. But anyhow, all that to say is we got to know each other pretty well through the experience and I just love her to bits! I’m super excited to share this interview I did with her recently. Hopefully you’ll be inspired by her work and words as much as I am.
Fierce 31″ x 62″ mixed media on canvas 2011
1. There is so much I love about your work its hard to know where to begin! I guess I’ll start by asking about how you first got in to painting? Did you always want to be an artist?
Thanks so much for having me and for your kind words! I’ve always had a creative impulse even though I didn’t study art in school. My education was a never ending series of strange creative jobs– working for photographer’s hand-tinting photographs, as a production assistant on several tv shows, assisting graphic designers on rock star’s tour books, etc. I took some evening classes at Otis Parsons for graphic design but felt like the surface areas were too small for me. I like BIG. I then moved onto classes for faux finishing after working as a set painter on movies and got some great painting gigs. The first was working with a team of artists that marbleized an entire shopping mall in Vegas. That skill set lead to working on high end homes where I learned all about the decorative arts and enjoyed creating environments. The house was the canvas. Then after 20 years of physically challenging work, climbing ladders and painting ceilings, I decided to focus more fully on making my own paintings.
2. Did you go to art school and how did going/not going influence you as an artist?
No, I didn’t go to art school and in a way I’m glad. I learned all about color and color mixing while doing decorative painting and painting sets. I read tons of artist’s biographies and really resonated with the abstract expressionists in NY during the 40’s and 50’s. Sometimes I wish I had more formal training but I also think not going has freed me up to play the art “game” in a different way. I was always interested in the healing arts and studied massage, energy healing, feng shui and kundalini yoga. I think as an artist, “school” can be anything that captures your imagination.
3. I love how your work is so infused by your energy and inspired by your love of meditation and travel. Can you talk a little bit about what your process is when you are creating?
Ah, the great mystery of creating. I tend to follow my intuition and stay out of over conceptualizing my approach. Basically, when I’m faced with a blank canvas, I start with color, anything to get the white out. I’m into mark making and gestures and letting the energy of where I am that day lead the way. Traveling informs color choices and sometimes content as does the meditation. I’m often drawn to sacred imagery but really it comes down to energy. I just want to be a conduit for the creative energy force of the Universe. I think it’s infinite, always available and it’s really about how clear a channel I can be to let that come through me. I don’t paint if I’m in a bad or weird mood. I just do admin stuff instead. lol
The feminine energy of both Hawaii and Bali were so healing to be in and as a painter, I think it’s really important to be in that feminine receptive state of mind. I swam a LOT, many times with wild dolphins which is my passion, and as a result, the work I did in Hawaii was very watery and fluid. I didn’t intend for that to happen but it did and that’s what I love about painting and traveling. It’s a new way to see the world and as an artist I’m creating new little worlds on the canvas so it’s really a perfect marriage.
5. Your prayer paintings are so powerful and fun — can you tell us about them and some of the experiences you have had creating them for yourself and others?!
One day I started making a painting by writing down my heart’s desires on the canvas. Then I filled in the loops of the letters and the negative spaces with color, pretty much obliterating what I’d scribbled, but I loved the result. Even though the words were indecipherable, I knew the energy was still there. I showed the piece to my art publisher and she went to press with it! The Secret Language of Prayers was the name of the piece. I loved that my prayers were now being broadcast to thousands! Talk about getting the word out! I decided to offer this service of creating custom prayer pieces for people and it’s been so rewarding. I’ve done memorial pieces, house blessings, health prayers and lots of marriage paintings where I weave the vows of the bride and groom together. I was even a live painter at a wedding once and wrote the vows on the canvas as the couple recited them. AND it was on a boat.
6. I love that you are doing design consultations for living and working environments now — canyou tell us about it and all the modalities you are weaving into the practice?
Well I’ve studied feng shui with several different teachers as well as Space Clearing techniques in Bali. I love color and I understand energy flow so it just felt like a great melding of all the skills I have to help people create supportive environments in their home or office. I’m offering color consultations, decorative painting, staging, feng shui cures and space clearing to begin with. Even rearranging pieces that you already have can be effective in “upping” the wattage of your space, as well as balancing the 5 elements with objects and color.
7. If you could paint on any surface in any location in any size – on the whole planet – where would you and why?!
I’d love to paint an elephant. Have you seen the decorated elephants of India? Amazing! I’ve ridden elephants a few times in Bali and I just adore them. Talk about a large canvas! It’s also pretty cool that elephants make paintings. I saw demonstrations of this at the park in Bali. The elephants were given paintbrushes loaded with paint and they used their trunks to create a piece. Mesmerizing. And pretty good abstract pieces!
2014 for me is about creating a solid body of work as well expanding into products. I’d like to keep creating images for my 2 art publishers and also get my work into more galleries. I’m also applying for some grants so I can continue to travel and paint as well as looking into international artist residencies. San Miguel de Allende is on my radar. It’s a wonderful art town in Mexico and I’ve wanted to go there forever. I have my annual open studio at the Santa Monica Airport art walk coming up on Saturday March 15, 2014. I’m also looking into creating a line of tshirts and contemplating some products I can co-produce with some Balinese artisans. So, just a few things. I also started an art blog, finally, and am excited to write and share my work this way. I’d like to eventually create a book to inspire people to create!
Thank you so much Jodi!
Check out more of Jodi Fuchs’ work online at www.jodifuchs.com
Buy prints and original pieces on her etsy shop
Heart Chambers 18″ x 18″ mixed media on panel
above un captioned images from the top:
Jodi Fuchs in her Santa Monica studio
Living the Dream 12″ x 12″ mixed media
Prayer Painting : Kelly and Chad wedding ring inscriptions 48″ x 36″
Blessed B(e) 76″ x 138″ mixed media on canvas 2011
Sixty years ago everyone smoked cigarettes and no one was talking about how bad it was for you. Even pregnant ladies smoked back then and barely got a side eye. I mean, people smoked in airplanes!?! Can you imagine this today? I am convinced that some time in the not very distant future that we will look back at the ubiquitous unprotected overuse of cell phones and laptops and be similarly appalled.
Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF’s) exist around all electrical objects and organisms, including the human body and even the earth. The earth has a frequency (Schumann Resonance) that humans have been tuned to for thousands of years. When we are in natural environments we can feel this pulsation – picture how you feel barefoot on the beach. Your body is connecting to the natural EMFs of the earth. Now think about how you feel after sitting in front of a computer all day. What I have realized is that computers and the smart phones put me in a trance like state that is so subtle and addictive that it’s taken me many years to even notice it. And why is it exhausting if we are just sitting there anyway?
The technology that has quite literally changed every part of our lives has happened SO FAST. Anyone over 30 will remember the times when the best way to be in touch on the go was with a pager and you didn’t even have an email address. Back then we were not sitting with laptops and cell phones all day (Not to mention all the cell towers and wifi..). It really wasn’t that long ago. It is starting to dawn on me – the toxic side of this new way of life. I have been so wrapped up in using this technology that I never really stopped to think about the side effects. The rise of personal computers and the internet has created a whole new economy and exchange of ideas that has really empowered people in so many ways. It’s effects are EVERYWHERE! There is so much good that we can’t just get rid of technology, we have to learn how to live and thrive with it.
There has to be a way to work with technology intelligently. We just need to know what we are dealing with and take appropriate measures. I feel like it is important to strengthen our own electromagnetic fields with Kundalini yoga and meditation so we can keep our circuits healthy and strong. I do believe there is a way to be in harmony with modern society. Our harmonious frequencies will co create a better world. We don’t all need to run out of the cities on to Luddite farms. This is a big subject with many facets. The next step for my husband and I is to get laptop radiation shields and more crystals and orgonite products. My next post on the subject will be to discuss which products seem worthwhile. In the mean time I am curious to know if you use any radiation protection devices and what they are.
To learn more, check out this fascinating documentary that will really illuminate the subject. “Resonance – Beings of Frequency” —
My mom, Anne Eichelberger Tazewell, opened the first vegetarian restaurant in Norfolk ,Virginia in 1976 with 3 friends when she was 21 years old. She is an amazing cook and I had always heard about these times when I was growing up – the story was a foundational legend of our family . Anne’s first experience working in a natural foods kitchen was at The Golden Temple Conscious Cookery in Washington DC. She also did kundalini yoga at the 3HO ashram there! She never talked about kundalini yoga while I was growing up but I think it is so cool that she did it before I was even born. Another interesting thread is in the very name she chose for the restaurant– the word amrit has a deep meaning within the kundalini / Sikh path as well.
I am so excited to feature an interview I did with her about the experience of running a vegetarian natural foods cafe in 1970’s Virginia. One of my dreams is to follow in her footsteps and open a conscious vegetarian restaurant some day. This is the first in a series of interviews I am doing with all kinds of inspirational people I know and want to know. For so many reasons, my mom’s story of the Amrit is the most fitting way I can think of to kick things off.
Article from the Virginia Pilot – Click to image to enlarge
Can you tell me what you remember about your first job working at the Golden Temple restaurant in Washington DC? What year was it and what did you do there? How did you get the job?
It wasn’t a job, I actually was a volunteer in the restaurant’s kitchen. I am thinking it must have been the summer of 11th, maybe 12th grade so 1971 or 2. I found out about the Golden Temple restaurant from the kundalini yoga classes I was taking nearby. The restaurant was on Connecticut Ave, near Dupont Circle. The yoga classes were in a house near Dupont that was an ashram.
Are there any dishes you remember specifically from the Golden Temple?
What I remember is the lemon tahini salad dressing. The Golden Temple is where I learned how to make this dressing, which went on to be one of the most popular items at my own restaurant, the Amrit. The other delicious thing I remember are the the lassi drinks- lemon juice, yogurt and honey smoothies. We called them Krishna shakes at the Amrit. Maybe that’s what they called them at the Golden Temple.
When did you decide you wanted to open your own natural foods restaurant? Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for the name ?
I decided that I wanted to open a natural foods restaurant when my boyfriend Bill and I were in CA for at a month long retreat with Swami Muktananda at Humboldt State University. The idea struck me sitting at the small cafe at Muktananda’s ashram in Oakland. The ashram’s cafe was called the Amrit, ‘nectar of the Gods’. That’s where the inspiration for the name of our restaurant came from. This was the summer of 1975
The Amrit crew – from left to right, Vernon Herbert, my mom Anne Tazewell, Molly, Janice Herbert, Suzie Meredith Boykin and Bill Boykin
How long did you plan it and how much money did you have to invest?
Friends of Bill’s from NYC- Janice and Vernon- were married by Baba at the retreat. They wanted to join us in starting the restaurant so after the retreat we went our respective ways for a few months. Then in Spring 1976 we had opened the Amrit in Norfolk, VA, in a old building that had sat vacant for a few years. For decades the brick building on the corner of Princess Anne Rd and Colley Ave had been Master’s Drug Store, the place where your grandfather and father went for ice cream cones. Your grandfather lived right next door to Master’s when he was growing up and your Dad went to the soda fountain after his piano lessons. Of course I didn’t know any of that at the time.
Each of the 4 partners invested $2,500. We split the rent for the building with the Norfolk Food Coop who had renovated 1/2 the space, moving out of the basement of a nearby house to join us.
How long did it take to turn a profit?
Not sure what you mean by profit. We did not take out any loans to open the business and lived very simply. For a time your dad and I actually lived upstairs at the restaurant in what must have been originally a store room. The ” profit” is what we paid ourselves and as I recall it could vary from week to week. Some months it was pretty slim.
Article from the Virginia Pilot – Click to image to enlarge
What was the most challenging things about running the Amrit?
Personnel problems! Vernon ended up giving his partnership ( 1/4 share) to Stew, a recovering alcoholic, who had started with us as a dishwasher. This was OK until Stew fell off the wagon and I would get to the restaurant in the morning to prep for lunch and Stew would be passed out on the floor. The other vivid but troubling memory was another homeless guy (we offered free meals to homeless folks) – an older man who looked just like Baba’s guru – Nityananda. Sometimes we had ” Nityananda” do dishes for us and one day I walked in him to find him drinking the salad dressing from the gallon container in the kitchen that we stored in in.
What were the best parts about the experience?
The best part was meeting your dad. The Amrit had a policy of giving free food to musicians. He, as you know, is a musician and offered us an upright piano that we put in the dining area for different musicians to play in exchange for a free meal and tips. The rest is, as they say, history. I also loved bringing a few friends in after a late night out dancing and raiding the kitchen for left overs. We also had a few great parties at the restaurant with the Winged Heart band, the group your dad was playing in with your “Uncles” Steve Pague and Quint Lange. The Amrit was the the hub of a community. I met my closest, lifelong friends at the Amrit. One was Gazelle, Quint’s then girlfriend, your Godmother, the midwife that delivered you and also married you.
(left to right, click image to enlarge) Amrit ‘after hours’ – Anne and my dad’s cousin Tom Gardner // Amrit musician Woody Allen, employee Brian Rayner, and partner Bill Boykin
Do you have any specific memories of what it was like to introduce people to natural, vegetarian foods in the early 70s !?
I loved our customers, especially people that I didn’t expect would know about or like natural foods. Customers like Navy men, office secretaries, auctioneers and attorneys. All different kinds of people were interested and curious about what we were doing at the Amrit.
What were your favorite dishes on the menu?
I loved the Toastie and Eggplant Parmigiana. I also really loved the ice cream we sold. It was honey goats milk ice cream that we got in amazing flavors in 3 gallon tubs. Of course the Eichelberger (our veggie burger) was also a favorite. It was renamed the Tazberger when we got married.
Do you have any advice for wannabe natural foods restauranteurs? Like me for example?!
Know your partners really well! Start simple, build a following and then expand as demand grows.
Also be a good manager- have a good team you trust and then delegate so that you don’t burn out.
I would love to talk with you about this further… You and Jai Gopal would make excellent restaurant owners
YES! Great advice. Thanks so much Mom!
I just watched this video of our friend Mikal Vega accepting a humanitarian award for his work in creating Vital Warrior – a non profit program for veterans. Vital Warrior’s mission is to educate and facilitate the healing of PTSD through non pharmaceutical methods. We first met Mikal a year and a half ago, just a few months after he retired from a 22 year career as a Navy Seal and Chief petty officer. He had gone to my husband Jai Gopal’s Kundalini Yoga class at Yoga West, and they had a lot in common (my husband is a West Point grad and former Army officer). I met Mikal a few months later in Grass Valley, CA at the Conscious Communication level two Kundalini Yoga course. He had jumped into the deep end of the Kundalini pool with that one. That course blew all our heads off.. in a very very good way. Anyhow, we all ended up staying at this uber cute house in the woods filled with teddy bears (for example : random detail – me and my husband’s room had a cartoon skunk and daisy theme) and would come back after doing the most intense self induced energetic surgery (only way I can think to describe it..) to make dinners and eat together. Mikal told us his story over the course of those meals that week. As the granddaughter of a career Navy officer (my dad’s dad) and CIA operative (my mom’s dad) , and my husband being a former military officer himself, it was refreshing for me to see Kundalini yoga and this intense training we were doing through his eyes a little bit. I feel like yoga as a whole is so diluted and mis understood, so when I see it being appreciated and utilized by the kind of folks that REALLY need it – our veterans – it is so exciting and inspiring. Plus Mikal is a genuinely nice person with a wonderful and noble vision that he is actively manifesting. Mikal went on to complete the Level 1 Kundalini training with Harijiwan and Tej in Santa Monica last year. He now regularly teaches Kundalini yoga to fellow veterans while also fulfilling his life long acting dream here in Los Angeles, which in turn supports his work with Vital Warrior.
Visit the Vital Warriors website (and facebook page!) for all the details on the 8 modalities used in the healing of post traumatic stress syndrome. Also check out Mikal’s IMDB and facebook page to be inspired and in touch with him.
I feel like defending bread for a minute , or at least looking at the cons – and PROS , of the subject. Wheat and gluten has gotten a bad rap lately and I know there is a lot of truth to the hype. Maybe I am just an addict (I LOVE BREAD!) but I do think there is some legit reasons to question this anti-bread message being broadcasted so loudly everywhere right now.
I am in the discovery stages of this subject.. I am learning as much as I can and I invite your input !
This is what I’ve found so far:
Wheat Belly : “After witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat, Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic — and its elimination is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health. In Wheat Belly, Davis exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as “wheat” — and provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle.”
Dr Mark Hyman’s take: “This is not the wheat your great-grandmother used to bake her bread. It is FrankenWheat — a scientifically engineered food product developed in the last 50 years.”
Living with Phytic Acid : the Weston Price take on the subject. Kind of depressing.. but very solution oriented..
Sourdough Bread and Health : ONE OF THE BEST ARTICLES ON BREAD I’VE EVER READ. “Most of us do not know that before the 1950’s most bakeries ran 2 shifts of workers because the dough was fermented throughout the night with a long and slow natural fermentation process. The very first things corporate bakers did to increase profits was to introduce the fast loaf (3 hours from start to finish), effectively eliminating the need for this second shift of workers. This seemingly innocuous cost-cutting decision would prove to have an incredible impact on our health as have a host of commercial processes in the food and agricultural areas. ”
Top Ten Reasons to Eat Real Sourdough Bread : Really informative article listing why sourdough is good for you even if you are gluten intolerant.
Five Reasons to make Sourdough your only Bread : “Sourdough is a dough containing a Lactobacillus culture, usually in symbiotic combination with yeasts. However, the lactobacillus is much greater in proportion to the yeast. In comparison with yeast-based breads, sourdough produces a distinctively tangy or sour taste, mainly because of the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli.”
I Don’t Taste Any Difference : A great article on why we need fresh local wheat
Phytic Acid Solutions : an interesting thread full of ideas
Phytic Acid – Friend or Foe : I didn’t read the whole thing but I like this. An intelligent biblical/science/historical/baker’s viewpoint on the matter.
Sourdough 101 : All about it and how to make it – Looks easy!
So, YAYAYAYAYAYYYYYYYYYYYYY. Also, sourdough is clearly where it’s at. I think I’m going to only eat sourdough from now on. Also we need to actively seek out ancient wheat varieties. I think this sounds way better than just banishing bread forever, don’t you?
Also if you are in the Los Angeles area and want to taste some REAL SOURDOUGH bread check out my friend Rose’s amazing bakery Red Bread ! They just opened last year in Culver City and sell on Wednesdays at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. I highly recommend..
I believe a good offense is the best defense when it comes to colds and flus. The first sign that you are getting sick is a cue to bring out the bag of health tricks and get down! If you get out of denial and take the first signs seriously, then you can dramatically reduce the time that you feel bad, and maybe even avoid getting a full blown cold in the first place.
Drink good water and make yogi tea. Or drink any kind of herbal tea that you like. ..or hot water with lemon and honey .. just have something hydrating in your hands at all times. The idea here is that you body wants to get rid of whatever it is thats making you feel lousy, and the fluids are helping you to flush it out.
2. The obvious remedies: Vit C, Zinc + Echinacea
There is a reason these are the go-to natural cold remedies. The trick is that you have to actually obtain and ingest them to get results. Honestly I would take all 3 every hour when you feel something coming on. Read the instructions on the label of course but my advice is to be heavy handed and consistent! Just do itttt.
3. Clean your nose + throat!
Ok getting into the less culturally obvious but clearly the most practically obvious idea on this list. If you may be developing an issue in the nose and/or throat, then get in there and manually CLEAN that sh*t out!
For the throat:
Gargle with warm salt water. Fill a mug with warm water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and mix. Gargle until you finish the cup. Repeat at least twice a day till you feel better.
For the nose / sinus areas:
Neti Pot! The best invention ever, thanks ancient India ! This used to be a fringe activity here in the west, but thanks to Oprah (I think) you can now buy a plastic neti pot at any drug store. Just get one. Get over the weird thought of running warm salty water through your nose and do it. You will be physically removing the problems that are brewing there, which will dramatically cut back the time it takes to feel healthy again. If you do it early enough in the cold progression you can prevent getting all stuffed up and then the subsequent coughing / chest cold phase. Do it do it do it.
Have you noticed that a cold usually starts after you get an upset stomach – maybe you ate too much – or something that didn’t agree with you? I have noticed that to be true over the years. Some times the upset stomach happens because of emotional reasons. Anger and fear can cause real physical symptoms some times. What does this have to do with probiotics? Well science is now realizing that the gut is actually a “second brain” and the health of your gut effects the health of your mind and body. When you pump up the probiotics you are giving your body more of what it needs to process food and nutrients effectively, which then gives your brain and body the fuel it needs to get and stay healthy.
5. Slightly more exotic health powerhouses
Use according to the directions on the product. All of these are non – toxic as far as I know – meaning it is impossible to OD on them. So dose up!
Grapefruit seed extract (a freakishly super sour all purpose health wonder product!)
Elderberry Syrup (really works well to prevent getting a cough. bonus – it truly tastes great! )
Oregano Oil (super potent stuff!)
Colloidal Silver ( I started using this after several doctors recommended it. I am still trying to understand how it works. My amazing blood Dr says to take every hour when you are feeling sick and a probiotic pill every half hour. I tried this and it works)
6. Healing foods
Make a big pot of mung beans and rice and eat a mono diet till you feel better. If you are not a vegetarian, make chicken soup from scratch and eat a lot of it. They don’t call is Jewish Penicillin for nothing. Obtain and eat whatever simple, easy to digest healthy foods you know and love. And add garlic, lots of garlic. In fact, it is a good idea to crush or finely chop a large clove and eat that inside a spoon of honey (or peanut butter). If all else fails, that raw garlic will cure what ails you I promise. Just don’t kiss or talk close to anyone for a while, unless you can get them to party on some garlic with you too.
7. Detox Bath
Run a bath and dump a few cups of Epsom Salts and/or regular salts in there. We even use kosher salt some times but sea salts are the best of course. If your water is from a municipal source ( if you get your water from a city or town vs a well ) and you don’t have a filter for the bath faucet, then dump in a cup of baking powder or some clay to neutralize the chlorine and chemicals. Add some pure essential oils if you have them – lavender, eucalyptus and rose oil are my favorites. Light a candle and soak there for at least 20 minutes. Just relax as much as possible. Your skin will release toxins through every pore. If you are going to use soap/ wash you hair, do so after while rinsing off in a shower, because your super open pores will soak up anything thats in your soap products. This is actually a good tip for any time ( and a reason to search out the simplest and most natural body products you can find!) but especially important for when you are trying to give your body a rest.
8. The truly weird : Zappers
Ok so I may get some sideways looks for this one but hear me out. When I first heard of zappers many years ago I thought they sounded like a load of crap. I kept reading and hearing about them for years so I eventually got curious. A zapper is simple battery powered device that when worn next to the skin, allows a very low frequency of electricity to go through the body and in to the blood stream where it works to safely deactivate bacteria, viruses and parasites. Sounds kind of hokey and too good to be true, right? Well after my doctor recommended it to me I started to pay attention. Then I heard Don Croft, the inventor of the next level zapper ( called The Terminator! ), say that the 10 dollar zapper on tendollarzapper.com worked just as good as his $150 one. That got me real curious. So I purchased a 10 dollar zapper. I’ve been using it for about a month, as needed. I still have some questions but in my experience it works. Like anything though, you actually have to remember to use it! Learn more here — a little warning though – you are stepping into weird cutting edge fringe health nerd land with this one..
This one should probably be number one on the list but I know you don’t want to hear it, so I put it at the bottom. Seriously though. REST. Just.. do what you have to do and then stop. STOP.. get in the bed, turn on the netflix fireplace, and just veg out. It is better to rest now while you have some strength left. You can get well much quicker this way. When you keep going and run your self in to the ground even more .. thats when it can get real bad and you can really hurt yourself. Take it from me. You end up wasting time too because it inevitably takes much longer to get your health back. So.. you know what to do. Turn off the ringer, shut the door and get cozy.
10. Understanding the meaning
In my own path towards health, I am realizing that all illness exists to bring insight, if you want it. Where the discomfort is located in your body can give a good starting place towards figuring what this means for you. For example, I have been having throat issues for the last few weeks, off and on. I think that the real reason I am experiencing this is beyond the physical. I think it has to do with expressing myself on this here blog! Since the throat chakra is related to teaching and self expression of all kinds, it makes sense that this area would be acting up at the very time I am choosing to face my fears and just write! So hopefully that gives you an idea of what I mean. You can listen deeply and hear what your body is trying to tell you. The more you open up to this wisdom and arrange your life accordingly, the happier and healthier you can be.
If you have any other healthy cold beating tips please let us know in the comments!
To your health!
I’ve been “cleansing” on an off for 8 + years. I’ve had a lot of mysterious health issues that doctors don’t really know how to fix, so I’ve been on a journey to learn how to heal myself. I’ve always hoped that some day I could share what I’ve learned so it could make someone else’s journey a bit easier. Writing this blog is a big step for me in this direction. Hopefully some of what you find here will be useful.
I had a friend write me recently asking my advice on detoxing/ cleansing. I’m no expert but I guess I’ve posted enough on facebook about all the weird health trips I’ve been on to be perceived as someone to ask.. Anyhow. It got me thinking about the best ways to cleanse , especially in the colder months. The key thing I’ve learned over the years is this: it takes energy and nutrients for the body to do the work of letting toxins go. When you are depleted, you need to fortify your self with healing , easy to digest foods and liquids before you think about doing deeper cleansing protocols like fasts and flushes (liver/kidney etc).
You need to add before you can safely and efficiently subtract. You can really do more harm than good, and weaken your self, if you jump right into heavy detox mode (water/ juice fasting for example) before your body is ready. So what would be a healthy and nourishing way to build your health? I have a few ideas to recommend that are universally beneficial and that have helped me a lot over the years.
Kitcheree (aka Mung Beans and Rice) is an Ayurvedic dish made from mung beans, rice, vegetables and spices that dates back thousands of years. It is known to be balancing and beneficial to all three doshas (all body types) . It is also delicious. There is something so comforting and nourishing about this food. You can make it as mild or as spicy as you like it, and it keeps well so you can literally make a pot of it and be well fed for days. My husband makes the best I’ve ever had and he published his recipe here on his blog. Have a look at his recipe and then read my notes below if you want some more tips to make it even easier to make.
Mung beans and rice is a staple at our house. We eat at least one batch per week but some times we eat it a mono diet. This means mung beans and rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When we do this we also usually have steamed vegetables and homemade yogurt on the side. This is a super healthy and easy way to gently re-set your digestive and glandular systems. The dish is considered to be “pre digested” because its so well cooked, and the ingredients are so health giving to begin with. When you eat it, your body does not have to work very hard to assimilate the nutrients. The less energy your body needs to use to digest your food, the more energy it has to repair and detox itself. It is also my understanding that when you consistently give your body everything it needs then it can balance out your gland secretions, which then gives all your body systems a reset. Sounds great right? All I know is that I feel real good when I eat it – it truly is a nourishing situation that you can easily add to your routine.
* I would only make a few small suggestions to his recipe, that makes it even easier to prepare. You can skip making the masala mixture separately, and literally throw it all in the pot together. If you do it this way, skip adding the ghee or coconut oil till the very end. You do want to let the mung beans cook first – let them get soft and kind of “open up”- and then you can add all the vegetables and spices in the pot, raw. Also add the salt at that time, not before. Cook for a while, let the vegetables get soft, then add the rice, cook about 5 – 10 more minutes and then shut off the heat and let sit with the top on for at least 10 or so minutes. And for a super delicious finish, add the juice of one lemon to the pot before you eat it. YUM. The lemon brightens the flavors and allows you to use less salt, if you want.
Add living , cultured foods into your diet. Your gut is alive with all kinds of bacteria – good and bad. When your intestines have plenty of good bacteria then it allows your body to easily digest and use all the nutrients in the food! When your body can properly digest food, you will be balancing any deficiencies you may not even know you had. Some times you can eat plenty of iron rich food, for example, and still be very anemic, because your body simply can not break down the food into the forms it needs to access the nutrients. That’s how it’s possible to be eating all the right things but still be feeling weak and unhealthy. When you heal your gut, you truly can start healing all the organs. True cleansing and detox can happen when the body has the support it needs from all the good food you are eating.
Eating cultured probiotic foods help your body grow more of the good kind of digestive bacteria and they are also delicious. Super cheap too if you make them yourself. You can buy raw sauerkraut and lacto-fermented pickles from health food stores too, but you will find them to be pretty pricey. We’ve been making our own for a few years now and it is EASY. Before we ever tried it though it seemed really intimidating. Check this post out for more info on making your own pickles!
IN ADDITION :
Take a good probiotic in pill form , as well. I have been recently learning about how there are thousands of kinds of good probiotics, but it is important to take the kinds that live in specific parts of the human body to get the best – or any – results. I’ve done a lot of research and its not too clear which brands contain the kinds that are native to the human body. The brand I am currently using is Renew Life . These are the best I’ve ever tried, giving the best results. It is important that the kind you take are in a capsule designed to resist stomach acid, because your stomach can kill all the good guys before they reach your intestines and then you wasted your money. This a big subject but for now, just know that all brands are not created equal . This is also one product that I always buy at a health food store you trust, because how the product is handled is really important. Even if the pills are shelf stable, the good bugs will die if the bottles get too warm, and the worst part is that you would never know it! Also, to really get results – take 50 – 100 billion CFU’s of probiotics daily. For a long time I thought that 5 Billion per pill sounded like plenty (we are talking billions after all!) , but the more I’ve been reading I am understanding that the body needs much more. Try one month of taking 10o billion CFU’s a day and see what happens. Worth every penny.
3. Super Greens
Eating plenty of green vegetables of all kinds will help everything and give you that unmistakable healthy glow. Steamed, raw, blended, sauteed and baked. Just find the kinds you like and eat as many of them as you like. Get them organic and from a farmers market if you can. The fresher the better. Eating green vegetables both fortifies you and gives the body a way to eliminate stuff it does not need. Toxins can leave better when your intestines have enough fiber, but there are many more subtle yet powerful chemical combinations that happen in your digestive system when you eat vegetables. For example, did you know your body can dump excess estrogen when you eat broccoli? I read that and was like wow! Our bodies naturally grow towards health and balance when you feed it the right stuff.
Spirulina, Blue Green Algae, Chlorella , etc are all powerful ways to gently cleanse while also fortifying the body with nutrients. Try different kinds and find what you like. Personally I am not fond of the taste so I usually take them in pill or tablet form. Powders are usually cheaper though and you can disguise the taste ( somewhat) by adding them to other foods — like smoothies. Also – Having green superfoods as a part of your routine when you travel is especially smart because a lot of times its harder to eat a lot of green vegetables on the road.
Well there is so much more to write on all three of these suggestions, but hopefully this is a good jump start. If you want to read more about the subject of using foods to cleanse, check out the Body Ecology Diet book, as well as Paul Pitchford’s classic tome, Healing with Whole Foods.
Invocation, by Frederic Leighton . I’m loving the white flow-y outfit!
What you wear absolutely effects your electromagnetic field, whether you know what the heck that means or not. Your auric body is another name for your electromagnetic field, it is the container of energy for your life force. When your auric body is strong, you can hold a lot of energy. Your aura is constantly changing as you move through your day and your life. You can make your auric field stronger with yoga and meditation. You can also make it stronger just by what you wear.
My husband and I at White Tantric Yoga where everyone – you guessed it- wears white
It is known by the yogis that when you wear white it increases the size of your aura automatically. That is why you see a lot of yogis wearing white and especially Kundalini yoga teachers wearing white. It is important that the clothes be made from natural fibers because cotton, wools and silk are the best conductors of energy. Plastic based fibers just don’t work the same way when you are working with subtle energy fields.
Your author in a typical weirdo outfit chosen for comfort . Note the choice of footwear. I am “hiking” here. Ha
Loose fitting clothes also help the situation. Being comfortable on the physical level helps open the energy around you on the energetic level. It’s pretty common sense when you think about it, but unless we are taught to look at in a practical way we can stay seduced in a fashion / trend type mental program. The Indian culture has a whole philosophy about each type of traditional clothing and why each type of clothing is worn. Actually I am sure all native forms of dress have intentional energetic components to them in addition to practical and aesthetic considerations. I am going to learn more about that and report back.
A Cheyenne woman in a traditional three hide dress
Along the same vein, I have heard the Native American culture has a teaching about the reason women wear skirts. Long skirts open the energy field towards the earth, which help to strengthen the connection. When you look around at many different ancient cultural forms of dress you can start to see the energetic reasons for the outward forms. It’s an interesting viewpoint to develop, it gives a nice peek behind the curtain.
In the next post on this subject, we will explore how fashion is also a tool of the control system. Everything in life has a polarity. Keeps things interesting. Until then.. happy dressing!
Someday I will dress this fabulous. until then these ladies are holding it down