Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Both Are True

As we head into the darkest day of the year I'm trying to remember that so often, "both are true."

  • This is a time of year for rest and solitude and of celebration and company.
  • The holidays are a time of fun and of sadness.
  •  It is OK to feel gratitude and grief.
  • There are a lot of good and bad things going on in the world right now.
  • Person/corporation/political party x is harmful and helpful.
  • Others do and don't need my help. 
  • I help others for selfish and unselfish reasons.
  • I am perfect and imperfect just how I am.

As someone who tends towards a right/wrong, black/white, good/bad way of looking at the world, I think practicing "both are true" will give me comfort in difficult situations, and perspective in joyful ones.

Is there a "both are true" situation, or belief you want to hold for yourself during this holiday season, or in the New Year?

Hat tip to Adrienne Torf for helping me to really understand this idea.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

What I've been learning, cooking, reading, teaching and making

Hello Have Fun * Do Gooders!

I've missed you. The last seven weeks (since I last posted) have been a whirlwind. I love Marianne's Elliott's e-news where she shares what she's been "learning, reading, writing and listening to," so I'm doing my own version.


After working as a communications consultant since May for Rockwood Leadership Institute, I finally had the opportunity to participate in their signature personal leadership development training, The Art of Leadership.

Myself and 28 other social changemakers spent five days at the Earthrise Retreat Center learning how to use Rockwood's six practices (Purpose, Vision, Partnership, Performance, Resilience and Personal Ecology) to be more effective leaders for social change.

It was a deep and profound experience. I learned a lot about my strengths and challenges as a leader, and gained a bevy of tools to help me be a better one.

Although I will use what I learned about myself and the tools for a lifetime, the most powerful experience was watching the evolution of trust and love in my group of 29 incredibly diverse people (e.g. issue, gender, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, background). As a Rockwood alum I recently interviewed put it, "It could be blueprint for something bigger." It was quite an amazing experience.


In November, the VegCookbook Club (my other blog) cooked from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's new vegan cookbook, Isa Does It. 

I made the:

  • Carrot Cake Pancakes
  • Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Lentils
  • Lentil-a-roni
  • Lentil-Quinoa Stew with Kale
  • Omaha Yakisoba
  • Puffy Pillow Pancakes
  • Sunflower Mac
  • and the Roasted Yellow Beet Salad with Warm Maple-Mustard Dressing
I wish I'd had time to try more recipes, but I'm really struggling with finding the time and energy to cook now that I'm working outside of my home a few days a week.

Four years ago I wrote a post, 5 Tips for Finding Time to Cook, but I'm realizing now that it was written from the experience of someone who works from home and has a much more flexible schedule than I do now. I don't know how in the world people who work full-time outside of their home do it.  I would love your tips and advice about how to find time to cook.

On a related note, an interview with me about the VegCookbook Club was featured in Viva Vegan last month.


I've been too tired lately to read any heavy nonfiction, and in general, I usually don't enjoy adult fiction, so I've been reading children's books, and loving it. I read The Summer of May by Cecilia Galante, and The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles. I really liked The Summer of May, so now I'm reading The Patron Saint of Butterflies, also by Galante.

If you're a fan of children's lit, I'd love to hear your suggestions. Some of my favorites (all old) are Harriet the Spy, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, My Side of the Mountain, and A Wrinkle in Time.


On Friday, I taught a fun Social Media for Coaches unit as part of a "Building a Successful Coaching Practice: Nuts, Bolts and Social Media" course in San Francisco State's College of Extended Learning's Core Strengths Coaching Skills Program. Super fun.

While researching different examples of how coaches are using social media, I came upon Heather Plett's 12-point social media manifesto.

At the beginning of her post, Plett writes, I’ve been giving some thought to what kind of presence I want to have online, and I realize it’s not much different from the presence I want to have everywhere I go.

A number of the students in yesterday's class were hesitant to use social media to promote their coaching practice. They wondered if social media was a space where they could bring their authentic, non-flashy, non-shiny, non-polished, non-branded selves. It was wonderful to be able to share Plett's manifesto which includes declarations like: I will share my messes from time to time to remind myself and my friends that I am human and beautifully flawed.


I've been trying to take time lately to make stuff for no particular purpose except for the joy of it. I've been doing a little collaging and embroidery. When I was a teenager, I used to do a lot of embroidery. I find it soothing, meditative and satisfying.

In early October I bought a pre-printed embroidery sampler (left) that says, "Love What You Love. Make What you Make." Seemed like an appropriate reminder for me ( :

That's it for me.  

What's new with you?