Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon

A blue moon rises tonight as the year comes to a close: a perfect opportunity for a little candle magic.

Maybe a small house with chickens and a goat, gardens, a grove, and a pool, and a view of the ocean and the life this home would support.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eight Diagram Palm

Tom Bisio in 12 Posture Zhan Zhuang.
I find this breathtaking.

"In practice, the Ba Gua practitioner steps and turns moving smoothly like a swimming dragon, swooping and spiraling like a hawk, coiling like a snake, and changing postures nimbly like a monkey."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Repost: Secrets to a Happy Marriage

When Joanna of Cup of Jo went on her honeymoon this fall, she invited several people to guest blog on her site their secrets to a happy marriage. One of my favorites was by Craig Nova. Don't miss the link to the letter he wrote to his beautiful daughter Abbey on her wedding day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fourth Month of Pregnancy

(Art by Shinichi Maruyama)
In the fourth month of pregnancy, the fetus opens to the essence of the element of water. This element constitutes the pool of genetic inheritance, including the "unconsious reservoir of intuitive intelligence, will, and life-force energy". It relates to the "divine love, power, and spirit" that is ancestrally available to the fetus.

In the fourth month of pregnancy, the connective tissue develops, the matrix by which everything is connected in this new being. It is the matrix of "intercellular communication," and can be thought of as the scaffold of the astral body.

Acupuncture during this stage of development can be particularly beneficial to the pregnant woman.

(Primary source: Sui Dynasty Imperial Physician Chao Yuan Fang as written in Energetic Anatomy and Physiology (Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy, Volume 1) by Jerry Alan Johnson)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

(image via SoundsandFury)

The winter solstice is today at 12:47 pm in New York. The longest night, the shortest day.

Recommendations from Shamanic Astrology:

"Solstice, like a New Moon cycle for the year, is a beautiful time to create quiet space to meditate on your deepest intentions for the coming year. It is a good time to engage ceremonially in whatever way you may be moved to give gratitude for the blessings of the year past, to release all that is no longer needed, and invoke the new seeds of growth for a coming year.

This day is powerful beyond measure, as it is informed by the Triple Aquarian Conjunction, as Jupiter conjuncts Neptune, then Chiron in the sign of Aquarius for the 3rd and final time—then the moon conjuncts all three, magnifying the impact of the aspect.

Be sure to ask for guidance and assistance from Spirit, and as you do, imagine how it feels to trust life, to trust that all is unfolding as it should. Imagine how it might feel to live a life in alignment with Grace, to know how to dance with all that Is—not fighting, not seeking for anything to be other than it is. Imagine the absolute inner transformation and ecstasy that would be part of this state of being. If you have angels or guides, invite them to be with you, assisting you in this process of intention setting and deep prayer."

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Best Friend

This little guy is going to be joining our household this weekend, and we're all very excited!

He is a Japanese Chin, an aristocratic breed with origins in the regal courts of the ancient Chinese.
A charming and intelligent noble amongst dogs.

I guess we will see who comes out on top in ruling our kingdom, Oskar or the pooch?
I bet they will be come fast friends.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How the Zen Buddhists Eat

Doesn't this look gorgeous?
It is:
Celery Roots Tempura with Grated Apple

From Kajitsu, a Japanese restaurant in the far east village.
The cuisine is Shojin, of Zen Buddhist origin.

We just had our office holiday dinner there!

How reluctantly
the bee emerges from deep
within the peony

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Travel Lust: Crystal Cave in Mexico

A couple of years ago, I got into crystals. I think my mind might completely blow out in the Cueva de los Cristales of Mexico.

A blog account by Paul Williams with more spectacular photographs on his travels into the cave.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What to Do When Injured

Many of my patients who see me for sports-related issues ask me what they should do, if they shouldn't run/fight/bike/spin/weight train while recovering from injury, and my answer is always Tai Chi.

There is a living master in New York City, and his name is William C. C. Chen, and he is teaching beginner classes several days a week in his studio on 5th Avenue and 28th Street.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Felt Balls and Felt Ball Kits

Last weekend, we went to the Winter Fair at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, where Oskar was very attracted to the felt balls in the playroom. And they were gorgeous!

So I bought a kit to make my own on Etsy!

The image above is from Crunchy Parent. It has directions and even videos on how to make your own felt balls.

Another kit you can get from a funny Etsy seller whose wares all come from her sheep Moses.
Here is the info on her profile:

 "Hello from Pennsylvania,

You probably have seen the photo of Moses my sheep. Moses is my bottle raised sheep that supplies me with wool to spin and felt.

I am a full-time caregiver. Moses came to me while I was working on a farm that provided a handicap accessible farming experience to children and adults with disabilities.

Moses mother had triplets and was not able to take care of Moses. She pushed him aside. Maybe she felt overwelmed with three or maybe she just knew that allowing us to take care of Moses would provide a very rewarding fun experience to many.

Moses quickly adapted to receiving his meals from a bottle given by many different "surrogate moms".

Moses "lambhood" was very active. He provided many people with disabilities a very fun chance to "turn things around" they enjoyed becoming the caregivers to Moses.

Moses attended the UCP Adult day programs, (wearing an inside diaper of course) childrens programs, as well as church events.

Now that he is grown he provides us with his wool. Moses is now fully grown. He is 5 years old."

Doesn't it feel difficult to not suppport Moses?! 

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Trashy Novel

This is one of my favorites, and the seventh in the series was just published!

The Reasons: Beautiful Prose; Very Long in Length (500+ pages each); the Heroine is a Healer; the Hero is a Highlander; Places of Power; Magic Crystals; Acupuncture and a China Man, Bodice Ripping Humor, the List Goes On.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gorgeous Lavender

The most beautiful lavender essential oil I've experienced.

The story of its origin here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Padre Hotel, Bakersfield, California

I grew up in Bakersfield, California, which tortured me most of the time, but I do have some fond memories of weird experiences there, many of them in the lounge and lobby of the Padre Hotel. The Padre was a shabby and slightly scary place to go, smelling of past sins and dereliction and drunken mistakes.

I just learned that it has undergone a massive renovation into a luxury hotel. I guess the news makes me sad and curious at the same time. I found a funny article by Herb Benham in the local paper, the Bakersfield Californian, some of which really captures the essence of my Bakersfield nicely:

"The new Padre Hotel could be the biggest thing to hit downtown since the earthquake. If it opens. If it works.

If the owners are able to saddle and ride this beast...

In the last couple of years, downtown has settled into something of a funk (with some notable exceptions).
The recession and the subprime meltdown haven't helped. Nor have the fights, the stabbings and a couple of homicides. People may want to experience downtown, but they want to live, too...

For years, the Padre has been an eyesore. The hotel shut down eons ago and besides a barbershop, a coffee shop, a print shop and a jewelry store on the bottom floor, it's basically been sitting there.

I go back and forth on the Padre architecture. One day, it glows. Another, it simmers. The Padre, built in 1928, looks better when backlit by a sunset at the end of a day well spent.

If you want to be generous, you can talk about the Padre "being a fine example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture," but really, the magic, if any, has always lay inside its spacious lobby with the large arched windows and 20-foot-high ceilings.

I slept through the glory days of the Padre Hotel. Milton "Spartacus" Miller bought it in 1954 and installed a girl in a swing over the bar and had a musician named Ernie Kelly playing the piano."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Integrity of the Spine

 A beautifully aligned spine is a virtue, and one that is often lost in the great blow out of childbirth. The return to spinal integrity is best managed gradually, with intention, and great care.

The sculpture is fibers:connective tissue by sarah nance.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Baby

East Asian fetal education principles recommend pregnant women look at pictures of happy babies to influence the nature of their own gestating babies.

Here is Oskar having a laugh with his grandparents last weekend.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hafiz Knows the Way You Can Get

I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Love:

Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
And nose.

Squirrels and birds sense your sadness
And call an important conference in a tall tree.
They decide which secret code to chant
To help your mind and soul.

Even angels fear that brand of madness
That arrays itself against the world
And throws sharp stones and spears into
The innocent
And into one's self.

O I know the way you can get
If you have not been drinking Love:

You might rip apart
Every sentence your friends and teachers say,
Looking for hidden clauses.

You might weigh every word on a scale
Like a dead fish.

You might pull out a ruler to measure
From every angle in your darkness
The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once

I know the way you can get
If you have not had a drink from Love's

That is why all the Great Ones speak of
The vital need
To keep remembering God,
So you will come to know and see Him
As being so Playful
And Wanting,
Just Wanting to help.

That is why Hafiz says:
Bring your cup near me.

For I am a Sweet Old Vagabond
With an Infinite Leaking Barrel
Of Light and Laughter and Truth
That the Beloved has tied to my back.

Dear one,
Indeed, please bring your heart near me.
For all I care about
Is quenching your thirst for freedom!

All a Sane man can ever care about
Is giving Love!

From: 'I Heard God Laughing - Renderings of Hafiz' - Daniel Ladinsky 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Artie's Steak Sandwich

Post-partum, I was ravenous. I never seriously got the food cravings while pregnant (though Dan did get very specific instructions about broiling fish and did gallantly make midnight runs for ice cream), but right after giving birth to Oskar, my appetite became this insatiable monster.

One memorable meal with a good new-momma friend on the Upper West Side was the Sliced Steak Sandwich at Artie's. We very contentedly tucked in, our sleeping babies slung in our laps. It was very deeply satisfying. I even took half of the sandwich home and enjoyed it later that day. When I got home, I shook off a small shower of stray crumbs that had collected on Oskar in his sling.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dinner Flea in Freetown Christiania

Photo via Flickr.

One of the most interesting places in Copenhagen, Denmark, is the commune of Christiania. In the early 1970s, hippies squatted out in a mostly abandoned military barracks. The result:  a fascinating community with the most interesting music and art, commerce in organic and sustainable and smokable goods, and one particularly awesome restaurant: Spiseloppen.

The 160-seat warehouse restaurant is the ultimate in Danish cozy. And the food is a treat too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


 Oskar's and My Placenta, Steamed

In East Asian Medicine, human placenta is a healing post-partum tonic for both mother and nursing baby.

For the mother, the placenta provides nourishment on the order of restoring the qi and blood that was lost during birth. As such, taking the placenta can enhance lactation, uplift the spirit, and provide a new mother with some much-needed ballast.

For the nursing baby, here is a rare and precious opportunity to boost her/his pre-natal jing. Pre-natal jing is the treasure and inheritance that each person receives from her/his parents, and is therefore something that cannot be renewed or restored. We consume it continuously as we live our lives, and death comes to us once this store is spent.

Personally, Dan and I felt there was something very special about consuming the placenta. It represented the organ  that grew out of the powerful love that Dan and I had for each other, so powerful as to call forth and hold a new life. It represented the organ that provided an important, sacred boundary between Oskar and me; it both bonded him to me as well as shielded him from me during his forty-one weeks inside. Eating it was the most natural thing to do. It was also very exciting and sensational!

Here is the recipe Dan used in preparing the placenta. It is best for the placenta be prepared with intention and love.

1. Rinse the placenta;
2. Steam the placenta, with a hot pepper, slices of ginger, and a slice of lime in the water, over low heat for 15 minutes;
3. Turn it over and continue to steam for another 15 minutes;
4. After steaming, slice the placenta into thin strips;
5. Lay the strips on a baking sheet and place them in the oven on warm (lowest setting);
6. Dry the placenta strips until they are dehydrated enough to snap (about 8 to 10 hours);
7. Break the dry strips into smaller pieces and then grind them to powder with a mortar and pestle.
8. Consume daily, and store in a cool, dark place.

How did it taste?

To me, very gamey and primal.
I felt like a wild animal when I took my daily tablespoon dose.