Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gamelgaard's Everest Adventure "Climbing High": A Book Review

reprinted from Whatcom Watch: Bellingham Washington's July 1999 edition

Survivor of Everest Tragedy Teaches Lesson in Perseverance

Climbing High:
A Woman´s Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy 
by Lene Gamelgaard
Seal Press, 1999
224 pp., $25
ISBN 1-58005-023-9

Reviewed by Sea Ganschow (aka Cindy Cummins) 

Sea Ganschow is host of the “Weekly Planet Radio Show” 7-8 p.m., Monday nights on KUGS 89.3 FM and edits the annual Fog Horn literary journal.
When Lene Gamelgaard wrote Climbing High, her priority was to present the facts in an even-handed way while sharing the deeply personal lessons she gleaned. The first Scandinavian woman to climb Mt. Everest hopes to “encourage you to expand your life in new ways, large or small. For if you never test your limits how will you know what they are?” She has succeeded on both counts.
Many have heard of the best selling book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer. Gamelgaard´s revealing memoir of the same May 1996 catastrophe was released in Denmark months before Krakauer´s. The English translation has just come out this year.
For readers who have mountaineering experience or none whatsoever, Climbing High is a definite page-turner. (Don´t try to go to bed before finishing it, you probably won´t be able to sleep.) After reading it I feel that I have a good understanding of what it is like to climb at high altitudes. Gamelgaard describes how she felt at each stage of the climb and presents her observations and insights about the motivations and characters of the lead climbers and guides.
I had heard about the controversy of whether the most experienced and skilled of the mountaineers, during that storm, may have perished helping the less experienced. After reading the book I have definite opinions about why the most experienced of Lene´s group, Mountain Madness expedition leader Scott Fischer of Seattle, Washington, ended up dying on the descent. Like Gamelgaard, I´ll let you read and decide for yourself.
Gamelgaard´s determination and disciplined way of thinking are impressive and, no doubt contributed to her success. She continually thought “to the summit and safe return” as a way of computer-programming her human mind. She taped the words to her wall next to images of Everest where she would see them daily before the trip. She speculates that her years studying psychology were instrumental in her survival. Nevertheless, while her narrow focus was upon visualizing the summit and safe return, she also realized the need to be aware of dangers—such as inclement weather or high altitude sickness—when turning back would be called for.
Her self-suggestions came through for her. At one critical point, when she and several others were descending Everest´s summit and were lost in a fierce storm, Lene said to herself, “It´s not my time.” She then went forward to find the camp with a like-minded colleague while others were whispering in various stages of hypothermic reaction “I just want to die.”
When she could´ve been very critical of others, Gamelgaard merely presented what the person said or did and then her thoughts about it. The reader is left to develop their own opinions. For example, she was surprised early on at fellow expedition members´ naiveté about certain demands of the trip and her thought was she would´ve expected them to be aware and prepared for it.
Lene´s surprise seemed to stem from a reverse naiveté—the fact that she herself spent so much time mentally preparing to reach “the summit and safe return” and physically preparing herself, combined with the fact that she operated from the code that ultimately it was she who was responsible for herself and her success led her to assume others would also.
Not that she was a prima donna or a cold fish. Lene was very concerned and supportive of others when they needed help. For example, early on she had slowed her pace to that of another woman who was having a difficult time. That in turn surprised the woman who said it was usually very competitive up there between women, not supportive. Just before the final summit, however, a friend cautioned her to spend her energy on taking care of herself.
It was frustrating to read about one expedition member who continually got high altitude cerebral edema and yet continually tried climbing the highest mountains! high altitude cerebral edema reduces a human being to the state of a vegetable and the brain damage can be permanent or result in death within hours if the person is not transported to a lower altitude. Evidence shows that once you get it you will invariably be susceptible to it any time you reach the higher altitudes. The members own determination apparently helped him convince the guides he could go a little further, then a little further.
Those with the highest level of physical fitness and conditioning still never know how their bodies will finally respond in very high altitudes or in “the death zone” over 24,000 feet.
If someone knows they are prone to high altitude cerebral edema , yet pushes to continue with the group they are a known risk and could cost lives by needing to be carried down by the others in what is known as a Gamow Bag—a bag which can be pumped full of oxygen and has some air pressure adjustments. (Helicopters cannot reach these altitudes) The stricken person still needs to reach lower altitudes immediately. Scott Fischer had to carry people in such conditions in the dark of night down sheer ice at least once on this expedition.
Understandably, Gamelgaard found it difficult to comprehend or respect why men with wives and children would take such extreme risks. She had decided to avoid serious relationship—had in fact distanced herself emotionally from friends before this climb—but says that a family would be her next goal. She phoned her parents once a week though and had initially put off telling them of her plans as long as possible knowing of their worry.
As for myself, as a mother and partner I see good reason not to undertake activities which are conscious high risks. But lene´s successful climb to the highest mountain in the world called “Mother Goddess of the World” (in translation of the Nepalese name for Everest) affirms and reminds me I can climb my own personal mountains. The spiritual goals that I seek and which often seem too far away, feel more reachable after reading this book. I´ve adapted her “to the summit and safe return” as a preparation for meditation.
Further, I coincidentally finished reading this book the night of the boiler room explosion at Georgia Pacific and in the aftermath of the petroleum pipeline explosion and destruction of Whatcom Falls Creek which took three lives. Juxtaposed with the incredible way Gamelgaard persevered and reached the highest mountain peak in the world, these events caused me to reflect that our community can empower itself to insist upon important changes in local industry regarding personal safety, clean air and clean water. Like Gamelgaard we too must visualize reaching our goals, then speak out and act on our own behalf.
I think people should read this book who have climbed a mountain, have never climbed a mountain before or who would like to. People who need a reminder of the power of the human spirit and the power of the human mind will find just that within these pages. Yet ever present is the fact that “nature determines” and at times we truly are powerless.
One of the things I liked about Gamelgaard was she carried no illusions that “happiness” would be found at the top of Everest. She is the kind of person who finds happiness in the process and in the present wherever she may be. The climbing life—both the isolation and the people—itself is what she enjoys. Yes, the Everest expedition was a challenge she strove with all her being to meet with success. She knew from the start that she could do it at a price. She just didn´t know how high that price would be.
When people say to her it´s too bad that her greatest victory had to be in the midst of such tragedy she says she really doesn´t see it that way. She knew exactly what the risks were. She just didn´t know “how high a price Mother Goddess of the World would exact to show us humans the consequences of hubris.”

Friday, February 24, 2012

An open letter to the PantheaCon organization from Jonathan Korman, et al

From MinverCheevy's Blog

23 February 2012

An open letter to the PantheaCon organization

To Glenn Turner and the other organizers of PantheaCon:
I write to you in the understanding that you have asked for feedback from the community about this year's contention over gender and ritual and the role of transgender Pagans at PantheaCon, as triggered by Z Budapest's ritual Sunday night and the protest that accompanied it.
Already, just a few days after the weekend has concluded, we see an explosion of discussion of these topics by Pagans on the web. With so much discussion in the air, I want to try to speak to the specific implications for you in the PantheaCon organization.
Even that specific focus demands a long-windedness which I hope that you, and other interested readers, will forgive me. Understanding the meaning of the weekend's events demands understanding their context. Understanding the implications for the future demands opening some difficult questions.

A word about me

I am a Pagan Hermeticist and a cis man. (For readers unfamiliar with the term “cis”, it means “not-trans”; I was called a boy the day I was born and call myself a man today. The trans community has expressed their preference for this language over other alternatives; I use it as a mark of respect for trans people.)
The night of Z Budapest's ritual I had duties which prevented me from witnessing the protest against it. As I am neither trans nor a witch nor a woman nor present at the pivotal event, one might say that I have no stake in that singular moment last weekend.
But I believe that I do. I have participated in PantheaCon every year for fifteen years. I am a Pagan living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Your event is an integral part of my community. And so I write to you as a member of that community.
I must also note that I am co-founder of Solar Cross Temple with T. Thorn Coyle, who played an important role in the events of the weekend, having precipitated the protest by announcing her intent to sit in silence outside the ritual. (It's worth noting that Thorn, who at that point did not know that anyone would join her, did not refer to her plan as a “protest” at all. That we now refer to this as a protest contains a lesson, I suspect.) But I speak neither for Thorn nor for Solar Cross, but rather as a member of the PantheaCon community.

The past year

The incident at the Lilith ritual at last year's PantheaCon and the the many discussions in the Pagan community which followed influenced both the shape of this year's Con and the significance of Budapest's ritual. I'll not rehash the whole story here, but I want to underline a few key points essential to understanding the current controversy.
The clumsiness and confusion underlying the original incident demonstrated how despite often having good intentions the Pagan community does not have the sophistication about gender which it needs in order to properly welcome every member of the community. We saw how people neither thoughtless nor malicious took actions that turned badly sour, leaving trans Pagans feeling justifiably alienated.
The original incident demonstrated how exclusive rituals, however defined, can put the PantheaCon organization in the awkward position of enforcing the ritual's rules and implicitly endorsing the the event.
The vigorous discussion which followed demonstrated that the Pagan community could not and would not defer an examination of how we handle the complexities of gender any longer. That discussion failed to close (or even to fully open) many of the questions we face. Having demonstrated a commitment to talking about those questions was no small achievement, but we still have many Pagans of different perspectives feeling that they remain unheard, unsupported, and unsafe in the community.
In short, we found that we had a lot of work to do, that the work is difficult, that we cannot turn away from it, and that PantheaCon has an essential role to play in helping to lead the greater Pagan community forward.

This year's PantheaCon

The PantheaCon organization obviously made a commitment to this process. The Con schedule included numerous events — talks, rituals, and panels — addressing gender in the Pagan community and in Pagan practice. The schedule included a ritual offered explicitly welcoming of all women, both cis and trans. The convention theme of “unity in diversity” obviously alluded, in part, to PantheaCon including trans people in that diversity.
That deserves applause. Both the PantheaCon organization and PantheaCon community the made the effort to walk the walk.
This makes me certain that you included Z Budapest's ritual in this year's schedule with the very best of intentions. The thinking must have been that, in the spirit of having spaces which support the needs of the diverse members of the Pagan community, it made sense to have a range of differently-defined rituals, including one limited to women but inclusive of all women, both cis and trans, and another ritual limited to only cis women.
I can imagine a ritual for cis women only which many of the people who protested this weekend would have found entirely appropriate for PantheaCon and the community. I can imagine many others among the protestors finding that such a ritual justified criticism but not protest.
But Z Budapest's “The Sacred Body of Woman (Self-Blessing)” was not that ritual. It represented a terrible failure of what I take to be the PantheaCon organization's intentions.

Z Budapest

Budapest has a reputation for — putting it kindly — stubbornness and speaking bluntly. I respect that strength of character. It is impossible to imagine that a gentler woman could have broken the ground she has and achieved the things she has in the times and circumstances she faced. The Pagan community stands on a foundation of those achievements, and while I can count myself as neither witch nor woman, as an American Pagan I mark myself as owing an incalculable debt to her. One could easily argue that without her efforts over many years, PantheaCon itself might never have happened. And many, many people in our community have greater and more direct debts to her and her work.
That speaks to the past, but her value to the Pagan community lies not only in the past. Just two weeks before PantheaCon I stood in circle with her at the Pagan Studies Conference, where she served as keynote speaker. At one point the energy of our circle had started to flag. She got a mischievous look and said something that has always seemed as trite and flat as a bumper sticker to me.“The Goddess is alive,” she told us.“And magic is afoot.” These words held a spark I never recognized before. Then she turned and grinned and said it again, differently. “The Goddess is alive, and magic isafoot!” It was utterly infectious and we repeated it with her. “The Goddess is alive and magic is afoot! The Goddess is alive and magick is afoot!!” The Goddess wasthere, and I knew her in a way I never had before.Magick.
So while I have the profoundest disagreements with many things that she stands for — some well beyond the scope of this letter — it pains me to speak against her. It does not surprise me that some people wept as they sat in protest on Sunday.
One of those things which she stands for is the fear and hatred of trans women. She represents transphobia in the most literal sense.
Many commentators have pointed to this statementattributed to her, inspired by last year's controversy:
This struggle has been going since the Women’s Mysteries first appeared. These individuals selfishly never think about the following: if women allow men to be incorporated into Dianic Mysteries,What will women own on their own? Nothing! Again! Transies who attack us only care about themselves.
We women need our own culture, our own resourcing, our own traditions. You can tell these are men, They don’t care if women loose the Only tradition reclaimed after much research and practice ,the Dianic Tradition. Men simply want in. its their will. How dare us women not let them in and give away the ONLY spiritual home we have!
Men want to worship the Goddess? Why not put in the WORK and create your own trads. The order of ATTIS for example,(dormant since the 4rth century) used to be for trans gendered people, also the castrata, men who castrated themselves to be more like the Goddess.
Why are we the ONLY tradition they want? Go Gardnerian!Go Druid! Go Ecclectic!
Filled with women, and men. They would fit fine.
But if you claim to be one of us, you have to have sometimes in your life a womb, and overies and MOON bleed and not die.
Women are born not made by men on operating tables.
I cannot read this as anything other than contempt toward trans women expressed through deliberate insults. The word “Transies” alone is unmistakably a slur. Budapest says both directly and by implication that trans women are in no sense women, they are nothing other than men in disguise, and the only meaning to their desire to circle with cis women is what it denies to cis women. This dismisses the lived experiences, material realities, and obvious commitment of trans women to living as women.
T. Thorn Coyle, who instigated the sitting in silence at Budapest's PantheaCon ritual, called this hate speech. She is right. It denies the fundamental dignity of trans women, as many commentators have described more ably than I can.
Recently, Budapest has said that some people have attributed things to her that she did not really say, though she has not specified what she means. Perhaps she includes this well-known blog comment … though tellingly she has had nearly a year to correct the record on it and has not found it necessary to do so.
But even if this specific comment did not come from her, the sentiment of fear and hatred and disrespect for our trans sisters it contains unmistakably reflects her expressed views, well known in the community. Many people have described her as having made similar comments in person, and I count myself among them. The morning before I circled with her two weeks ago, at the conference she spoke this same idea that trans women wanting to circle in women-only spaces are none other than men who, characteristically for men, want to deny women any space to themselves.
I will not attempt a full critique of those ideas here. Others have, more ably than I could. It is enough, in order to understand the significance of her ritual on Sunday and the protest that accompanied it, to note that many people in the Pagan community, both cis and trans, rightly regard Budapest as hostile to trans women.

The ritual

PantheaCon included only only one scheduled event featuring Budapest this year:
The Sacred Body of Woman (Self-Blessing)
This skyclad rite honors the body of each and every woman present, the beauty and grace of the feminine form in all of her infinite variety. Allow yourself to be embraced by the glorious love of your sisters, with voices raised in sacred song in this central ritual of the Dianic Tradition. Genetic women only.
Emphasis mine.
It would be wrong — it would be an insult to the diversity of trans people — to suggest that the trans community speaks with one voice. Indeed, the concerns and the rhetoric of the trans community exhibits so much diversity, and moves so quickly, that even keenly interested people can have difficulty keeping up. But in at least one way trans people have spoken unambiguously: if you want to demonstrate respect toward trans people, when you describe people as not-trans, you refer to them as “cis”. Cis men. Cis women. Cis people.
So a person who cared to make the effort could have identified this ritual as exclusive to cis women without making the description itself insulting.
That the description of the ritual used, instead, thestrange descriptor “genetic women” indicates that Budapest — and by extension, you in the PantheaCon organization having published this description in the guide — either did not make the effort to know that this language would be offensive, or you did not care.

What Budapest's ritual signifies

Many commentators have suggested that the protest against Budapest's ritual represents an attack on cis women having their own space at PantheaCon, an attack on the Dianic tradition, an attack on Budapest for having unpopular opinions. These readings are wrong. I have spoken to several of the protestors, and read the writings of many more. Niether the fact of a ritual restricted to cis women nor the fact of Z Budapest present a ritual inspired the protest.
It was combination of the ritual description and it being led by someone well-known for bigotry against trans women and its timing in the wake of the events of the last year that add up to the ritual being an insult to trans women. It was that having this on the convention schedule implied that such an insult is an accepted part of Pagan culture.

The protest

So the Pagan community stepped forward and said:
No. We cannot allow the implication that we accept bigotry against our trans sisters. We cannot allow the implication that we accept insults to our trans sisters.
Nor can we allow the implication that we disrespect our Dianic sisters who find value in spaces for cis women only. We will protest in the least disruptive way we can.
But we will not let the moment pass unmarked.
I say the Pagan community pointedly. This was not a protest of trans women, or of trans people, or of activists. It was a protest by a range of people reflecting the diversity of the Pagan community.
I have no doubt that the diverse participants in the protest, and those not present but aligned with it in spirit, hold a suitably diverse range of opinions about the greater questions of gender in the Pagan community. I look forward to that conversation, which has already begun to unfold.
Mindful of that, I don't want to pretend to speak for all of the protestors. The one opinion I feel confident in claiming that the protesters share is that we want our trans brothers and sisters to feel welcome in our community.

So what about rituals exclusive to cis women, in general?

The Pagan community is now talking about the role of rituals exclusive to cis women in Pagan practice.
No one can or should enforce some kind of ban on rituals exclusive to cis women, and were such a ban even possible, I certainly would not want the PantheaCon organization to police it, if for no other reason than that you don't deserve to be cursed with that kind of responsibility.
But no one is calling for that, and defenders of exclusive rituals for cis women who hear an attack on Dianics' religious freedom, who hear some voices in the Pagan community “telling them what to do”, have heard something which no one has said. They have mistaken criticism for some kind of compulsion. I see a Pagan community which recognizes the freedom of Budapest or anyone else to say and do what they wish. But that freedom does not extend to freedom from criticism.
Frankly, some criticism is warranted. In many of the defenses of cis women's circles, I have seen some unexamined transphobia. I'd like to see more discussion to explore that, and I'm heartened to see that happening; the community has obviously made a commitment to discussing these questions.
But those transphobic commentators — Budapest among them — do not speak for all cis women who build exclusive spaces, or even more narrowly for all Dianics. And in this conversation I think we have also seen the awesome power which rituals and other spaces exclusive to cis women can have. I cannot imagine how anyone could hear the stories that cis women have told about the importance of these spaces without feeling profoundly moved. And the depth of these spaces' significance goes beyond what I can ever fully appreciate having lived the life of a cis man.
This reflects one of the truths learned by social justice movements. A range of forums are necessary to nourish the community. We must have inclusive forums where we all come together. And we must have exclusive forums where people who share a more specific identity can do work they can only do together with people who share that identity. And not for nothing, it's worth noting that we owe this realization in large part to women like Z Budapest who discovered the vital importance of women having some spaces away from men.
So we have some work to do to figure out the place of exclusive rituals for cis women in the Pagan community. More conversation is needed, and it looks like we are going to get it.
I say all of this in service of pointing out that this conversation isn't PantheaCon's to adjudicate. You shouldn't do it, you cannot do it, and I cannot ask you to do it. But you do need to follow this conversation as it unfolds, because you need it to inform a thing which I am asking you to do.

The need for a clear policy about exclusive spaces at PantheaCon

Unhappily for the PantheaCon organization, we have obviously come to the end of an era in which it has been possible to run the Con without having pinned down exactly what role exclusive events — events which will only admit some members of our community — have at PantheaCon. I think you will no longer be able to make decisions about events in isolation, but will need to do it in reference to a clear, explicit policy.
In retrospect, it becomes evident that this day had to come eventually. It's not hard to imagine the exclusive events the community would reject out of hand. But if there are some exclusive events PantheaCon supports and others which it rejects, what defines the difference? Someday you have to answer the question, and that day is now upon us.
An argument can be made that as an environment where the Pagan community as a whole comes together, PantheaCon simply should not include exclusive events at all. That would be a clean solution, and I believe that you need to consider it.
But eliminating exclusive events would also be a loss. Eliminating events exclusive to cis women would be a loss. We have been talking about exclusive rituals' power for cis women, and they can be powerful for many other groups as well. Certainly many conventions of all kinds include exclusive events, so they are not inherently a problem. But I think you cannot schedule them any more without referencing a policy that you publish to the world.
”Event descriptions must not insult people who are excluded from the event” would make a good rule to include in that policy.
I'm not asking for a policy to last forever, but I believe that the organization does need to name one for next year, and to commit to refining it in the years to come.

The need for an apology from the PantheaCon organization

You have taken on the question of gender at the conference with grace and goodwill and seriousness of purpose, and mostly done a good job of it. But with the inclusion of Budapest's ritual you screwed up badly, and you should have known better.
You need to apologize to trans women, to PantheaCon participants, and to the Pagan community as a whole. It was your responsibility to forsee this problem, and you failed.
non-apology apology will not cut it. You're not sorry people's feelings were hurt, you're sorry that you did the wrong thing. You need to make clear what was wrong about it, so that we know that you understand, and so that the whole Pagan community can see what was at stake.
Everything I have seen from the PantheaCon organization makes me confident that you will step up. This will do a great deal to heal the community.

The need for an apology from Z Budapest

I believe that before this weekend, it might have been possible to schedule Z Budapest for an event without it constituting an insult to trans women. Had she been speaking on another topic, or leading a different kind of ritual, it would not have been an endorsement by PantheaCon of the range of her views, and thus could be read not as an endorsement of the bigoted slurs she has made toward trans women ... though even that seems iffy in retrospect.
But at this point, she has become identified with her rhetorical attacks on trans women. Scheduling her foranything now would read as support for her and what she has said and done.
Yes, she attempted an “apology” the night of the ritual. I presume that the PantheaCon staff urged her to do so, and if that guess is correct you deserve great credit for that. But that was not a real apology, and the community needs one. She needs to say that what she did was wrong. She needs to show that she knows why it was wrong. She has to promise not to do it again.
PantheaCon should not silence her, and does not have the power to do so anyway. But you don't have to give her a microphone.

What I call for

PantheaCon is facing this crisis because you have shown invaluable leadership in the Pagan community, both with respect to the addressing the role of gender in our community and in general. That leadership is renewed each year and ratified by the community's participation in the event.
We need you to show that leadership again. So I am calling on you to do three things:
  1. A clear apology from PantheaCon for the insult to trans women implied by the scheduling of Z Budapest's ritual
  2. A refusal to schedule Z Budapest for any PantheaCon events in the future unless she apologizes for her comments about trans women and recants them
  3. A clear policy about what constitutes an appropriate basis for a ritual with restricted participants
I hope that other members of the community join me in this call.

Commentary on this blog post

I hope that other members of the Pagan community will co-sign this letter. Co-signatories need not agree with the letter in every particular, but should agree with the things I called for at the end. I am reserving the comment thread on this page for people to join me as co-signatories on this letter; any other comments on thispage will be deleted.
But in the hope that this letter will garner comments and criticism, I have created a separate page on my blog for commentary and discussion. I will also try to index every discussion of the letter which I know about on that supplemental page. I encourage folks commenting elsewhere to contact me by email, so that my index can be as complete as possible.
I strongly encourage anyone to repost this letter, in whole and in part, but I ask that all re-posts link back to this page.
As I have had reports of some folks having trouble posting blog comments, I have added a section for folks who have emailed me asking to be co-signatories:

Note from Rawprincess: Follow this link to add your signature to the open letter onsite at MiniverCheevy ...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vitamineralgreen Vs. Green Mix

We are looking at one person's thoughts after tasting and looking at the labels of Vitamineralgreen and Rok's Green Mix.

The Green Mix is darker and denser and much simpler in content than Vitamineralgreen.

I have tasted and used both and the Green Mix is extremely vibrant and fresh ... its vibration, to me, is obviously much more pure and potent.

Previously, Vitamineralgreen was my go-to and my favorite.

I am not an affiliate but could receive complimentary product from wholelifesuperfoods.com if you purchase here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dear Cindy: I'm Out Of Control

What you eat before the fast (and How you eat it) is what and how you will eat AFTER: so heal that thing. Cashew cheese by GreenLady Foods with kale and cucumber... a rich and thick creamy Cinnamon-Chai Latte.
Hi Cindy,
I have been following  your meetup group info for a few weeks now. I wanted to come to a get together once, but I have my 13 & 15 year olds every other week-end (they live with me full time) and my 13 year old didn't want to go to her Dad's that week end. Anyway, I'm having some real issues with food right now. I'm starting to get out of control. I feel like I need to be entirely away from it.  I bought a juiceman jr. at a garage sale for $5.00, but haven't used it.
Can you tell me how to start the fast. How much juice should I drink a day and what types of vegtables do you recommend.
Thank you so much in advance.

Hi L!

Thanks for writing! I know it's tough to break some of those habits and get on track.

I do recommend stopping by Rawprincess Studio.

We had a group last night and had about a four course juice feast going on into the night. ~smiles~

As far as you starting the juice fast I will start by saying several things:

a) what you eat before the fast (and how you eat) is pretty much what you will end up eating AFTER the fast ... so developing a great relationship with food and eating is super key.
b) if you have a terrible time eating then it actually is not the best time to fast ... ( I know, I know you didn't want to hear that. :-))

With those awful things stated I can now say that YES sometimes just stepping away from the refrigerator and pantry and getting to a place far removed from food for three days ... suffering perhaps through the juicing and colon cleansing for three days minimum CAN be a useful tool if done consciously and self-lovingly (as opposed to self-loathingly :-)) to break a chain-pattern-reaction i.e. step out of a rut, clean one's palette and get a fresh start. A reset button.

Yes, it's true that food is not the problem. It's not what you're eating but what's eating you.

That's why we have you come by for a juice demo and a laugh or two (maybe a tear) and kind of get your gears shifted a bit in the energy field here. :-)

BUT! Alas, anything is possible!!

From your own kitchen, your own living room, within your own sacred temple -- your luscious beautiful being/body human-plane space-suit spirit having a human experience you CAN change gears NOW.

Not impossible to start where you are at.

First of all: why

Why do you want to be doing the fast. You say you feel out of control. I'm guessing some of this means you are gaining weight and some of this means an inordinate amount of time begins to be spent (read: wasted) in recreational eating.

So: health and time not to mention money for food is squandered?

The Juicy Fulfillment Meetup at Rawprincess Studio last night.


Just came back to this.

Mutual support is the key to any recovery program and isolation is the biggest obstacle to success.

With all that said, you really have to listen to your own body.

Try different juice combinations and simply follow your tastes.

Andy the "Year of Juice" guy (look for him on Facebook) is fasting all year. He has reminded me to get enough calories if I am physically active and fasting by making fresh fruit juices in the morning which is what he does.

The greens are equally important but not so much for calories as for a life force ingredient--sunlight in the chlorophyll, a nutrient-dense quantity of minerals. A minimum of one quart a day. You may add lemon juice and fresh ginger juice with a bit of apple if you like that taste better. 

A rule of thumb for green juice is your base is always celery and cucumber.

To the celery and cucumber add dark leafy greens one or two kinds such as parsley and kale.

Rotate the kinds of darker greens you end up using so that you also use romaine or spinach and dandelion and bok choy.

Another wonderful variation for the green juice is, instead of apple add red bell pepper and a tomato. To this you can add kelp or dulse powder, a tsp of hempseed oil or flaxseed oil (cold-pressed and fresh) ... and /or a greens powder.

A "chocolate milk" recipe is plain fresh clean carrot juice with vitamineralgreen or Rok's wholelifesuperfoods.com Green Mix (quite vibrant and amazing) ...

If you are just starting out drink as much juice as you want. The juicefeasting.com site has tons of info and they recommend a juice "feast" not a fast. This entails four quarts of juice each day.

You may chew on bee pollen and chlorella tablets as a snack if you are not opposed to the bee product.

A tsp of honey once a day is allowed but no more.

Occasionally, or especially the first week, if you feel emotional at night or stir-crazy or hungry or whatever you may make a hempseed latte. Blend it well. And then take a relaxing herbal tea, a hot epsom salt and lavendar bath as well as spray some melatonin drops under your tongue then get in bed with a hot water bottle and neck roll (the kind you microwave). Read an inspirational book and rub your feet, shoulders, face, hands and neck. Turn out the light and lie on your right side imagining your liver filling with light and healing and your colon resting from cares. :-)

Using psyllium seed powder by shaking it up as directed in some fruit juice and following it with a large glass of plain water will fill you up and also help move the bowels--removing any stirred up toxins or old hardened fecal matter which, if left intact can cause headaches and irritability as well as more cravings during a fast.

Do this psyllium drink any time you have a craving, but as a general routine in the morning after your quart of water and before your regular juices is good. Then as much as possible do this psyllium drink last thing in the early evening several hours before bed. At night you may take an herbal laxative occasionally such as Swiss Kriss or the tea Smooth Move ... to make sure everything is moving along well.

CAUTION: Make sure you absolutely drink a large glass of plain water after the psyllium drink (or more) or it will actually have the opposite effect and plug you up inside.

A colonic irrigation at a professional colonic hydrotherapist's office is recommended weekly ... at the very least a small enema bag for each morning.

Drink one quart of water upon arising.

Hope all this gets you going. I would toss out any tempting foods which are not alive living foods which you feel are optimal.

If you feel tempted by them perhaps you should eat them to your heart's content until you are really sick of them and how they make you feel. It sounds like you are there or close to it now.

Your body is a sacred temple and it's time to show up 100% everyday to be of service to humanity.

Amazing Hempseed Creamer

Blend several handfuls of raw organic hempseed into a small amount of water
Add a spoon of coconut oil depending on how rich you want it.
several droppers of your favorite flavor of Sweetleaf Stevia drops
optional: a pinch of freshly ground pink salt
raw organic cinnamon powder

This may be refrigerated and reblended as needed for use during the day.

Add to hot tea or coffees. Adding matcha or reishi is an awesome latte.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cindy's Window ... The List

Outside The Rawprincess, Goose Hollow: Cindy Cummins photo
Just for Today:
qt water
white tea
fresh celery, apple, lemon, ginger juice ...
Plan: lemonade
more green juice
pickup some fruit for juicing for the calories

For transparency sake, (I feel a little sheepish telling you since people can't believe I'm taking this, I'm using eHCG drops to peel the flab off my digestive organs and middle for the next few weeks ... but I feel personally, within myself, pleased that I am using it.)

The List:
I am grateful for the music on Pandora 
I feel grateful I'm going to highlight my hair a little this a.m. real quick
I am grateful I put avocado and blueberries, mashed up on my face while I soaked in the bath of epsom salt last night
I am grateful for how hydrated I feel
I am grateful for the plans to go to PUJA tonight with a tantric focused new friend who doesn't believe in pain as such though very different from Mr M I welcome the attention and the closeness.
I am grateful he is a videographer and can help me with my homework.
I am grateful for making up with Michael yesterday and how good his hug felt.
I am grateful I don't expect him (or Indie tonight) to be all things to me. I only accept and expect them to be what and who they are to me. For what I seek in a primary partner will come as I let go and release the sense of urgency.
I am grateful for Operator and ALL OUR fun erotic bantering via text all day.
I am grateful for how brilliant he is, he can design for major products and systems all day while showering me with his astute eloquency regarding who I am and all he sees in me--all with nary a typo. Such a great flirt ...
I am grateful our relationship--now over six years strong, long distance is getting better all the time: I think 160+ texts in two weeks right now is amusing--Mr M and I, at our long distance peak were doing like over 1500 a month! 
I am grateful for the hot tea waiting for me.
I am grateful I have fresh bok choy I can add to the celery apple juice, it adds a lot of juice.
I am grateful I have the choice to go to Nia this a.m. but if I don't make it I won't fret too much.
I am grateful I get to look in the closet for something to wear to sacred puja tonight. I have a long silky scarf from India.

Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage. --Anais Nin
Conscious Contact:
God/dess it hurt when I lost my treasured pendulum in the dryer last night given to me by Cheri in Bellingham years ago, but I realize that you had just taught me how to do body pendulum the past month and I really actually did not need that pendulum anymore. But still, I miss Cheri and I thank you for her and also for the fat elephant ear plant she had given us. I ask for connection with her if it be highest good ... how to find her. Also for Wendy my childhood best friend. I ask for sight for Thomas, I ask for healing for Robert, I ask for safe travels for Tashi and Jeremy. I ask for bliss and joy and intriguing zest for my children's lives ... I ask for yoga swing. Please review my list on the whiteboard on the stove of things I wish for dear Goddess ... a warm trip with beautiful men eating tropical fruit, a long hiking trip with hot springs each night, to finish Dave's book, a puppy for Christmas and an income from home which allows me to be with puppy and maybe kitties. A space for my babies. Long curtains, futons, plush rugs of natural fibers, light, green plants, clean water and bliss in body movement and the ground of being.

Thought for the Day: 
If you're in hot water get out of the pot. Meeting makers make it. 

... to check out the 7am  mtg near me and look for some oldtimers in the neighborhood. I really haven't switched gears since I had been going to the late night owls meeting and it was all newbies and transient and though I can be of service there, it isn't supporting me like the weekly women's did in Gardiner, NY. I still haven't--well, in MN I did have a women's but never really established it like I had with Lilian and others in NY and also like the food recovery mtg in NY. I still haven't re-established that family. I realize that my church now is very key and that is a very good thing but I do believe there is a spot right nearby. I feel it ... a recovery circle right here waiting for me to slip into my chair there.

Bliss and blessed be. *teardrop*

Editors Note: A few minutes after posting this the dancer from the pendulum was found clinging to a shirt from the dryer in my drawer. It can be repaired by a jeweler. If you are a jewelry repair artist in Portland contact me. bliss~

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Warmed Cheezy Kale & Veggie Toast Casserole

A winter dish can be served right out of the dehydrator for a casserole affect using a seed cheeze and veggie pattie topping. Try under-dehydrating it so it's more chunky and only crunchy on the edges.

Create a cheezy sauce of red bell pepper, seeds, lemon juice, coconut aminos and nutritional yeast flakes.
Nice for those northwest blustery days for us raw vegans when we aren't fasting or doing 30-bananas.

The "toast" is a dehydrated cracker made with flaxseed and veggies.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cosy Midnight Tea Service

Rawprincess Studio Tea Time

Ginger Cookies

  • Pulp from morning's apple-ginger-lemon juice
  • (I had juiced 4 apples, 1 lemon and a lg. ginger chunk)
  • 1 heaping T raw almond butter
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1/2 mill raw cashews
  • 2-3 T agave nectar
  • pinch pink salt
  • dropper of English Toffee stevia by SweetLeaf

Stir and spread onto teflon sheet.
Reverse sheet onto screen and remove teflon sheet.
Dehydrate at 105 degrees as desired. I left it in all day.
Cut in shapes or squares and serve on a platter.

Reishi Tea with Foaming Hempseed Mylk

Place cool water in blender while bringing more water to a boil on stove.
Blend cool water with:
  • Wood scoop of Reishi/Shilajit/Ormus tea (3 Immortals)
  • 2-3 T hempseed
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • English Toffee stevia
  • sweetener if desired
  • cinnamon, generously sprinkled
Blend and carefully add some boiling water while blending to bring to steaminess as desired.
Serve immediately while frothy with ginger cookies.
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