07 April 2009

feeling grateful

[Image: PaP67's Fotothing]

After the street tree bed gardening workshop at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (which I mentioned briefly in my last post and a related post), I had the rare opportunity to walk through the garden at night. Past the lily ponds, up the steps through the magnolia grove. The star magnolias in full bloom, the other pink magnolias (not sure of the variety) still partially tucked into their fuzzy outer petals, I take a deep breath to ingest their intoxicating scent. What could be better on a cool night such as this? To smell the messengers of an abundant spring, telling me warmer weather is just ahead.

Hanami, cherry blossom season, has just begun. A few weeks from now will be the Cherry Blossom Festival, Sakura Matsuri. But for now, I enjoy the early bloomers and the soon-to-emerge pink and white buds that will burst in the days to come.

I overhear some older garden members behind me talking about where the banana tree used to be, and some other nostalgia. I'm a member, too, but don't hold the memories that they do. It's all still novel to me. I could probably count on both hands and a couple of toes my visits to the garden. I know enough the layout of the place, but I'm saving space in my brain for more of it to leave a deeper impression.

Leaving the garden, passing Brooklyn Museum, I feel grateful. For the proximity I live to these sacred places. For the health I feel inside of me. For the solitude I'll enjoy this evening.

I look straight down Washington Avenue and there's the Chrysler Building, even more captivating than the Empire State Building, I think.

I enjoy the rest of my walk home. I savor the chill in the air. In a few months, I might wish for it. I might even summon it next week while in a hot, sweaty Bikram class.

I get home and call my sweetheart to let him know I'm alright. I excuse myself so that I can eat my chocolate mousse (course #6 for the day, pictured right). It's so rich and decadent, I can't finish it (wishing someone were here to share it with me!). The bitter cacao nibs stick in my teeth.

According to Organic Avenue, substances in chocolate that have been discussed in the scientific literature as pharmacologically significant, include: anandamide (bliss chemical), arginine (nature's Viagra), dopamine (neurotransmitter), epicatechins (antioxidants), histamine, magnesium, serotonin (anti-stress neurotransmitter), tryptophan (anti-depressant amino acid), phenylethylamine (PEA), polyphenols (antioxidants), tyramine, and salsolinol.

A neighbor is loudly playing some bad hip hop. It doesn't get me down; I think of what to counter it with - M. Ward or Bonnie 'Prince' Billy? Nina Simone it is.

I was going to save the mousse, but since I decided not to drink #7 (coconut mylk), I revisit it. I light a beeswax candle and sip on some calming tea. I finish the mousse as I write this, and almost regret it. I'm feeling full and it's late. I haven't been sleeping so well, and I don't want it to keep me up.

Time to step away from the stimulating nature of the computer. Bon Iver is lulling me into my relaxed self.

Going to read from the Yoga Sutras (Satchidinanda translation) and do some relaxing asanas.

More on the lovefast tomorrow, maybe with a little less detail.

Good night!

my l.o.v.e. - day 2 morning/afternoon

It's day 2 of the live.organic.vegan.experience, woohoo!

Related posts:

8:00 am - Start the day with fresh squeezed lemon and water. No adverse effects of note. Slept better last night, but still not great.

8:30 am - On the 2 train and feeling sleepy. Looking forward to dropping off the bottles from the day before and picking up my sustenance for the day. Another 7 meals waiting to be consumed.

Two things I appreciate about this journey. One: everything is prepared for me. Two: The vessels carrying the liquid and food for this week are either reusable (there's a $2 deposit on every bottle) or compostable (the plastic containers for food items say "compostable" on the bottom) - plus they're doled out in a reusable bag. I consider taking the plastic containers to a community garden for compost to see how long they take to break down. In a landfill, it would probably take years, but I guess it's a little better than regular plastic.

Breakfast is served.

9:36 am - After downing my energy elixir (and forgetting to photograph it) I start course #2, orange/grapefruit juice. I'm a little nervous about it because when I drink citrus before eating in the morning I usually get heartburn.

10:20 am - No heartburn and no hunger, I'm a little tired, but feeling good.

10:51 am - A little pang of hunger that's quelled by water.

11:20 am - Not really hungry. Not supposed to have #3 'til after noon.

11:42 am - Getting hungry. Head hangs heavy as I read about insomnia for a copywriting assignment. Definitely not helping.

11:59 am - Sssoo huunngryy. Time for Veggie Vibrance!

Liquid lunch (sans booze, though this would make
a great Bloody Mary)

12:04 pm - Sip, sip. Mmm Mmm good.

12:17 pm - Burps taste like this morning's energy elixir, which tastes like matcha green tea.

12:28 pm - I just got a craving for cheezy poofs. Fantasizing about Barbara's Bakery baked cheese puffs.

1:24 pm - GGggrrrrr goes the stomach and the brain. This too, shall pass (I was told to repeat this to myself throughout the day by the folks at Organic Avenue).

1:31 pm - Whoa woozy! I think it's time to eat.

Sunflower falafel. They taste better than they look in this shot.

1:47 pm - I want to pop these little falafel in my mouth and swallow them whole! They're dry, crunchy, and crumbly - and I don't want to waste one crumb. Tasty! Just like falafel. Though the initial touch to the tongue is reminiscent of coffee. This is what's in 'em: sunflower seeds, almonds, garlic, sea salt, scallions, yellow onion, tahini, parsley, lemon olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, shallot, black pepper, water, nama shoyu, scallions, parsley, red & green cabbage, red bell pepper. I think that might include the dipping sauce, which I'm tempted to eat on its own.

2:00 pm - After two falafels, the craziness is subsiding. I'm amazed at my reactions to hunger, and try to be really mindful of them.

So far today, I've had a hard time focusing. And the irritability thing has popped up, too. I put my greatest intention into not lashing out on people like a rabid dog. I find it less of a challenge to separate my hunger emotions from my response to others when I observe my feelings and let them pass.

2:30 pm - It's that time of the day when I'm craving something sweet. I know my friend has a boxful of chocolate in her office that she brought back from Paris, but I must resist, even if it is calling to me in French.

3:04 pm - Having some hot water to curb the cravings.

3:14 pm - Getting sleeeeppyyy... zzzzzZZZZZ

3:46 pm - One of my biggest pet peeves is when people where too much cologne (or perfume or scented lotion). Makes me sick! Especially now.
4:01 pm - Someone sitting near me is talking about food - all animal products. Chicken, potato salad, turkey meatloaf, cheese, salami, crab cakes. It's maddening! I imagine myself sitting at a big banquet table, like Audrey in National Lampoon's European Vacation, stuffing my face until I blow up like a balloon. I guess that's not very appealing.

4:22 pm - I'm letting my edamame salad warm to room temperature. I can think of nothing else but eating it.

4:31 pm - Mmmm... tastes like potato salad.

5:03 pm - Heading out for a Street Tree Bed Gardening workshop at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. More of the lovefast later!