Total Pageviews

Monday, February 27, 2012

"I Am", On Finding Happiness and a Lovely Little Fruit Salad

I finally got a chance to view Tom Shadyac's documentary entitled "I Am".  I've been on the wait list for this from the library for forever and a half.  I first heard about Tom's work via a You Tube link; here he is in an interview talking about the massive changes he's made in his life following a catastrophic event:

The film is very well done, although I would love to have seen more from Lynne McTaggart, one of the experts Tom interviewed in his search for answers to these questions:  What is wrong with the world?  And what can we do about it?  I read Lynne's book "The Field" years ago while delving into quantum physics and the light that science can shed on what reality truly is.  If you've seen "What the Bleep Do We Know" or "What the Bleep, Down the Rabbit Hole" you will recognize her name.  If you haven't seen those films or read her book, I do highly recommend them, especially if you are into that sort of cosmic, philosophic kind of thing. 

Find out more about Lynne here:

In Tom's film, the concepts of who we are and how we affect the world around us, are given from various scientific and philosophic perspectives as Tom takes us through his journey as uber-successful film director (Liar, Liar, Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, etc.), to earthy, truth-seeking, activist.

I had researched Tom quite a bit and was not surprised, but a bit sad that he didn't put more of his personal changes into the film.  I guess it would have flown in the face of who he's become to list his efforts, but the man has donated a HUGE amount of money to help the global hunger and homelessness issues, and scaled down his personal consumption and lifestyle to a level that would impress most minimalists.

There was a fascinating glimpse into how our emotions affect the world around us--- food was used to illustrate----which was very similar to a scene from Ghostbusters where the gang is yelling at the 'slime' and registering the results on a meter.  In Tom's movie, they used yoghurt in a petri dish hooked up to electrodes.  The dish was in close proximity to Tom and his reactions to names of associates or to concepts (like ex-wife, agent, lawyer) were reflected in the yoghurt!  All of this occurred with no physical connection from Tom to the yoghurt.  Something is clearly going on here on a level that is much deeper.  The implications of these concepts to our everyday life are about limitless.

Besides the very strong message about our global connectiveness and our responsibility really to be aware of the affect we have on others as well as the physical universe, I was deeply moved by another message in Tom's film.

He outlined a universal truth, if-you-will---a basic law of nature.  And that is this:  nothing in nature takes more than it needs.  A massive redwood tree doesn't consume ALL the nutrients from the soil, just what it needs.  A lion doesn't kill ALL the gazelles, just one.  He goes on to say that if in nature something does happen to consume more than it needs, it quickly dies out. 

Here's the part that got me:  In the human body we have a name for something that consumes more than it needs-----CANCER.

Wow.  And in the days following my viewing of the film, I thought about that truth...a lot.  Ironically, even cancer kills itself off, eventually devouring the host that it needs to survive!

I've been on a minimalist trend and a massive effort to get our belongings pared down to a manageable level for some time now.  My husband and I have both lost parents in the last few years, and have taken on enormous amounts of items and personal belongs from our parents.  It's been a tormenting and painstakingly agonizing process to try to sort through things, decide what to keep, what to sell, what to donate, what to set aside for our kids.  I've made good progress, but always there seems to be more to deal with.  My husband said it best the other day when he caught me in a frustrated moment:  "Sometimes I feel like we are just moving things from one place to another".  Amen.  And that is no way to live.  The 'things' have taken on their own lives, and like a cancer, threaten to take ours.

Items that brought joy to my mother have accumulated and are taking up space in my home and my life, not bringing joy, but rather burden, and in some cases, rusting and collecting dust.  Someone else could be enjoying them and getting use from them.  Worse yet, if I don't handle these items, my kids will have to and that is a legacy I do not want to leave behind.

And.... I don't want to be a consume more than I clutter up my become a slave to the items that are supposed to bring me joy or at least serve a purpose.

I guess all of this makes sense and has presented itself in a timely fashion.  I will be approaching the two year mark soon of my complete commitment to my personal health.  It only makes sense that areas not yet handled in terms of 'personal environmental health' would surface.  I am reminded of the old wise saying, 'when the student is ready, the teacher will appear'----thank you, Tom; you set a powerful example for us all.

For more on Tom's documentary:

A Little Fruit Salad

I got this recipe from Whole Living Magazine -  My subscription was a gift to me (thank you, R!), and I've been enjoying the magazine very much, but am still a bit ambivalent about it.  (I am soooo picky).  There are some really good things in this magazine, and recipes that work with a whole foods, vegan diet very well or can be easily adapted, but then I'll read something about needing to get our protein from lean meat and I just think, <sigh>, will the message EVER get out?

This past month's issue was visually just stunning.  The clever photographers and food gurus made a color palette of foods and devoted a page to each color of the rainbow.  The work was nothing short of artistic.  I was just mesmerized by it and was looking at the 'yellow' page and saw the recipe for this little salad and went 'HEY!  I have all that stuff!!!'  Don't you love it when that happens?

So....Little Yellow Salad is comprised of Sweet Meyer Lemons

which I had never used before but just magically happened to have in yon fridge.

And, mango, pineapple and toasted coconut.  I had some leftover unsweetened coconut, so tossed some in a dry frying pan to toast.

Wow, this is worth doing even if you don't have a recipe to use it in....the aroma is fabulous!

You just chop up the mango and pineapple, thinly slice some of the lemons (I peeled those sections I was including in the salad) and squeeze juice from the lemon over all.  Toss and top with toasted coconut*.

Lovely little yellow salad.

Even in winter (or maybe especially in winter!), this burst of citrus was really good.  There is just the right amount of sweet and just the right amount of tang.  And the yellow is pretty darn cheery on a February day.

Next post announces an exciting cookbook giveaway!

Sue, trying to consume only what I need, both in my body and my environment, in Ohio

*note:  there is a lot of conflicting information on coconut and its affect on our health.  My personal policy is to use it very sparingly.  This salad would be just as good with some lightly toasted sunflower seeds or other substitution for the coconut.


  1. Looks good! I don't like coconut, so no problem skipping that!

    Take care!

    1. Ha-ha...good for you!
      You take care 2, :-)

  2. I had a subscription to Whole Living a few years back and felt the same way. The salad looks delicious though! Love meyer lemons!

    1. Ah, interesting. I just feel like, "so close, yet so far away" sometimes reading it. Great inspiration in it though, and most things I've seen are very easy to sub-out to healthier options.
      Those Meyer lemons have become a hit for me too! Love it when I find something new to try (and then end up liking it :-0).

  3. I love meyer lemons. They have such a nice aroma! I bet coconut goes lovely with them!

    1. Hi Vicky,
      Yes, they really do have a great aroma. I've been using the rinds dried and ground up in my kitchen scrubs (1 part borax to 1 part baking soda)....smells wonderful! The coconut (especially toasted) really does go well with them in this dish. I'm thinking it'll be a great, light salad for the summer too. (Checking out your blog! Lovely! I encourage my readers to check out too...