Alan Watts (Jan 6, 1915 – Nov 16, 1973) was a philosopher known for opening Western minds to Eastern wisdom. He called himself an entertainer, rather than a guru or teacher, and encouraged a dialogue that is increasingly relevant in the spectrum of current events. Intertwined with stunning scholarship, his buoyant humor resounds, linking many of us to the collective unconscious. Today, 101 years after his birth, I’m sharing 101 quotes that have deeply impacted my understanding of the human experience. Enjoy!
*Alan Watts was a prolific writer and speaker. I source the specific work for every quote that I can, and include “(audio)” to reference material sourced from audio lectures found on alanwatts.org and alanwatts.com. Hearing his voice and cadence drives his message to a deeper level; I recommend Alan Watts 101 for short animated videos coupled with some of my favorite talks.
- “This is the real secret of life—to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
- “The actual trouble is that profit is identified entirely with money, as distinct from the real profit of living with dignity and elegance in beautiful surroundings.” ~Does it Matter
- “Before you were born there was this same nothing-at-all-forever. And yet… you happened. And if you happened once, you can happen again.” ~AW Biography (audio)
- “Everybody is ‘you’. Everybody is ‘I’. That’s our name. We all share that.”
- “For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.” ~The Book on The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
- “In nature the skin is as much a joiner as a divider, being, as it were the bridge whereby the inner organs have contact with air, warmth, and light.” ~Nature, Man and Woman
- “I do not even style myself a Zen Buddhist. For the aspect of Zen in which I am personally interested is nothing that can be organized, taught, transmitted, certified, or wrapped up in any kind of system. It can’t even be followed, for everyone has to find it for himself.” ~This is It
- “There is no such thing as a single, solitary event. The only possible single event is all events whatsoever. That could be regarded as the only possible atom; the only possible single thing is everything.” ~Buddhism, The Religion of No Religion
- “People who exude love are apt to give things away. They are in every way like rivers; they stream. And so when they collect possessions, and things they like, they are apt to give them to other people. Because, have you ever noticed that when you start giving things away, you keep getting more?” ~Spectrum of Love (audio)
- “It’s one of the great wonders of life: What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? And if you think long enough about that, something will happen to you. You will find out, among other things, that it will pose the next question to you: What was it like to wake up after never having gone to sleep? That was when you were born. You see, you can’t have an experience of nothing. Nature abhors a vacuum.”
- “We need to recognize the physical reality of relationship between organisms as having as much ‘substance’ as the organisms themselves, if not more.” ~Nature, Man and Woman
- “In the more intimate sphere of personal life, the problem is the pain of trying to avoid suffering and the fear of trying not to be afraid.” ~ Become What You Are
- “We love to see a child lost in the dance and not performing for an audience. To be happy and know that you are happy is really the overflowing cup of life. To dance as if there was no audience.”
- “Only those who have cultivated the art of living completely in the present have any use for making plans for the future, for when the plans mature they will be able to enjoy the results.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “Your soul is not in your body; your body is in your soul.” ~Introduction to Zen (audio)
- “Tomorrow never comes.”
- “A buddha would see you all as being exactly right; just where you are, all of you are buddhas. Even for those of you who do not know it, it is right for you not to know it at this moment.”
- “Reality itself is gorgeous. It is the plenum; the fullness of total joy.”
- “When you know that this moment is the Tao, and this moment is considered by itself without past and without future—eternal, neither coming into being nor going out of being—there is nirvana.” ~The Philosophies of Asia
- Because we cannot relate to the sensuous and material present we are most happy when good things are expected to happen, not when they are happening.” ~Does it Matter
- “There are, then, two ways of understanding an experience. The first is to compare it with the memories of other experiences, and so to name and define it. This is to interpret it in accordance with the dead and the past. The second is to be aware of it as it is, as when, in the intensity of joy, we forget past and future, let the present be all, and then do not even stop to think ‘I am happy.'” ~The Wisdom of Insecurity
- “There is no such thing as ‘the truth’ that can be stated. In other words, ask the question: ‘What is the true position of the stars in the Big Dipper?’ Well it depends on where you’re looking at them from.” ~Comparative Philosophy (audio)
- “The hills are moving into their stillness. They mean something because they are being transformed into my brain, and my brain is an organ of meaning.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “Consciousness is radar that is scanning the environment to look out for trouble, in the same way that a ship’s radar is looking for rocks or other ships. The radar does not notice the vast amount of space where there are no rocks and other ships. By and large we scan things over but we pay attention only to what our set of values tells us we should pay attention to.”
- Not picking and choosing doesn’t mean that you have to cultivate being detached. You can try that, sure. But then you find you’re terribly attached to your non-attachment. Like you’re proud of your humility.” ~Zen And The West (audio)
- “For when we stand with our nature, seeing that there is nowhere to stand against it, we are at last able to move unmoved.” ~Nature, Man and Woman
- “You hear the sound of water… And that’s quite as important as anything I’ve got to say.” ~Ecological Awareness (audio)
- “Money is an abstraction. It cannot, of itself, buy any pleasure whatsoever. Because all pleasures involve skill and love.”
- “I am looking at the world, not confronting it; I am knowing it by a continuous process of transforming it into myself, so that everything around me, the whole globe of space, no longer feels away from me but in the middle.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “Light is a relationship between electrical energy and eyeballs. It is you, in other words, who evoke the world and you evoke the world in accordance with what kind of a ‘you’ you are.” ~Philosophy of Nature (audio)
- “[…] Thoughts, ideas, and words are ‘coins’ for real things. They are not those things, and though they represent them, there are many ways in which they do not correspond at all. As with money and wealth, so with thoughts and things; ideas and words are more or less fixed, whereas real things change.” ~The Wisdom of Insecurity
- “The more complete kind of mind, which can feel as well as think, remains to ‘indulge’ the odd sense of mystery which comes from contemplating the fact that everything is at base something which cannot be known.” ~Become What You Are
- “Transiency is a mark of spirituality. A lot of people think the opposite… that the spiritual things are the everlasting things. But, you see, the more a things tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.” ~Philosophy of Nature (audio)
- “We’ve run into a cultural situation where we’ve confused the symbol with the physical reality; the money with the wealth; and the menu with the dinner. And we’re starving on eating menus.”
- “The ego is a kind of flip, a knowing of knowing, a fearing of fearing. It’s a curlicue, an extra jazz to experience, a sort of double-take or reverberation, a dithering of consciousness which is the same as anxiety.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “You might imagine there being a space without any solid in it, but you will never, never encounter one, because you will be there in the form of a solid to find out about it.” ~The Philosophies of Asia
- “You are in relationships with the external world that are, on the whole, incredibly harmonious. But we have this rather myopic way of looking at things. And we screen out from attention anything that is not immediately important to a scanning system based on sensing danger.”
- “When you look out of your eyes, at nature happening out there, you’re looking at you. That’s the real you. The you that goes on of itself.” ~A Conversation with Myself
- “What you are in your in-most being escapes your examination in rather the same way that you can’t look directly into your own eyes without using a mirror, you can’t bite your own teeth, you can’t taste your own tongue, and you can’t touch the tip of this finger with the tip of this finger.”
- “Is it possible that myself, my existence, so contains being and nothing that death is merely the ‘off’ interval in an on/off pulsation which must be eternal—because every alternative to this pulsation (e.g., its absence) would in due course imply its presence?” ~The Book on The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
- “Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.” ~The Book on The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
- “If we came to our senses, we would be aware of ourselves not as only on the inside of our skins… But we would be aware that the outside is us too.” ~ Ecological Awareness (audio)
- “The word ‘person’ comes from the latin word ‘persona’ which referred to the masks worn by actors in which sound would come through. The ‘person’ is the mask—the role you’re playing. And all of your friends and relations and teachers are busy telling you who you are and what your role in life is.”
- “Light is an inseparable trinity of sun, object, and eye.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “There’s no need to possess [the Tao]. You are it, and by trying to possess it you imply that you’re not. So, by trying to catch hold of it, you as it were, push it away… Although you can’t really push it away because the very pushing is all it. You see?” ~Ecological Awareness (audio)
- “The gift of remembering and binding time creates the illusion that the past stands to the present as agent to act, mover to moved. Living thus from the past, with echoes taking the lead, we are not truly here, and are always a bit late to the feast.”
- “If you say making money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living. That is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid. Better to have a short life, which is full of what you like doing, than a long one spent in a miserable way.”
- “This very moment, this very world, this very body is the point. Now. You see? But, if you’re seeking something beyond all the time, you never get with it. You’re never here.” ~Zen And The West (audio)
- “The physical world is diaphanous. It’s like music. When you play music, it simply disappears. There’s nothing left. And, for that very reason it is one of the highest and most spiritual of the arts, because it is the most transient.” ~Comparative Philosophy (audio)
- “We’re living in a fluid universe, in which the art of faith is not in taking one’s stand, but in learning to swim.”
- “Buddha is the man who woke up, who discovered who he really was.” ~Buddhism the Religion of No Religion
- “What do we mean by ‘I’? We mean the symbol of ourselves. Now ourselves, in this case, is the whole psycho-physical organism—conscious and unconscious, plus its environment. That’s your real self. Your real self, in other words, is the universe as centered on your organism.”
- “Consciousness is rather unfolding, the ‘e-volution,’ of what has always been hidden in the heart of the primordial universe of stars […] It is in the living organism that the whole world feels; it is only by virtue of eyes that the stars themselves are light.” ~Nature, Man and Woman
- “Money is the same order of reality as inches, grams, or lines of longitude and latitude. It is an abstraction. It is a method of bookkeeping to obviate the cumbersome procedures of barter. But our culture, our civilization, is entirely hung up on the notion that money has an independent reality of its own.”
- “Supposing you knew the future and could control it perfectly, what would you do? You’d say: ‘Let’s shuffle the deck and have another deal.'” ~Image of Man (audio)
- “I see that resistance, ego, is just an extra vortex in the stream—part of it—and that in fact there is no actual resistance at all. There is no point from which to confront life, or stand against it.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “The physical universe is basically playful. There’s no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere; that is to say, it doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by analogy to music, because music as an art form is essentially playful.” ~The Tao of Philosophy (audio)
- “We have been hypnotized—literally hypnotized—by social convention into feeling and sensing that we exist only inside of our skins… That we are not the original big bang, but just something out on the end of it. And therefore, everybody feels unhappy and miserable.”
- “When you are not getting in the way of yourself, you will begin to find out that all the great things you do are really happenings. All growth is something that happens. For growth to happen two things are important. You must have the technical ability to express what happens. And secondly, you must get out of your own way.”
- “Let’s ask, ‘How big is the sun?’ Are we going to define the sun as limited by the extent of its fire? That’s one possible definition. But we could equally well define the sphere of the sun by the extent of its light.” ~Time
- “The more it sides with itself, the more the good soul reveals its inseparable shadow, and the more it disowns its shadow the more it becomes it.” ~The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
- “Nature is really formless, in the sense that it is one form. Naming a cloud a cloud does not separate the cloud from the sky. Just as when you pick up water into a sieve, you don’t succeed in separating the water into strips.”
- “The possibility of seeing down into something goes on forever and ever. When you work with mantras, you can learn to hear similar infinite depths in sound.” ~Buddhism The Religion of No Religion
- “For when no knowledge is held to be respectable which is not objective knowledge, what we know will always seem to be not ourselves, not the subject. Thus we have the feeling of knowing things only from the outside, never from within, of being confronted eternally with a world of impenetrable surfaces within surfaces within surfaces.” ~Nature, Man and Woman
- “Nirvana is right where you are, provided that you don’t object to it.”
- “I am not one who believes that it is any necessary virtue in the philosopher to spend his life defending a consistent position. It is surely a kind of spiritual pride to refrain from ‘thinking out loud,’ and to be unwilling to let a thesis appear in print until you are prepared to champion it to the death. Philosophy, like science, is a social function, for a man cannot think rightly alone, and the philosopher must publish his thoughts as much to learn from criticism as to contribute to the sum of wisdom. If, then, I sometimes make statements in an authoritative and dogmatic manner, it is for the sake of clarity rather than from the desire to pose as an oracle.” ~Nature, Man and Woman
- “You can’t live at all unless you can live fully now.”
- “Thus the conventional saint and the conventional sinner, the ascetic and the sensualist, the metaphysician and the materialist may have so much in common that their opposition is quite trivial. Like alternating heat and cold, they may be symptoms of the same fever.” ~Nature, Man and Woman
- “A baby has for a long time been part of its mother and has floated in the ocean of the womb. So it has the sense from the beginning of what is really to an enlightened person totally obvious—that the universe is one single organism.” ~The Philosophies of Asia
- “The extraordinary capacity to feel an event inwardly, as distinct from bursting into precipitate action to avoid the tension of feeling—this capacity is in fact a wonderful power of adaptation to life, not unlike the instant responses of flowing water to the contours of the ground over which it flows.” ~Become What You Are
- “I prefer not to translate the word Tao at all because to us Tao is a sort of nonsense syllable, indicating the mystery that we can never understand—the unity that underlies the opposites.” ~What is Tao? (audio)
- “A proper exposition of Zen should ‘tease us out of thought;, and leave the mind lie an open window instead of a panel of stained glass.” ~The Spirit of Zen
- “It is as necessary to have air, water, plants, insects, birds, fish, and mammals as it is to have brains, hearts, lungs, and stomachs. The former are our external organs in the same way that the latter are our internal organs.” ~Does it Matter
- “The physical world—clouds, mountains, humans—is wiggly. When you try to pick up a fish with your bare hands, it wiggles and slips out. What do you do? You use a net. And the net is the basic thing we have for getting hold of the wiggly world. And then somehow we think we understand when we have translated it into terms of straight lines and squares. But it doesn’t fit in nature.”
- “Solidity is a neurological invention, and, I wonder, can the nerves be solid to themselves? Where do we begin? Does the order of the brain create the order of the world, or the order of the world the brain?” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “This is where the world begins. Only you’re not doing it by straining. A ‘you’ deeper than the ‘straining you’ is doing all of this. The same you that is growing your hair, coloring your eyes, and making your thumbprints. You don’t think about it. You don’t strain muscles to do it. But that is what is creating the world.”
- “You are all Vishnu playing that you’re in this mess, which is part of the cosmic dance. So, if that’s the case, dig it! You see? I mean, get with it! Be that!” ~Zen And The West (audio)
- “How can truth be known if it can never be defined? Zen would answer: by not trying to grasp or define it.” ~The Spirit of Zen
- “When you get to a deep ethical problem—where there is no easy decision on way or the other—you must look at the problem from the point of view of an artist. Which way of doing this is, in some sense, greater? It may be better to go off with a bang than a whimper.”
- “Man has to realize that he is an integral part of nature… that he is just as much a natural form as a seagull or a wave, or a mountain. And if he doesn’t recognize that, he uses his technical powers to destroy his environment… to foul his own nest.” ~Future of Communications (audio)
- “Your skin does not separate you from the world. It’s a bridge through which the external world flows into you. And you flow into it.”
- “Every effort to change what is being felt or seen predisposes and confirms the illusion of the independent knower or ego, and to try to get rid of what isn’t there is only to prolong confusion.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “What happens if you know that there is nothing you can do to be better? It’s kind of a relief isn’t it? You say ‘Well, now what do I do?’ When you are freed from being out to improve yourself, your own nature will begin to take over.”
- “We can see that the eternal is the transient, for the changing panorama of sense experience is not just a sum of appearing and disappearing things; it is a stable pattern or relationship manifested as, and by, transient forms.”
- “Education, in the real sense, is not preparation for life, it is actually living. It is the child participating in adult concerns. And doing it now and realizing that the point of the process in which the child is engages, is not to prepare the child for the future, but to enjoy doing the thing today.”
- “Your real self, the real you, is everything there is… but concentrated and expressing itself at the point called your physical organism.” ~Introduction to Zen (audio)
- “Your ego has about as much control over what goes on as a child sitting next to his father in a car with a plastic steering wheel.”
- “Thought is a means of concealing truth, despite the fact that it’s an extraordinarily useful faculty.” ~Veil of Thoughts (audio)
- “When you know that you have to go with the river, suddenly you acquire—behind everything that you do—the power of the river.”
- “[…] the transformation of consciousness undertaken in Taoism and Zen is more like the correction of faulty perception or the curing of a disease. It is not an acquisitive process of learning more and more facts or greater and greater skills, but rather an unlearning of wrong habits and opinions.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “The reality of our existence is that we are both the natural environment, which is ultimately the whole universe, and the organism, playing together. Why don’t we feel that way? Well obviously, because this other feeling gets in the way of it. This socially-induced feeling.”
- “The bud has opened and the fresh leaves fan out and curve back with a gesture which is unmistakably communicative but doesn’t say anything except, ‘Thus!’ And somehow that is quite satisfactory, even startlingly clear.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “We are all floating in a tremendous river and the river carries you along. Some of the people in the river are swimming against the current, but they are still being carried along. Others have learned that the art of the thing is to swim with it. You have to flow with the river. There is no other way. You can swim against it, and pretend not to be flowing with it. But you still flow with the river.”
- “We can’t say anything sensible about everything… about the universe, because we can’t find something that’s not the universe.”
- “This is why human beings find it difficult to learn and adapt to new situations: because we are always looking for precedence, for authority from the past on what we’re supposed to do now. And that gives us the impression that the past is all-important.”
- “The sure foundation upon which I had sought to stand has turned out to be the center from which I seek.” ~The Joyous Cosmology
- “One solitary fact or thing cannot exist by itself, since it would be infinite—without delineating limits, without anything other. Now this essential duality and multiplicity of facts should be the clearest evidence of their interdependence and inseparability.” ~Nature, Man and Woman
- “The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events—that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies—and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.” ~The Book on The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
- “When the police enter a house in which there are thieves, the thieves go up from the ground floor to the first floor. When the police arrive on the first floor, the thieves have gone up to the second, and so to the third and finally out to the roof. And so, when the ego is about to be unmasked, it immediately identifies with a higher self. It goes up a level. Because the religious game is simply a refined and highbrow version of the ordinary game: ‘How can I outwit me?… How can I one-up me?'” ~Comparative Philosophy (audio)
- “Love is a spectrum. There is not, as it were, nice love and nasty love… spiritual love, and material love… mature affection on the one hand and infatuation on the other. These are all forms of the same energy, and you have to take it and let it grow where you find it. If you find that only one of these forms exist in you, if at least you will water it, the rest of the plant will blossom as well.” ~Comparative Philosophy (audio)
- “Absence speaks. Nothing is important. But, we are brought up… We are so brainwashed, we are so bamboozled, we are so hypnotized, that we don’t know that.” ~Comparative Philosophy (audio)
~Compiled by Annie Tichenor, with the help of Mark Watts, Nicolette Schumacher, and Allison Faust
Chances are, your mind could use a detox right about now. If you are like me, and most of us, you may still have a little demon inside who thrives on fear, self-doubt, and mediocrity. And I’d like to thank Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, for helping me to realize why I need to stamp it out for good.
Edward Bernays (1891-1995), inventor of public relations, believed “It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind”. He was the man who made it cool for women to smoke and for eggs to go with bacon, and invented techniques to manage and control the minds of the American people. His ideas were used by government, corporations, and even the CIA. He showed companies how people could want what they didn’t need, by linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires. Cigarettes became glamorous torches of freedom. Cars became happiness machines. As Adam Curtis points out, in his illuminating documentary “The Century of the Self“, Edward Bernays started the trend: “by satisfying people’s selfish desires, one made them happy and thus docile…irrelevant objects could become powerful emotional symbols of how you wanted to be seen by others.” He realized that our subconscious mind has a knee jerk reaction to irrational fears and, coupled with our “herd instinct”, could be easily manipulated for profit. He recognized and identified our inner demon—the irrational subconscious—and how to control it.
Why is this so important to know?!
When we are consumed with our irrational fear and a desire to consume, we become, in Edward’s words, “docile”. We stay with the herd. An individual subject to fear and self-esteem issues, is an individual under control. We are easily led to purchase and consume. And If you don’t want to be part of this, the best thing to do is consciously pull away from the herd.
Recently I made a deliberate decision to pull away from the herd for the foreseeable future. I decided to stop giving in to the demon who wants to feed on the most horrific stories our globe has to offer, and avoid the celebrity gossip with clever product placement that only serves to pump my demon up on steroids. I’ve made the decision to become a selective sifter of media, and have begun a conscious detox from stories aimed at my knee-jerk reactions. I am starving out the demon, and it is getting weaker by the day. And, perhaps most telling of all, I’ve replaced the need to “stamp out the demon” with the following question: “How do I make my life richer and more fulfilling?” And, you know what? The answers to that question feel tremendously good.
Our point of view is largely influenced by the information and stimulus that we process. In the hope to achieve a sensation of freedom over who we become, who might we invite to impact our minds? A shift in power is apparent, as many of us deliberate away from large media. Sources of awake and intelligent influence offer collaborative wisdom-building that addresses life and reality, opening the heart and tuning the cognitive process such that we may remember how to hear our collective soul.
Below, we list 15 detox resources to cleanse the palate from large media:
1. Alan Watts (1915-1973) was a philosopher, writer and speaker, remembered for spreading Eastern philosophies to a Western audience. His teachings are incredibly relevant today, and are resurgent in recent years. Try it!
~”Your soul is not in your body; your body is in your soul.”
2. Pema Chodron is an ordained nun, author, and senior teacher in the Shambala Buddhist lineage. Chodron graciously applies Buddhist wisdom to universal day-to-day struggles. Try it!
~”Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It is a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
3. Brain Pickings is an “Inventory of the meaningful life”, a blog featuring culture, books, and eclectic subjects. Try it!
~”I myself am a firm believer in the power of curiosity and choice as the engine of fulfillment, but precisely how you arrive at your true calling is an intricate and highly individual dance of discovery.” ~ Maria Popova, Founder of Brain Pickings
4. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a cosmologist and astrophysicist known for communicating science in a fun and accessible way. Try it!
~”I like to say that I’m tracing the intersection between big ideas and human experience, between theology and real life.” ~Krista Tippett, Host of “On Being”
~”I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion–and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.”
~”I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
10. Vandana Shiva is an Indian scholar, environmental activist and anti-globalization author. Her bravery and scholarship rev the engines of countless global-sibling-interconnectedness enthusiasts. Try it!
~”Seed is the source of life and the first link in the food chain. Control over seed means control over our lives, our food and our freedom.”
11. Joel Salatin is a free-thinking farmer whose “beyond-organic” techniques and animal husbandry heal the soil, and yield healthy real-food to local consumers. Salatin’s high-volume wit accelerates the comprehension of sustainable-farming curriculum, and he imprints the hearts of his readers with his spirit of integrity over profit. Try it!
~”Don’t you find it odd that people will put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractor than they will into choosing the person who grows their food?”
12. Open Culture ~ Founded by the director of Stanford University’s Continuing Education program, this site allows us to take a free online course in physics while listening to Bill Murray read poetry… Or learn Bulgarian while enjoying a virtual tour through Ancient Rome. Featuring over a thousand free online courses, and daily articles highlighting an element of eclectic fascination, this is an excellent online site for culture seekers, and is guaranteed to renew your sense of wonder. Try it!
~”Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.”
Join me in my conversation with Johanna, living in Catania, Sicily! I am enlivened by this snapshot of Johanna’s over-consumption recovery, and I hope that you are too!
A few quick words about why I post “Biocadence International Interviews”: Connecting with global siblings who are making similar behavioral adjustments is a delight that I have particularly benefited from. The support and knowledge can uncover treasures we may not have known to look for, facilitating increased quality of life through living more sustainably!
Johanna of J Siljehagen Green Consulting ~
- Biocadence: Where do you live? What current events have the most impact on your community? What sustainable living practices are common in your community?
Johanna: I live in Catania, the eastern part of Sicily, just by the foot of the active volcano Etna. I live here mostly for work, to avoid back and forth travelling from where I lived before (by the beach in south Sicily which is also a great area for organic produce). Wait… I do not like to call it work… Let’s call it ”what I love to do”.
Sicily has now started to open up the dialogue about environmental issues and just some time ago inserted recycling and diversing of domestic waste. Additionally, Sicily has many sun parks (solar) and has invested a lot in wind turbines.
- Biocadence: What do you do for a living?
Johanna: I am an entreprenour in the Green Sector. I started exporting organic produce over three years ago and have now developed into other green sectors, like tourism and construction.
- Biocadence: How often do you cook at home versus eat out? Do you know your farmer(s)? Where do you get your food; how much of your food do you grow yourselves? How do you choose your food vendors? Approximately what % of your diet is meat/veggie/grain?
Johanna: We cook at home twice a day, for lunch and dinner, and eat out 1-2 times a week to eat fresh fish the local fishermen bring to the restaurants. Sicilian cuisine is pure and healthy and having fish dishes prepared by a high quality Sicilian chef is life luxury.
I know my farmers because some are connected with export, and we buy locally grown produce from markets and street vendors.
We grow a lot of herbs and spices on the terrace and planted some citrus trees like orange, mandarine and lemons. Unfortunately last season our crop was destroyed by bugs we were not prepared for and did not know how to handle. But now we have a new start and are better prepared.
I choose food vendors by looking at where the food comes from; there are polluted agricultural areas and I never buy products from there. I look for freshness and local food, otherwise I don’t buy it. We eat all food by season; this makes it more fun because dishes change and we get new recipe ideas all the time by testing something new. We do not buy any supermarket foods.
We eat red meat very little- once a month, and chicken/fish 3-4 times a week. We eat veggies every day, several times a day… we eat alot of vegetables and fruit. E.g.: Instead of potato chips, I’d rather eat fennel slices. We eat almost no grain, but a lot of beans, lentils etc.
- Biocadence: How do you refuel your spirit, energy, and optimism?
Johanna: By training my mind to be free. I read a lot of books and follow other people who have adapted a new lifestyle. You always find something new- a new perspective, a new idea, a new thing to try…
I also avoid negative people, and surround myself with positive people. I have always been an optimist, even when it rains, because after rain comes sunshine and the rain reminds us of that.
- Biocadence: If you could change one thing about humanity, what would it be?
- Biocadence: What sustainable living behaviors did you grow up with? What sustainable living transitions have you incorporated into your lifestyle? How do your sustainable living practices impact your quality of life? Why do you engage in them?
Johanna: My family was very picky with food. I was born in Lapland, Sweden, so fishing salmon and picking berries was ”normal” life. I was allowed to eat fast food once a year, when school finished for summer break. My dad had a E-list on the fridge, with all dangerous E ingredients in the food. My parents made bread, soft drinks, fish, chips, etc at home. I do not remember ever drinking Coca-Cola growing up… We were also allowed to participate in food planning and cooking. I think that is very important.
My life quality has increased a lot. My first step was to get rid of things. It was hard but I created a system that worked and sold over 1000 items in the first months. Then, when I moved to Sicily I saw the change in my health from eating pure local foods. Today I do not need medicine for daily headache or stomach problems, because they are gone. I have far fewer wrinkles, cellulite is almost gone, and allergies are gone. I have started to train my mind and have begun to have an incredible amount of peace inside; I no longer worry about the future, the past is gone… I’m learning to live today and see that life has a funny way to create a path and solve things. Do not ask me how; that is the way it is.
I engage in these changes because if we want a change, the change comes from us. No politician, God or friend can do it. Just you! And it is easy; decide – start organizing – do it! One by one, step by step…
- Biocadence: Who are your role models? Why?
Johanna: I have too many. There are a lot of good people out there. And all have their own special skills. You are one of them. Role models are those who have real life knowledge; I love to listen to their life stories.
- Biocadence: What estimates do you have about the state of global affairs 50 years in the future? How do you relate to your global siblings and/or ancestors… how do you think about them and/or incorporate thoughts of them into your decision making?
Johanna: I hope to reach to a point where, in 50 years, doing the same thing as today, I have peace in life and mind. I want to earn just what I need and have a lot of free time. I hope that, during these 50 years, I have kept the guts to say: “No!”, and stand for what I believe in. And I hope that more people, globally, have changed their way of living.
In my decison making, I think local. These are the only surroundings you can effect and control.
- Biocadence: When you are seeking answers, where do you go? Books and quotes by subject matter mentors? Exercise? Nature? Silence? Discussion with friends and family? Meditation and/or prayer? When you’ve reached your answer(s) and look back on the experience, what pleases you most: the solution you found, or the process that got you there?
Johanna: I do not seek so much answers today. When the mind is in peace, life gives you the answers you need. I see that when Ego is involved, you get the answers you want to get. But, perhaps those are not the right answers, and this gives you a lot of trouble.
I have daily dialogues with so called ”self thinking” people so I get a lovely dose every day.
Nature is the source of our strength; we cannot live without it. But nature can live without us. It is good to be reminded of that.
Now studying Ayurveda, Meditation and Yoga… it’s tough to learn when you have been an over-consumer before :).
- Biocadence: What does the verb “to enjoy” mean to you? Do you remember a moment when you mastered “enjoyment”? When… where… what were you doing? And, what made it so?
Johanna: Enjoyment means “I cannot wait to wake up to a new day”. These days I feel like that most evenings when I go to bed. It takes time to get there… but it is worth it. I work with the things I like; no one can control my time and mind. Happiness has focus on spiritual things, not on consumption and career as it was before.
- Biocadence: What is a fun fact about you that I may not know to ask about?
Johanna: I cry when I visit organic produce fields and green houses. The feelings take me over. Producers are so entertained, because they do not understand how much we have lost contact with nature in North Europe.
For more inspiration from global siblings engaged in over-consumption recovery, check out my October 2012 interview with Sietske, Off-Grid in Spain (read more here). Thanks for joining me! Squeeze hugs, from Annie at Biocadence.
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During my recent visit to Boston, I thought about the athletes who were hurt and killed in the recent explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Our hotel was on Boylston Street, lending to inevitable flashbacks of the images I saw in the news just weeks ago. I thought about the lung-gripping terror of the families of so many runners and spectators as they scurried to inquire about the safety of their loved one(s). Thankfully, meeting a friend for an adventure to an enormous farm-stand in Lexington, a few hours of quiet at the Cambridge Zen Center, and a slow stroll (uh-hem, full disclosure… pregnancy-waddle) on the Freedom Trail textured the trip with sweetness, reflection, and joy.
I was chatting with my friend over delicious Indian food in Arlington, MA and she mentioned additional tragic news: women kidnapped over a decade ago were found in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Oh good gracious“, I thought. I work so devotedly for my own personal freedom and mapping toward an infinitely-expanding availability of peace. Yet, news of violence and violation keep coming. My initial response is urgently triggered anger. As my heart rate calms and my vision clears, I think: “What can I do? How can I relate? Where do I put this news and my ache for the victims?”. Despite my refusal to watch cable, I hear news of tragedy often. I think about the the recent news on rape cases in Ohio, Nova Scotia and India. I think about shooting in schools… recently close to home for us, in Oakland, CA. I think about the bomb makers, shooters, rapists, and any other human beings involved in planning and perpetrating attacks. What? How???? Why????
Do they so need to share their torment, that violence is the only route that feels accessible to them?
Are they so disillusioned, betrayed and violated themselves, that they believe that creation of tragedy is the only voice they have left? Perhaps the “ending” they imagine somehow seems to justify the violent means?
Maybe loneliness in misery has consumed them, and the only human interconnectedness they believe they can experience is in misery and darkness, rather than in spite of it?
A few months ago I read a moving article by a favorite blogger of mine: ESGEE Musings. He wrote about the “[…] horrific massacre of school children and teachers in Connecticut, USA”, and “[…] barbaric rape and “murder” of an Indian medical student in Delhi.” He explores the way the public responds to such horrific events, and prompts us to ask ourselves:
“But could it be that as we come across such evil and darkness in the world, there lies a seed of responsibility within us? When we accept the status quo of injustice on the plea that this is how it has been? When we prefer to remain an onlooker to a crime perpetrated on someone else? When we spend our energy to protect our own cocoon only? When we expect the Government and the police to follow standards of morality and behaviour higher than our own?”
He writes about the healing potential of “HO’OPONONO”, an “extreme responsibility” approach to mental health disturbance. He really got me thinking. I recommend reading his article.
When we hear of violent tragedy, how do we relate to it? Where is our responsibility? Do we immediately disconnect, call it barbaric, and distance ourselves from the evil? I feel myself wanting to, absolutely! I read John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” in 5th grade. My grandmother was disturbed by the content, and argued: “Annie, why do you allow these awful images into your head?” She suggested that I fill my mind with positivity only. There is so much richness in her advice. On the other hand, is it healthy to engage in a definitive and immediate distancing from inconceivably abhorrent acts perpetrated by our human siblings? Interconnected as we are, I believe that we must consider why violent circumstances come to be. Dare I say we are more likely to offer healing to global existence if we do?
I think about the Milgram obedience studies, repeated and replicated over decades. Milgram began his experiments in hopes to better understand how-in-the-heck the Nazi regime destroyed so much life. Outcome: an overwhelming majority of subjects were willing to “discipline” a volunteer “student” (in another room) by delivering potentially lethal shocks when the student answered questions incorrectly. Tweaking variables, Milgram repeated the studies, hoping for a different outcome! He found the same terrifying conclusion: most of us obey… to a potentially murderous extent!!! This breakthrough experiment connects us all to the ugly underbelly of human existence… connects us all, resistant as we may be, to perpetrators of abhorrent acts.
If one human is capable of perpetrating violence, given their unique birth-given genetic mapping in harmony with the environmental conditioning unique to their life experience, might another be, given precisely equal circumstances (nature/nurture)? Milgram’s studies suggest that the answer may just be: YES. When I originally read through Milgram’s experiments (12 yrs ago), I was heart-sick for months. Ironic as it may sound, the only reconciliation I find is through a deliberate understanding that this dark human potential is present in all of us. I believe that the very denial of its potential and our connection to it is what makes us prey to its invasion. Therein lies my hope: the more we understand it and plough through our resistance of it, the more we can eliminate its treachery.
I am attracted to an operating belief that evil is something to be gotten rid of, eliminated, or at least distanced from. If we were capable of that, might we have accomplished it already? I don’t know…
For now, will you consider a hypothetical with me, using the mathematical scenario that I’ve come up with to express myself? It will make me so happy if you indulge me here!!!
What if evil is something we cannot possibly be rid of, in human form? Attempting to eliminate evil is magnetically satisfying, yet prison “rehabilitation”, death row, war on terror, outlawing drugs etc, etc… just aren’t doing the trick, are they? Let’s pull away for a moment, and observe humanity from the sky-scraper view. Many believe that there is a balance of good and evil in our world. What if this balance is, indeed, one of many laws of human existence? In thinking of this balance, a yin and yang, let’s conceive of each participating element (good and evil) as existing in definitive mathematical quantities, equal to one another.
X = Good, Light, Contentment, Positivity, Serenity, Freedom, Peace, Nirvana;
Y = Evil, Darkness, Sadness, Dukkha, Dis-ease, Anguish, Suffering, Wanting;
Although (the total sum of X) = (the total sum of Y), X and Y are dispersed unevenly throughout the human population, residing in each of us in a different balance. In other words X does not = Y in each human being. In some of us X < Y, and in others X > Y. Our luck of the draw, fate, and/or freewill combine with the circumstances of our nature and nurture to endow us each with a certain portion of X and Y. At different times in our lives we may manifest our portion of X and Y in different ways, OR we may experience an increase in our portion of each value of X and Y that we are carrying. At certain times we may notice that we are making mistakes, hurting someone we love, or hurting ourselves through destructive habits. These manifestations may alert us that we have suffered an increase in the portion of Y that we are carrying, often due to unresolved loss and/or trauma.
When one is carrying too much Y to endure, he/she may believe that a transfer of Y to another human is possible, and that it may provide relief. Observing someone especially rich in X, this tormented soul may believe that their chosen victim can endure an increase in Y, and share it through violence and/or violation (likely using the same or similar method of transfer they experienced in their own receipt of Y). Once victim, this perpetrator may remember the desperate quality of their own perpetrator’s behavior. Having experienced a loss of their own X when they themselves were victimized, perpetrators may (sub/un)consciously misperceive that their past attacker was the recipient of the X that they so abruptly lost. Many victims of violence and violation are told, or otherwise led to believe that they are to blame for the event(s), further reinforcing the residence of Y and loss of X in the system. Further, perpetrators (once victims) may misinterpret the relief they feel in expressing Y. Relating to the tumultuous confusion of their own trauma, some may even believe that, through their violent act(s), they are recipient of their victim’s lost X.
It’s no wonder we explore this through symbolism in the arts and entertainment industries. What pops to mind is North America’s current fascination with vampires, zombies and other life-eating/energy-transfering characters– a fascination that seems to recur in different generations. The evidence, time and time again, shows us that this attempt to get rid of Y through transmitting it to another, and/or to steal another’s X does not work. The perpetrator of the attempted transfer remains in a wretched destination, with even more Y to carry. And, calamitously, the victim is left with his/her very own increased burden of Y to either hold, express, or resolve.
If X = Y, and the existence of Y is absolute and cannot be eliminated, the hypothetical possibility I’d like to propose is this: What if we all eventually learn to voluntarily carry an equal share of Y? At first glance this may sound terrible– why would I elect to carry evil? “Oh blast it all, that’s just insane to boot!!!!” But stick with me through this hypothetical… stick with me.
Arguably we are all carrying some Y, to varying degrees… maybe more than we know. Maybe you’ve yelled at your spouse or child in overwhelmed frustration when he/she was pressing to get your attention when you didn’t have time/space/energy to give. Perhaps engagement in gossiping, bullying, criticizing, antagonizing, or passive aggression ring some bells? Maybe you’ve smoked a cigarette or had a few too many alcoholic beverages (harming self; a manifestation of an impulse to investigate Y by expressing AND receiving Y, in order to satisfy an impulse to express Y without harming others). Anorexia, bulimia, over-eating, promiscuity, and cutting are a few forms of this that are all too common. Refusal to see and accept the presence of Y may be the very force that allows it to take our behavioral reins from us, and fully express itself.
So, what do I mean when I suggest that we all learn to carry an equal share of Y? Am I suggesting that we all weigh ourselves down with a focus on negative, yell at our families, and chain-smoke!???!!!! I am, indeed suggesting the opposite.
What might carrying our fair share of Y look like exactly??? It’s going to sound simple, but if you’ve ever tried it, you know that it takes courage and reflection to accomplish. I believe that it looks something like the this:
- Refusal to ignore the existence of Y in the human condition.
- Refusal to leave the Y as a mystery or “Dark Passenger” (a pull from “Dexter”), shadowing an excluded and distanced “other”
- Willingness to understand how such an abundance of Y may come to reside in one human form, or group of humans.
- An unmasking of perpetrator, and willingness to see that perpetrator was once victim.
- Refusal to abandon and demonize our fellow human siblings who are in torment and so struggling to express, cure, and be rid of their Y, that they may be willing to act in terrifyingly desperate ways.
- Embracing the interconnectedness of all living beings.
- Willingness to face what may be if we were to swap circumstances with a human sibling.
- Refusal to allow victims of trauma to remain alone, alienated, and disenfranchised to the extent that the Y piles up, fills their spirits, and bubbles over in tragic expression.
- Exercising the courage to protect self and those we love from the destructive forces of Y, while holding compassion for the process that rooted a high concentration of Y in a human sibling (or group).
- Processing anger and fear, such that we are capable of seeing beyond, even if anger and fear still hold residence in our systems.
If we can all do this, maybe the Y won’t be capable of residing in such concentrated form in one being or group, such that it spills over in violence, destruction, and tragedy. If we each hold our small, controlled share and surround it with hope, light, and compassion, perhaps it can finally rest, seen and accepted, dormant and exhausted.
Through recollection of our interconnectedness we take ownership for our collective behavior. The circumstances that a human sibling is enduring could just as easily be our own, and vise versa. As such, we all own this collective experience as one community of human siblings. When we remember this, together, perhaps each share of Y will not feel so heavy? When loved, accepted and understood as a welcome resident in our collective HOME of human experience, perhaps the impulse the Y feels to manifest, express, and to transfer amongst us, will lose its potency. With so much company in the Y-carrying vocation, we will be free to take pride in this employment as an intent to protect and guard every member of our community of human siblings. Exposed to one another in our collective pursuit, perhaps we won’t feel so alone, confused, and shamed by the underbelly of the human form?
Indeed, if we all carry Y together, hand-in-hand, our X will be free to resonate exquisitely at our expressive center, positioned perfectly as a willing receptacle for the infinitely abundant power of the sacred ALL. Our X will be lifted and trusted to drive our behavioral vehicle. Perhaps when we see the Y unmasked and exposed in it’s tormented and burdened form, our X will shine so brilliantly and boldly, that we can afford the Y a voice without feeling threatened… pain and torment will be heard, understood, and accepted, leaving no need for it to steal the gavel, and crash the vehicle of our collective community.
I wonder whether this is the key to solving the riddle that is winking its trickery at each living being rowing upstream in the rocky boat of human experience. Perhaps turning this key will shift our boats downstream, returning us to our eternal home? This is my hope.
May all beings be peaceful and know that they are loved, today and every day. Squeeze hugs from Annie at Biocadence
P.S. You may say I quote Jack Johnson too often. I will respond: “Well, that’s just not possible, good sir!”
I would turn on the tv but it’s so embarrassing to see all the other people, I don’t know what they mean. And it was magic at first when they spoke without sound. But now this world is gonna hurt; you better turn that thing down.
“It wasn’t me”, says the boy with the gun. “Sure I pulled the trigger but it needed to be done. Because life’s been killing me since it begun. You can’t blame me because I’m too young.”
“You can’t blame me. Sure the killer was my son. But I didn’t teach him to pull the trigger of the gun. It’s the killing on the tv screen. You can’t blame me; it’s the images he’s seen.”
“Well you can’t blame me says the media man. I wasn’t the one who came up with the plan. I just point the camera at what people want to see. Man, it’s a two way mirror; you can’t blame me.”
“You can’t blame me.”, says the singer of the song, or the maker of the movie which he based his life on. “It’s only entertainment as anyone can see. The smoke machines and make-up, and you can’t blame me.”
It was you, it was me, it was every man. We’ve all got the blood on our hands. We only receive what we demand, and if we want hell then hell’s what we’ll have.
And, I would turn on the TV but it’s so embarrassing to see all the other people. I don’t even know what they mean. And it was magic at first, but let everyone down. And now this world is gonna hurt. You better turn it around. Turn it around.
I’ve never reblogged another writer’s work before. Today, I can’t resist. This poem by Jasmine Dialogues is a must-read. While consistently tickling you with clever imagery, it will disgust you… for all the right reasons. What a ride! I don’t think I need to give a “spoiler alert” before sharing: the final 2 lines make me laugh out loud. Well done! P.S. I recommend subscribing to Jasmine Dialogues. Each post is moving, and distinct.
Flatscreen stares long
Cold and grinning.
Taunt groggy animal eyes.
Boobtube bleeds panic.
News anchor war paint
Dripping from chin.
Prying. Trying. Crying.
Air-con meat freezer.
Dull machine bizz-buzz.
Decry, deny and defy
Intensifying, warming world
Parking lot. Feed lot.
Lonely lines painted
Stand no chance
On this searing sidewalk.
Paper pup-cup caffeine.
Honoring Tree with a quickie.
From stolen water.
Scrub with urgency.
Save the whales.
In hot pursuit
Of the American Dream.
Banana in tailpipe.
Follow corporate crumbs,
Hooters. Bellagio. Circus, Circus.
Psychic porous poisonous pour-overs.
Towers of excess. Toothless grin.
Rapacious rotting from
To the Airport!
Great Carbon Party.
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Happy Earth Day! I’ve made a list of outdoor activities I suggest adding to the calendar, along with some inviting imagery! I thought I’d share them! If you live in the Bay Area, I encourage you to use these ideas! If you’re a global sibling/neighbor, I hope that my descriptions will inspire you to plan for similar outdoor activities that are available in your surrounding landscapes!
I joined my husband on a business trip to San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach over the weekend. We were sure to spend as much time as possible outdoors. I’m using pictures from our road trip in this post;)!
- Lafayette Resevoir ~ 3849 Mt. Diablo Rd, Lafayette
Circle the dog-friendly paved trail while catching up with a friend, watch your toddler discover the intricate two-story playground, or run the rim trail for an active work-out! I also love to walk alone, breathing in fresh air, watching the shadows change as I round the reservoir, and stopping at one of the many waterside benches to rest, think, and record my thoughts.
- Iron Horse Trail ~ 2698 Oak Rd, Walnut Creek
I use this trail for foot-and-bicycle transportation around Walnut Creek. Be sure to notice the chipper cadence of fellow walkers, joggers, and stroller-pushers, and in early spring open your senses to the delicious rhododendron fragrance!
- Lake Merritt ~ 568 Bellevue Ave, Oakland
On a leisurely summer weekend, I often fancy an energetic urban vibe. I love to gallivant along Lakeshore Avenue, choose from one of many small breakfast cafes, then burn some calories with a swift walk around the lake (if you have kids be sure to check out Children’s Fairyland!).
When we need to hear the ocean, feel relaxed, and remember our connection to nature, a slow drive to Stinson Beach is an ideal day trip! We suggest leaving home early to miss traffic, rolling the windows down on curvaceous Highway 1, indulging in a savory breakfast at Parkside Cafe, then lounging wave-side with a favorite book.
- Embarcadero ~ 1 Sausalito – San Francisco Ferry Bldg
Walk the Embarcadero, explore the piers, absorb the buzz of the city, and sample a few happy hour menus on your way back! Grab a pitcher while gazing at views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island on Pier 23’s sunny deck, and try the Pisco Sour at La Mar.
- Dipsea Trail – Steep Ravine Loop ~ Pantol Ranger Station: 801 Panoramic Highway
Relish this moderately difficult 3.8 mile hike into the Redwood Forest and Steep Ravine! Cross short wooden bridges, appreciate the view of the Farallon Islands on a clear day, and get your blood pumping while marveling over how many of our ancestors may have explored this land through the ages.
- Tilden Park ~ 600 Canon Drive, Berkeley
Take a steam-train ride with your youngster, soak in luxury at the botanic gardens, and escape into quiet on a hiking exploration of one of the area’s oldest parks! Don’t miss a visit to Tilden’s “Little Farm” followed by a relaxing picnic at Lake Anza.
- Mount Diablo State Park ~ 96 Mitchel Canyon Fire Rd, Clayton
Pack plenty of water and snacks, summit Mount Diablo, and treasure the exhilarating view! Explore an extensive trail system, adore the wildflowers, and cheer for the cyclists trudging up a 17% grade.
How are you celebrating and honoring Earth Day? What are your favorite outdoor activities?
Thanks for reading! Squeeze hugs from Annie, at Biocadence.
- Stinson Beach: Play! (anaturemom.com)
- Captioned Photos # 1 – Happy Earth Day! (felipeadanlerma.com)
- Happy Earth Day Everyone! (ourchildrensearth.wordpress.com)
- 5 Smart Ways To Celebrate Earth Day (news.health.com)
- Create-With-Nature Earth Day Celebration: Rock Towers (anaturemom.com)
- Daily Digs | Bring The Outdoors In (denydesigns.com)
- Happy Earth day! (kismetsoubliette.wordpress.com)
I did some experimental baking yesterday. The result was what I can’t help but call “Surprise Fries”.
- 1 Butternut Squash
- 1 Sweet Potato (I used Japanese Sweet Potato this time)
- Olive Oil
Preheat 400 degrees, then begin prep work. Peel and cut your carby roots! I suggest singing while you do this, a practice proven to embed extra vive into organic and local ingredients!
Next, put olive oil into a large bowl, stir the fries until all of them get a good licking from the scrumptiously rambunctious oil. Add cinnamon, cayenne, pepper and salt to your liking.
**Important note: If one of your motives for cooking is to rest and rejuve your spirit after a big day, be sure to sing fervently and embellish the seasoning process with dance moves. At this stage, you should feel quite free to adorn the song with lyrics of your own making. After all, creativity is a serious endeavor, folks… let’s not miss our opportunities to “flow”!
Mix the seasoning to offer each fry it’s due share. Situate your fries evenly on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 mins.
When timer buzzes, use a spatula or tongs to flip your lovelies. Bake for an additional 15-20 mins (depending on your oven). Use this time to prep some green and protein. Here we have red-leaf lettuce, chicken, blueberry, walnut, blue cheese, and home made red wine vinaigrette dressing.
Remove the fries for the final seasoning rumba. Place them back into the seasoning bowl…
**Important note: Consider preparing the fries for the sweetness they are about to absorb. Anything from the literal: “Gather around ladies, here comes the honey!”, to an interpretative: “Woot, woot, holla!” should allow them the appropriate anticipation.
Sprinkle on some honey and give them a stir. Add to oven for additional 5 minutes.
Change the oven setting to “High” broil for the final 1-3 minutes of crisping. Watch closely, as ovens differ. Remove and sit to cool before serving. How about a close look at the final product?
Make the table romantic. As you enjoy your creation, notice which fries absorbed which flavors… await the Surprise! As you eat, celebrate — cooking at home, using local, organic ingredients is a triumph in the over-consumption recovery process!
Thank you for reading, beautiful people! Squeeze hugs from Annie at Biocadence.
- Parmesan Thyme Sweet Potato Fries (vegetarianventures.com)
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries (weyfairing.wordpress.com)
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