1 Cup of Love

1 Tbls of Creativity

A Dash of Eco-friendliness

Servings: The Whole Universe

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sweet Milky Meditation

Remember my post on Café Gratitude and the online Abounding River play group that I joined? Well I wanted to share with you an experience that is helping me to create a new shift for myself. A vision that I have for this blog is coming into fruition this year and I’m excited that because of this playgroup, I am motivated and inspired to move forward with this shift (more to be announced about this in another post).

But for now I just wanted to share one of the exercises on meditation. For awhile now (actually years), I have been struggling with practicing meditating consistently. I had been creating my own “stories” around meditation: don’t have any time; too tired to wake up earlier than Andrik wakes up to meditate; when I do it at night, I end up falling asleep; I used to be so connected when I was a child with meditation and now I’m just so disconnected, blah blah blah!

Sheesh, I was getting tired of my stories surrounding something that should be bringing me peace, invigoration and inner connectedness. Thankfully with this online playgroup, I realized and was supported by others that anything and everything I do can be a meditation, as long as I ground myself with love. So here’s a new story I liked to share with you about how I’m making meditation my own.

As I was putting Andrik down to go to sleep two nights ago, he asked for Mama's milk. I've been trying to wean breastfeeding at night right before bed (and had been successful at it) but because there has been so many changes in the past 4 months with moving to two places, I figured I would breastfeed him at night for a little bit. And within that moment, I had an epiphany that I could actually medidate while he's breastfeeding! Well ok I had this epiphany before I started the playgroup but this time I was more committed to doing it!

So I started focusing on my breath and was about to envision a beautiful tree (like my cousin Nikki had mentioned in a prior post) when suddenly a different vision came into my mind. Actually a different sensation was more like it - it was the loving connection between Andrik and myself in this intimate moment. With each breath, I envisioned a white milky light streaming through my body, out through my breast and into my son's mouth, nourishing him with all of its loving nutrients.

And then my mind started to wander (as it normally does when I meditate) but this time it wandered into one of the other exercises: the gratitude exercise. This is an exercise where we are thankful for someone or something that occurred to us in that day. It dawned on me after the meditation that I was doing two exercises in 1! LOL I didn't intend to do this but it just organically happened because I was just so grateful that my body could still supply this nurturing fluid for my son at 22 months old. So I went with it.

I thanked my body for instinctively and continuously being in the flow. I thanked my breasts for withstanding several months of teethmarks when my son was teething. And how grateful I am that even though he's still teething that he no longer has the urge to bite and pull away (ouch - sorry if it's a little graphic but this is the beauty and not so beautiful moments of Then I thanked myself for being strong through these painful moments yet was still gentle with Andrik in explaining that biting hurts and that when he feels like biting, to bite on his teething bon bon. And last but definitely not least, I thanked Andrik for continuing to request for Mama's milk even when he has the choice of drinking almond milk. Because without him wanting to drink my milk as much as he does then I wouldn't have as much of a supply to offer.

As a matter of fact, as I'm writing this down now, I am soooo very grateful for the wonderful opportunity to work from home because this allows my son the freedom to drink throughout the day which keeps the milk flowing as much as it does!

Ok so back to sharing my story. I realized that instead of thanking the food supply like I do when we sit down to eat (i.e. the creators that came up with the idea of gluten-free bread, my friend who owns her own CSA and the farmers that offer organic produce, and the cashier at Whole Foods, etc), I was thanking my very own food supply!

Then I soon realized after all my gratefulness that I was supposed to actually be meditating (oops)! So I went back to focusing on my breathing and well before I knew it, I knocked out! LOL So much for the commitment of meditating for 20 minutes!

But ya know, truthfully it didn't matter the length of time to me. I no longer had any guilt around meditating or not meditating, so to speak, in the "right" way.  What mattered was the feeling that stemmed from the meditation and the appreciation I have for extended breastfeeding and the wonderful benefits extended breastfeeding provides for Andrik and for all children. What mattered the most, is connected moments like these with my lil man. And THAT right there is one sweeeet milky meditation!

Monday, December 20, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, I joined an online playgroup based on a book called The Abounding River by Matthew and Terces Engelhart. I was invited by my beautiful cousin Maya Hackett, the author of her own inspiring blog, Urban Organica to join her, along with other amazing and inspiring families and individuals.  At first I found myself being in resistance because I was so overwhelmed with recently moving, unpacking and having just organized and completed the Family Love Village gathering on homeschooling, as well as just cleaning up/settling in after my son, Andrik's blessing ceremony - which by the way all happened within ONE week of us moving to our new home.  Yes, you heard it correctly, my family moved once again.  That was twice within 4 months of each other.  A friend of mine joked and asked if we plan to move every fiscal quarter. LOL No thank you!!  We plan to stay at this house for some time!  And yes, a house!  An actual house!!  No not yet bought - renting; but still, an actual house!  :o)

So anyways before I go off on another tangent (for those that have been reading my blog know all too well I can do this), I wanted to talk a little bit about the book and the playgroup.  So after Maya had explained what this playgroup blog was all about (again being openly resistant).  LOL Even writing these words down sound ridiculous but to further explain, I was open, just not fully available to play wholeheartedly - especially about the part about writing in a THIRD blog!  I mean come on, it's hard enough for me to write in 2, and now I've gotta write in a third one (which by the way, I seem to be writing in this 3rd blog more often than my other 2 - which after doing this playgroup, trust me- I'm one inspired writer who has lots to talk about in both my original blogs so don't you worry, my intimate group of dedicated readers!  I've got plenty of love to share.  Ok there I go again- on another tangent! lol).  Back to the story. I wanted to be open and decided heck why not check it out.  If several of my cousins and theirs spouses that I completely respect and admire are playing then why not check it out. 

So yes, the book.  The Abounding River - well the title definitely had a nice flow to it.  And that's exactly what it's about.  This book helps you to create abundance in your life. In this book you practice loving yourself, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day and experiencing being provided for. And I have to say that even though I’ve only just begun, I am really enjoying this playgroup. It’s a private online blog where we share our thoughts, feelings and experiences of the exercises given in the book. I’ve read books before and done exercises but this one is different, it feels really good to get the support from other families and individuals that are doing the book, as well. We’re creating community here with family members, friends and people who we have yet to meet in person but whom I feel I already know.

I know..I know - you may be wondering what does this have anything to do with what this blog is about?  What does it have to do with anything that’s eco-friendly? The answer: EVERYTHING!  Not only is this a book (as well as a board game - intriguing right?) but the authors have built a whole community around this concept and now have several restaurants called Cafe Gratitude.

When I looked up the website, I was ecstatically inspired and even more excited to be part of the playgroup now! Their philosophy is everything that my family believes in and supports!  Below is what I copied and pasted from their website:

We choose to work in partnership with vendors, customers, and the community in making choices that support the environment we share. Plastic containers & water bottles have been eliminated from our retail store, and we often request that new and treasured vendors repackage their products in cellophane or glass - just for us. But that is only the start. Here is a short list of the environmental commitments we are steadfastly loyal to:

  • If the organic variety of produce is not available, we do not choose conventional.
  • We use non-bleached, 100% cotton cloths for napkins. After being used, these napkins are sent to the auto industry for rag-use purposes. This creates an additional life-cycle and eliminates the use of harmful chemicals such as bleach, which is used in common laundering practices.
  • We filter our own water at all locations.
  • All our food scraps are composted and are often sent to the Be Love Farm.
  • We recycle our paper and cardboard.
  • Our dishes are washed with the most environmentally-friendly products.
  • All of our books, private labels, and menus are printed on recycled paper with soy based ink. Our offices also use recycled paper.
  • We take pride in our high standards, and we thank you for every dollar you share with us, further empowering our investment in the environment.
The community we have built is inspirational and we thank you for being a part of it. The gratuity offered to your server is shared with every hourly employee who worked that day. This means that every baker, dishwasher, kitchen line, bartender, host, and food preparer share in the generosity you bestow on your server. You not only provide for one, you provide for all. We have made it a practice to help one another in times of financial challenge, personal growth, during addiction recovery, healing from disease, repairing a car or even replacing stolen bicycles. We support one another’s artistic performances, share housing, and transportation. By experiencing the power of community, we take care of each other, knowing that the same support is available in return. Imagine EVERYONE working in an environment where, on a daily basis, you are celebrated and held as nothing short of amazing; every day, you are created as great!

Café Gratitude serves a menu of 100% organic, 100% vegan, local fare.  Our food is free of refined sugar, flour, and additives.  We have an extensive menu of raw foods and have recently expanded to serve cooked foods in many of our locations. We create all of our own food -from the produce bin to your plate - so we can avoid serving certain common allergens like wheat, soy, and peanuts. Over 45% of our produce comes from our Be Love Farm, and the compost from our Cafes is returned to the farm to nourish the next meal.

Okay I just fell deeply in love with this community just with reading the above statements from their website! And this was just a part of what Cafe Gratitude has created for themselves and for us. 

Now let's go back to the beginning - even before Cafe Gratitude even came into play, so to speak.  I'd say it all began with love.  Thus, another reason why this post is on this blog.  It has everything to do with consciously creating a life Made With EcoLove:

When Matthew and Terces Engelhart first became sweethearts, they promised to live their lives together following and trusting intuition. Resulting from that commitment was an initial guidance to create a board game and after a year of development, the Abounding River Game was introduced. The Abounding River is an interactive way of practicing “being” Abundance in your life. Their next collaborative creation was the accompanying Abounding River Logbook, a 42-day practice that is shared with a partner and guides individuals through exercises to practice focusing attention on qualities that we all aspire to: Love, Acceptance, Generosity, Worth, Gratitude, Creation, and Responsibility.  Once the game was complete, Matthew and Terces agreed that it would be wonderful to offer a place where people could gather, eat, and play the game.  Coincidentally, while on their farm in Maui, Terces read a book about live foods and became so inspired that she asked Matthew to eat ‘live’ for 30 days.  At the end of the month, they felt so good they decided to create a living foods café, and so the idea for Café Gratitude was born.  Shortly thereafter, they opened up on 20th and Harrison St. in the historic San Francisco Mission District.  Since then, Café Gratitude has been a ground-breaking example of Sacred Commerce and its capacity to build community, encourage healthful living, and achieve abundance.  They now have 6 locations in the Bay Area, and sell their products in partnering stores country wide.

I am extremely excited too because a little birdie told me that the weekend of Dalmacio's birthday (around March 5th), Cafe Gratitude will be having a grand opening for a restaurant in Los Angeles too!  I can't wait to experience all the abundant yummyness (not only from the food but the energy from this place, as well)!

With this wonderful opportunity to play and practice with this online group and self-connectedness, I have been experiencing loving moments to and for myself.  I've found that this is very sacred and vital for me to find the balance between doing my best to be a conscious mama (as my cousin calls it: a conscious parenting advocate), and to be a loving and conscious wife, as well as loving myself and getting my own needs met.  Although this is definitely a fact that everyone needs to get their needs met in order to keep the happy sanity within the home, we don't always get them met.  But thanks to the playgroup and the book, I am beginning a new journey towards re-discovering myself and planting new seeds along the way.
Gratitude is one of the vital keys to self-healing and self-loving.  Thank you Abounding River and Cafe Gratitude for existing so that we can exist in a more loving, abundant and sustainable way.  Here's to eating, living, creating our lives with EcoLOVE!