Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Grilled Tuna Steak with Peaches and Tomato and Corn

Perfect summer dinner! Peaches are in season and pair nicely with tuna. The peach mixture also works well on either pork or chicken.

Corn on the cob and a tomato salad perfectly accompany the peaches and tuna and you get a colorful, healthful and delicious meal!

6-8 ounce Tuna steak per person

1 peach per person, large dice

Pat butter

Cilantro, chopped

Lemon juice

Pinch sugar

Melt butter add peaches and sugar and stir. Turn off heat and add cilantro and lemon juice. Grill steak 3 minutes a side or more if you want it well done. Put peach mixture on top of tuna. Serve with tomatoes and red onion in balsamic vinaigrette and fresh corn.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Earth-Based Spirituality

Earth-based spirituality is based on reverence for the earth and all of its inhabitants and has been practiced from antiquity to the present. Its roots lie in the shamanic wisdom of the ancient Caucasian peoples of Britain, northern Europe and Scandinavia; the Taoist teachings of the East and with the Native Americans of North America.

To honor all livings things is the basis of Earth-based spirituality. The Native Americans treated all beings on earth as their equal and all were considered part of the whole, or the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit is within all plants, minerals and animals and the earth itself. It is the life-force energy or chi; it is the "Breath of the Invisible."

Earth-based spirituality recognizes that nothing is ever destroyed; that it only changes form. Matter is a physical and intelligent manifestation of energy, and energy is contained in all matter, but matter does not exist in all energy. The Earth and its inhabitants are all beings of energy and are all interconnected and interrelated.

We are integrated parts of a whole being. We affect the whole by our thoughts, words and actions—just as we are affected by other human beings, and by the animal, vegetable or mineral kingdoms, and by the higher frequency metaphysical energy patterns.

Earth-based spirituality is about following your own intuition—not some "authority" or that nebulous "they." It is your intuition that is all-knowing, powerful and true. When you follow your intuition, you are following your heart. When you follow your heart, you are being guided by your higher self which is connected to all that is.

Learning to trust your intuition is important for all aspects of your life, and there are many books which discuss the aspects of this level of consciousness. When it comes to decorating your home, what sounds simple can be quite difficult until you learn to distinguish between your intuition and what you think you ought to be doing. When in doubt, meditate on the question at hand and see what comes up. Or, ask yourself if your reaction/desire is based on fear or love. Intuition is never about fear. Fear manifests itself only in the mind/body.

For example, suppose you are wandering around a craft fair and see a beautiful vase. You instantly visualize the vase in your living room and feel happy gazing at this vessel. However, moments later you worry: "what if it looks out of place?" "What if the vase is actually hideous and your husband and friends hate it?" Now, you look at the vase again and feel confused and think, "do I really like it?"

Yes, you really like it. Those nasty voices in your head are pure fear. When you see something and immediately love it (or think it's awful) that is your gut feeling, or intuition.

Think about it, we are literally bombarded with things when we shop. Craft fairs are a great example because there is so much to see and judge. A quick glance at a craftsperson's wares will usually be enough to draw you in for a closer inspection or keep you moving along due to a lack of interest. So, when you see an object that you think is beautiful among hundreds or thousands of other crafts, take note!

In another example, you are shopping with a friend, the "knower-of-all-things-trendy." She spots this awesome new kitchen gadget that "you must have." This gadget promises to slice/dice/whatever, and your first reaction upon looking at it is that you already have perfectly good knives to do the same job.

Your friend looks a bit askance when you admit that you aren't sure that you need this new tool. This worries you—perhaps you do need this gadget. It might make kitchen chores easier. You might be the only one without one, struggling away while others blithely do their chores.

Now, stop. Look at the gadget and trust your intuition to guide you. If you are still unsure, ask your friend for a demonstration, but pay attention. I find that my first response is generally right on—if I react with delight over some new thing, it might just be what I need. However, if my reaction is an eye-roll (another useless piece of junk), I move on.

Your intuition knows what is authentic; it is not influenced by what is the newest and shiniest.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Guidelines for Eco-friendly and Healthful Purchasing Choices


  • Replace products that are made from petrochemicals with products that are made with natural, non-hazardous and preferably renewable products. For example, use bamboo flooring that is finished with natural wax and Tung or Linseed Oil, and purchase natural paints, lime plasters and cork floors.
  • Purchase raw materials near production site to save on transportation expense and fuel waste.
  • Purchase materials that were processed using renewable energy.
  • Extend product life by reuse and recycling of components.
  • Recycle waste to become ingredients in other products. Called "biomimicry", it is the manufacturing process that takes one product and turns it into something else. For example, carpets that are made from recycled plastic bottles, paints that are made from vegetable extracts, tiles that are made from ceramic waste and rubber flooring that is made from recycled tires.
  • Support companies that employ safe and clean methods to produce product or who use recycled products.
  • Support companies that sell healthy, organic, sustainable products.
  • Support companies that engage in fair-trade and good wages for employees and a safe and fair work environment.*

* Not related to green living, but relates to conscious living.


  • Purchase from companies that pollute.
  • Purchase from companies that sell toxic or otherwise unsafe products.
  • Purchase from companies that do not support child-labor laws.*
  • Purchase from companies that practice unsafe or discriminatory working conditions or pay wages that do not constitute fair or livable conditions.*
  • Purchase from companies that use endangered wood or other unsustainable materials.

The following products cause pollution and should be avoided when possible:

  • Most commercial cleaning products and other household chemicals.
  • Garden pesticides.
  • Carpets glued with solvents, treated with fungicides and containing residual pesticides.
  • Fabrics treated with chlorine, benzene and/or formaldehyde.
  • Most plywood and particleboard, which contain formaldehyde, urea, and other dangerous glues.
  • Many paints and stains, which contain fungicides, volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and other chemicals.
  • Vinyl flooring, furniture, and plastics that contain VOC's such as bromides and chlorine.
  • Dry cleaning.
  • Underground oil tanks.
  • Electricity (While it's not feasible for most of us to eliminate electricity, there are ways—illustrated later in Harmonious Environment—to reduce your exposure to it.)

Excerpt from Harmonious Environment

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Eliminate Harmful Goods and Replace them with Eco-Friendly Ones!

Virtually every object used in building your home and the objects within it—from the insulation in your house, your sofa, food storage containers, floor cleaners and even fabric softener—impacts both your health and the health of the planet. Unfortunately, in spite of the "all natural" or "safe" labels that are included on some of these products, many of them are unhealthy. This chapter will help you to identify what poses a risk and will introduce safe alternatives for you to consider.

The good news is that concurrent with growing consumer awareness of the dangers in ordinary household objects is an increase in the availability of environmentally-friendly and human-healthy choices as manufacturers acknowledge and try to meet this burgeoning market.

Nowhere has the impact of the average consumer been greater than in the food industry fueling the rise in the availability of organic food. Organic retail sales have grown an astonishing twenty percent per year since 1990—compared with an increase of between two and four percent of total food sales in United States.

As desire for organic food grows, so does the demand for healthful products of all kinds. Even though the major manufacturers are aware that there is a demand for healthful products, the vast majority of them are still not offering them. Although many businesses appear to be providing environmentally-friendly and healthful products; beware of the company that advertises its product with terms that are unregulated—such as "natural". "Natural," when used to describe shampoo, is usually a complete misnomer—the shampoo is still filled with synthetic chemicals and might contain only minute amounts of truly natural ingredients, such as jojoba or honey.

In addition, the government has historically allowed unsafe products to be sold as safe in this country. The use of lead is a great example. In 1909, eight European countries banned the use of white lead for interior painting. It took half a century for the United States to catch up—lead was not banned in paint and gasoline in this country until the 1970's and 1980's respectively.

Today, there are still thousands of toxic products being sold. To exacerbate the problem, manufacturers continue to pollute our air, water and land. There is no way to avoid all contamination while living on earth, but this chapter provides practical information and tips to help protect you from excessive exposure to the variety of pollutants that most of us are subjected to.

In addition to providing tips on how and what to purchase to live in an environment free from toxins that are made from cheap, unsustainable methods, this chapter explains how to eliminate nearly all pollutants from your home. You may be shocked with the discovery that many seemingly harmless household products contain dangerous chemicals. However, most of these products can be easily removed and replaced and some will lose their toxicity over time, so you needn't panic and think everything in your house must be replaced. For example, freshly installed wall-to-wall carpeting emits toxic gases into the environment; however, carpeting stops outgassing six months to a year following installation. Another example would be if you have painted your walls with paint containing volatile organic compounds (VOC's)—the damage is already done, the paint stops outgassing and you may as well wait until the next time to use an eco-friendly paint.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Publishers Weekly Update on Subsidies

I've given some thought to my response to PW's article on Author Solutions ("Change Maker: Kevin Weiss" 12/ 21/09,) and its misuse of the word "self-publishing" to describe the subsidy press.

Publisher's Weekly is a trade magazine aimed at publishers and bookstores. It is not in business to serve small independent publishers, self-publishers or authors.

That said, the book publishing industry is hurting. (As are all publishers. Last year, Publisher's Weekly laid off employees including their editor-in-chief, Sara Nelson.)

Enter the subsidy publishers...they are kicking butt. Now Harlequin joined forces with Author Solutions and many of the traditional publishers are following.

Since the subsidies have already hijacked the self-publishing term, PW is going to run with it. It sounds better than "subsidy" or "vanity" and what do they care? They are reporting on the sector that is making money and that can potentially save traditional publishers.

Think about it--instead of publishers risking their money on authors, they charge them to provide services and a product. If the book actually sells, even better!

Who wants to guess when we hit 1 million books published in a year?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Applying Harmonious Adjustments™

  • Decide what changes you wish to make in your life and in designing your home or workspace and write them down.

  • When a room does not “feel right,” but you cannot figure out what is wrong, take an inventory of the contents of that space. Note what is yin and yang, what the colors and elements are in the room and record them. Include the color and materials that comprise the walls, ceiling and floors. Does the room feel light or dark? Is it small or large? Once your inventory is completed, you will probably notice a predominance of either yin or yang, warm or cool colors, or a predominance of one or two elements. Moreover, a pattern of overwhelming yin with cool colors and Earth and Water elements, or overwhelming yang with warm colors and Fire and Air elements may emerge. Once you see a pattern, it will be easy to decide what should be removed or rearranged.

  • Another common problem is drastic change in the décor from one room to the next, with the result being an uneasy feeling going from one room to the next. Rooms with very different themes, colors, patterns and the like can be very disorienting as one walks from room to room. The energy becomes scattered and does not flow smoothly. This is not to suggest that you should decorate your house with a single theme or color. Just be cognizant of how a room interacts with the one adjacent to it and use colors, themes and patterns that will allow each room to flow into the next.

  • Assess your environment for objects that are unconsciously perceived as unintended symbols. For example, a photograph of a desert in the Wealth Gua, would symbolize dried–up cash flow. A single figurine in the Love Gua symbolizes solo living. A disorganized pile of paperwork in the Knowledge Gua symbolizes (and can cause) confusion.

  • While windows and doors add nourishing light and can provide great views, an abundance of them can result in the chi moving too quickly to properly nourish the home. Use screens, crystals hanging in windows, plants, furniture, curtains and artwork to slow down the fast-moving energy.

  • Place furniture to allow chi to flow unimpeded. If you have to sidestep or contort your body in any way to avoid a piece of furniture, it is blocking the proper flow of energy, move it. If a small room is overloaded with furniture and objects, the chi is going to stagnate in that room. Conversely, if a large room has minimal furniture and large windows, chi is going to enter the room and go right out through the windows, as there is nothing to stop its exit.

  • Your intuition will guide you when assessing how chi is flowing through your spaces. When furniture and objects are placed correctly, the space will look and feel right. Likewise, the proportion of belongings versus the size of the room should be apparent—again, when it feels and looks right, it most likely is. When in doubt, use dowsing rods to determine the pathway of energy, as described in Chapter Five.

  • The use of rounded or soft edges encourages energy to flow through each room in a meandering fashion. Sharp edges “shoot” chi, while rounded edges allow chi to continue to flow at a gentler pace. Corners can be softened with plants, chimes, mobiles and artwork.

  • In addition to the aesthetic appeal of one-of-a-kind works, objects that are handmade contain the energy of the craftspeople or artists in addition to the energy of the pieces themselves. Compare that to a mass-produced item made on an assembly line: the energy of the piece simply cannot measure up to the handmade object. As you become more comfortable with feeling the energy in objects, the difference between handmade and mass-produced will become obvious. Try closing your eyes and holding in one hand a mass-produced item and in the other, a handcrafted one. Feel the difference for yourself.

  • Even better than displaying the work of others is displaying art or handcrafted goods that have been made by you or your family. Your energy—or a family member’s—has gone into creating something that you love. The displayed piece both exudes your personal energy is are a powerful reminder of the positive aspects of you. The piece will literally vibrate with your life-force energy.

  • When you are ready to make changes in your life, add appropriate elements to the Guas in your space.

  • As adjustments are being made, visualize and feel the changes you would like to see coming to life.

  • Harmonious Adjustments™ is based on the belief that if it feels and looks good, it is good.

  • Finally, enjoy the process, relax and have fun. When decorating and applying Harmonious Adjustments™, use your inner wisdom and intuition and then sit back and enjoy the feelings of peace and harmony in your life.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Publisher's Weekly Should Get Publishing Terms Straight

Is it too difficult to ask that a magazine about publishing get the terms of its business straight? The article on Kevin Weiss, “Change Makers” in the December 21, 2009 issue of Publishers Weekly is teeming with semantic misnomers. These errors surround the usage of the word “self-publishing.”

Self-publishing, by definition, means that the author publishes their own work. It means that the author forms a publishing company and owns the ISBN. The author/publisher chooses what services they want—editors, cover designers, copyeditors, etc. Finally, they chose a printer—either POD or offset.

Throughout this article, Lynn Andriani incorrectly uses the word “self-publish.” For example, Andriani writes: “It’s been an eventful few weeks for Weiss, thanks to the controversy that erupted last month from writers over Harlequin’s partnering with Author Solutions to launch a line of self-published books.” Let me make this clear: Author Solutions is a PUBLISHING company. They are, specifically, a subsidy or vanity press and hijacked the word “self-publishing” because vanity and subsidy have bad connotations. Subsidy presses own the ISBN and are the publisher; therefore, the author is not self-published.

According to Andriani: “This year, nearly 250,000 people inquired with [Author Solutions] about self-publishing their books…” The article then says “Author House, iUniverse…have published more than 120,000 books.” If the books are “self-published”, why does the article state that the publishing companies published the books?

These so-called “self-publishing publishers” prey on the naïve wannabe author. Writer’s Digest magazine is filled with advertisements from the subsidy presses; they promise the aspiring author to “self-publish” their book for them. Readers of that magazine would never know that real self-publishing exists!

Subsidy publishers are making money, while traditional publishers are hurting. This is why all the traditional publishing houses—like Harlequin—are clamoring to join the bandwagon. It’s a beautiful thing for the subsidies—instead of having to pay royalties and advances to the author, the subsidies collect money from the author! Every subsidy works differently, but they collect fees for all kinds of things, including jacket design, editing, and promotion. So, before a book is sold, the publisher has made money! If the books actually do sell (and the vast majority sell less than 100 copies) then the publisher makes even more money!

This is a win-win for the subsidy publisher.