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Trying to Eat Healthy Ruined Friday Night Dinner : Why We Need a Change

carbseatornoI spent Friday night out at a movie and dinner with a dear  friend whose partner didn’t want to see Thor in a dark world or a dark theater. We Since we’d forgone the pleasures of GMO popcorn laden with insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, fumigants, trans fats, artificial flavors, artificial flavoring and preservatives, we were hungry by the end. Which is where the night took a distinctly different turn from any other “dinner out” night I’ve ever had.

“Pizza?” Tess asked as we buckled up in my car.

Now pizza is my favorite food group in the whole wide world—right after popcorn. Could I dodge both bullets in the same night? I mean it was Friday and party time. Come on!

For once in my life there wasn’t even an inner struggle. “Um. Well. Maybe not.” What’s wrong with me? Somehow a carb fest of gluten with BGH-laced cheese just didn’t seem appealing.

“You’re joking. You love pizza.”

Tell me about it. “Yeah, well, not tonight, I guess. How ‘bout sushi?”

We live in a small town and food and entertainment options aren’t far apart. I drove the short way to the Japanese restaurant where the night’s theme of Consumer Apprehension continued to play out

Ordering a beer and saki wasn’t difficult. But then came the menu. I swear, it could have been labeled, “Pick Your Poison” the way we both eyed it. Tuna? Too much mercury. Crab? Sorry, it’s imitation (red-dyed Alaskan Pollack). Unagi (eel)? Yellowtail?

“Where’s the yellow tail from?” Tess asked the waitress. Another trip back to the sushi chef and we had the answer: Japan.

We looked at one another, the deadly word Fukushima hanging unspoken in the air between us. Forget the yellowtail. Forget the eel. What about the Northwest fallback favorite, salmon? I shook my head. Since Fukushima, for the first time in the 24 years I’d lived in the Pacific Northwest I hadn’t made the annual November pilgrimage to my fishing connection at the local Nisqually Indian tribe to buy the fresh-caught silver salmon that ran upriver from the Puget Sound estuary only 15 miles away.

Just say no to Pacific salmon.

Shocked at our dilemma, we continued to plod through the menu. Chicken? Neither of us could stomach the idea of eating agri-business chicken because of the ghastly tortured existence the birds endured. Same with beef and pork. “Shall I come back?” the restless waitress inquired.


“Christ. I can’t believe this,” I murmured. Eating out used to be so much fun.

“You know, I went to Safeway the other day and walked through the whole store and couldn’t find one thing to eat that wasn’t processed, filled with sugar or artificial crap,” said Tess.

“Really? What about their organic section?”

“Trucked from God know where with a carbon footprint the size of Texas?” she shook her head. “I finally drove to the co-op, bought a bunch of local organic vegetables and we made a stir-fry.”

“Maybe we should just get uki-udon noodles and some veggies?” I suggested unenthusiastically. Maybe we should go to my house and cook?

The waitress came back. For lack of any other real choice, we both ordered miso soup and east coast shrimp. By that time all I wanted was another beer—or something stronger.

But dammit, I’ve numbed myself long enough. Last night was inevitable. It’s been coming ever since Rachel Carson first started blowing the whistle in her book Silent Spring way back in 1962. And although we’ve come a long way on the environmental front, we’re far from a widespread populist movement demanding clean air, clean water and healthy food on our tables. Hell, state amendments to label GMOs have been beaten out in the two most progressive states in the US through the vast injection of Monsanto Money into ad coffers.

We’re being sold bad health with a vengeance and we’re buying it with hardly a blink.

What will it take to change? Glow-in-the-dark caviar appearing on Elitist Corporate Tables worldwide and them finally waking up? Maybe. Or maybe more of us just need an educational Friday night out now and then.

God on sale- Any takers–err–buyers?

Why is God on sale and why is there not a great deal of discount? Shouldn’t God be available for free just like sunlight and air? The third vital ingredient of life, water, is already sold. There have been several debates about it, both from the non-believers and the believers. The non-believers have a reason now to question more about if there really is any God because if there is then it could not be sold. People shrug at spirituality being sold and gaining momentum. They do not understand how suddenly God has become hot as a commodity.

Well I would ask a question- What is not on sale these days. You name it and there exists a complete web of barter system today. Even in love and relationships. The present world thrives on advertising. The most beautiful products remain anonymous just because of the lack of it. So how can God hide in caves and still be known to this world? God wants to be delivered but how? I would say God is not on sale by choice, it is more by need that God has to be delivered in a way to this world of consumers and sellers. Can I speak to you in Mandarin or French if all that you understand is English? It is something like that.

Then second thing is, why? Well how many people in present world would feed the God-Men if they all came begging at your doors? Is there any respect or reverence for the so called messengers of God? I think they would be shooed away as soon as they come with a bowl in their hands.

Now if God- Men were to be free from world and worldly desires and they were to live in forests, eating fruits and wearing animal skins, they still need to come out to the world and convey the message. If they do so, the cruel fast pacing world would just crush them without ever noticing the saffron, white or the long beard. If they go door to door begging for food just because they have renounced the world, they would only be thrashed, forget about people listening to them. Can they sit in the middle of a busy market or a mall and people would even notice them unless they have a show around, which leads me to the advertising strategies.

So how do they reach us? There has to be a system built for advertising God in today’s busy world. But who wants God— for the poor, a piece of bread and a shabby shelter is God, for the average, smoothly running everyday life without much of a pain is God, for a rich person, nothing is unavailable, they can buy any number of God and God-men if they get bored with the life’s luxuries, for the people craving for more and looking for justice and rebelling against un-fair system, et al.., the God is just a hopeless last resort, when all of their protests fail or natural calamities and sudden disasters show them their dwarfism.

Now there is a sect of people who want God very desperately and the major chunk of them are the ones who want magic. Everything else they have created by technology, money, science, procreation. They look up to God and religion as having some magical powers. Hence many God-men have displayed fireworks from time to time to lure such minds. The other sect is the desperate people, frustrated people, bored people and sometimes people with genuine queries. The least number is formed by people with genuine queries. But still the bored, frustrated and failed people are evolving to the greater questions. They start with looking for something better and freely available like sunlight and then fumble on their path once they see that God, also is like any other business of the world- advertised and commercialized yet elusive.

Then people start blaming the God-Men. But I do not see that it is their fault at all. May be some of them are using your need of magic to create money, but to be able to survive and deliver what ever they know, in the present days competitive world, they have to make what you call money and gain some credibility, which unfortunately no body has time to build for anyone purely based on their intentions because there is a lot of judgment going on, lot of information flow and wrong logic working. So, having a standard, having a huge playground, having a good brand, having an organic set up is something that is seen as credibility of anything or anyone—an individual, a corporation or a business of any kind.

So, what do we do? We have to realize that even when the best way the concept of “there is something beyond”(God or whatever you name it) can be delivered is by furious advertising and money making business, no matter how much money the rich can spend and the middle class can fret about, God actually cannot be bought. There is no such thing as magic. No touch of a healing can ever touch you if you are not ready for it. No amount of money spending and money making can buy you faith. Once you have faith, you will know that no amount of attending yoga classes, seminars and buying yogic-retreat packages can help you beyond that point. It finally boils down to your faith, your one-pointed focus, your willingness to shun the fascinating, advertisements, miracle-hunting mindset, self-pity, arrogance, the normal, the easy, the convenient. One has to take full responsibility and practice discipline. At the end of the day, wanting to know God, living God and reaching beyond takes more commitment, more responsibility, more character, more faith, more hard work and more sacrifice of the mundane than anything else in the world and the path is full of challenges.

If you are coming to God, thinking life is difficult: initially it will soothe your nerves to know that there is something beyond; to know that you can spend some money and time. But after that, reaching your goal of realization or even living God is a long journey to yourself and it would only uncover your own layers of conditioning, it will be your effort and will, your willingness and attitude. From that point on, you can’t make the horse drink the water. Hence the question becomes- What does God mean to you- Is it your fashion statement, magic potion, quick-fix, or sincere quest? Spirituality is there to provide you strength to deliver the God that you and each one of us bear. Sincerity, focus and discipline are the means to it. Love, dispassion and compassion in heart, freedom in mind and discipline and dynamism in action are of utmost importance. In the world full of noise, God needs to be heard with patience and endurance. Do you have this much patience to try to listen to that “Silence”, also knowing that it might take millions of years for you to be able to do so. Money can buy you some knowledge- both conceptual and practical but then there is a separate barter system. God cannot be a cheap commodity after all. That is why it has remained elusive and profound. Sincere devotion and committed responsibility only can show you the path.

Suppose God as a concept was delivered free I wonder if any of us would have listened. Even when the closest person to God is you yourself—how often can you hear him, feel him, or live him? Free stuff is the least important stuff and no one is bothered about it even if it were God. So what else could have been God’s way to enter our market-driven lives than through vendors? God for sure is on sale but there is more deception because just like sunlight God is available all the time, just like air and also water (the non-commodity resources like rain, and floods). Your mind, ego, etc will come in the way and your conditioning as a commodity yourself would be a major hurdle. Your need to conform and your fear of unknown, your unwillingness to take risks or total responsibility, your attachment to the world of advertisements and magic would take a toll in your sincerity towards God even after you have spent all your wealth trying to buy God. Yes God is on sale, but it is not a fair deal- buy it or not.

American college students studying spirituality in the workplace

Some people who don’t consider themselves to be religious or spiritual are unnerved by a growing trend to study spirituality in the workplace. For example, the University of Alabama announced Thursday that its Walton College of Business will be opening a $4 million Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace. 
I understand the concern, and I think we could all rally behind an idea of "humanity in the workplace." I think we could all support humane values over corporate greed. I think we could all support a respectful corporate environment instead of an environment where people hate what they’re doing every day away from their families. This article discusses that idea of humanity in the workplace: American college students studying spirituality in the workplace.

What Gurus Can Teach Marketers

I just returned home to New York from Seattle where I spent two days working with young, high-potential Microsoft executives on innovative thinking skills. I find it fascinating how different a company’s public and internal personas can be. Most who know Microsoft as only a company think of a large machine too strong for the competition. But having worked within the company for several years now, I have come to know the culture as warm, curious, welcoming, and kind.

Krishamurti and other gurus have warned us that we do not truly know others. We do not react to who others really are but react instead to the mental image we have crafted for who we believe others to be. After we get to know someone we stop seeing them. We fill in the blanks with assumptions informed by our past experiences with them.

If that is true for people, imagine how pervasive this must be for companies. We come to "know" companies as having some history and character. We create a mental image or identify for companies. We think Virgin is cool and Google is innovative and Porsche is fast. Yet these companies are just buildings and machines and thousands of people. We create identities to simplify what would otherwise be too complex to comprehend.

And this, I believe, is where marketing is going next: to the crafting of corporate identities. People no longer buy just a product; they buy the product’s company too. They care where Whole Foods sources its meat and what Wal-Mart does to the environment.

So perhaps marketers should start turning to those more ancient schools of thought – Buddhism and Taoism – that have over millennia detailed how humans create mental images.

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