a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Archive for July, 2010

Kombucha Love

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Hello. I’m Tao and I brew kombucha.

Kombucha fermented tea won me over first in its bottled form sold at my local co-op. A raw, enzymatic, probiotic drink that fizzed it’s way into my heart, despite the mysterious floaty culture things in every bottle. I knew enough about raw and fermented foods to understand this was really healthy stuff –but I came to understand that it is actually a complete health therapy – full of immune-enhancing, detoxifying and balancing nutrients, probiotic organic acids, enzymes, B-vitamins, antioxidants and more.

The word spread quickly, first in the raw food communities and health food stores. When Whole Foods stocked and then expanded and restocked their shelves with two brands, it became as close to mainstream popular as a health beverage could get. Still, we early drinkers felt like we were in a secret society — smiling and nodding when we came upon others who splurged (at almost $4/serving) regularly on the magic brew.

Then the home brewers began to surface, bringing their coveted kombucha “Mothers” out of the closet to share with others on the path. Now we could brew our own kombucha, organically and to our health’s content — for somewhere around 50cents/gallon. And, not a moment too soon, since some kombucha beverage brands were recently pulled from the shelves of stores due to a labeling mishap.

Like many twists of fate, the invasion of governing forces served only to boost interest in the drink, and especially in the brewer’s world. Although I had been brewing occasionally in the past with a culture a friend shared with me, I quickly upped my brewing game and am loving it.

If you aren’t connected to the underground world of shared Mothers – or even if you already have your SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), I recommend learning more about the process of brewing and the health benefits at any of the many resources now available online.

I discovered Kombucha Dave on Twitter. With unmatched enthusiasm and passion, he has invited all of us to join the kombucha brewing community by providing supplies, home brewing education and a lot more through his website, online store, blog, newsletter, videos, Facebook page and Tweets. I found his free online brewing course super helpful – there was more to know about brewing than I thought!

It’s empowering to explore and participate in your own wellness. Happy brewing!

Passion Potion

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

“The major civilizing force in the world is not religion; it is sex.”

———Hugh Hefner, Publisher, Playboy Magazine.

For reasons more cultural and feministic than personal, I have never read Playboy Magazine. But I veer towards agreement with Hugh Hefner’s perspective when it comes to sex relative to, well, the rest of the Universe.

And, at age 84, he still considers himself the luckiest man on the planet who played some part in changing the world. I think he’s right. From an interview in this month’s Vanity Fair with John Heilpern, Mr. Hefner points out that, “…when you no longer have passion, it’s the beginning of the end.”

More from the interview:

“I saw the hypocrisy in the notion that obscenity could somehow be connected to sex instead of to war and bigotry. I believed that sex, when properly understood, could be the best of who we are. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be exploited or abused. It can be. But sex itself is the fire around which we warm ourselves. It is the heart of civilization and the family.”

My (somewhat) Intentional Life

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

a so-called comic strip

The debut of My Intentional Life: Somewhat true stories of attempted sustainability

Since the Gulf oil-saster, I have been laying low in my please ‘let me live my fantasy!’ foxhole – I’ve got my supply of kombucha, organic wine and a deck of tarot cards – I’ve been getting more into the questions than the answers these days.

So, I’m not devouring the news on either side of environmentalism — but devouring creative experience in a whole new way. Hey, there’s a connection, of course. Oil may be flowing through the gulf, but the energy flowing through the counterculture right now feels stronger.

But if, like me, you aren’t quite ready to come completely out of hiding yet, start with this smile-friendly “so-called” Comic Strip, “somewhat true”, debuting on Grist. Hipsters will love it and hate it – it sets the stage in an urban collective in a Brooklyn brownstone. Visit My Intentional Life here.

Hey, it’s a start.

“Sacred Rearrangement”

Monday, July 19th, 2010


I saw these words on a store window in Minneapolis over the weekend. The phrase landed in my head with a jolt of understanding. It hit me in the moment I needed to know: Our individual feelings and thoughts are really made up of many pieces — full of energy — and they are in a constant state of “rearrangement”. I don’t think the feelings or thoughts ever leave or even change, they just shift focus, spread out or pull in.

And if you let this happen by relying on that quiet inner voice, it can be interesting, intriguing and full of wisdom. The true inner voice – the one that knows more than your ego – is both quiet and persistent. It rarely, if ever, is attached to “because”, but just IS. It is both powerful and powerless. It asks you to be aware and attentive and creative — and to remain detached from outcomes.

It’s not a perfect system, to be certain. But we humans, and everything else on the planet, are only perfect within the constrains of our innate and inherent imperfections. Wabi Sabi. Perfectly imperfect.

Pay attention. Listen. Roll with it. Do your imperfect best.

Spiritual Tuition

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

“[…] the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop.”
– Jack Kerouac

Looking back while looking forward is one of my favorite mental pass times. I revel in all the things I’ve let happen, made happen and wish to happen. I dwell in the possibility both of meaning and of what I call, mis-meaning. You know — when you pursue something for one reason and then gain ( or lose) something entirely different. Which makes sense, since  journey never attains its mythic status if everything goes according to plan.

And while I get tangled up in these unplanned things of the past, present or future I take into account the cost of my “spiritual tuition”. How much am I willing to “pay” for this growth? What was it worth to find the truth? Sometimes it’s actual dollars we give up, but I”m not talking about a yoga retreat in Costa Rica. It’s about the ways we keep the dance going chasing the light – right through the mud. Whatever the cost, it almost always – in the end (or the  beginning?), all looks about right on paper.

It then stands to reason that the people I gravitate toward, the ones I can’t keep away from, are the ones who  revel in their madness, their ideas and their passion. And, going back to the reason I started this blog in the first place, Change is a’foot. The planets are aligned for all of us to take chances, discover or rediscover what we want, and even make mistakes. And it’s about all of us. I just saw a new Diesel Ad carrying the tag line, “Be Stupid”.

All I can say is, Burn, baby, burn.

I Do Not Want These

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Ok, well – all 28 bones (27 for me, I’m missing one sesamoid bone) and 20 muscles in my feet want them, but I feel more than slightly ridiculous at the thought of wearing  these sock-like, shoe thingies.

But, science is science, especially when it’s logical and aligns with everything I know about feet and movement. And, as a yoga teacher and a trail runner, I know quite a bit in that regard. And, I have funny feet with really high arches. Yoga keeps them strong enough, but I can’t deny that the idea of running and hiking ALMOST barefoot really sounds exhilarating as well as possibly the missing fitness link for not only my feet, but the rest of my legs and core.

The bottom line is, your feet need to move within their full ROM to stay mobile and strong. And they set the stage for the rest of your body to be the same way. I often tell my yoga students that one of the worst things that happened to our feet in the modern world, is really really really good shoes — meaning those with a support system that, in essence, does the work for you. Bare is better.

If you want to know more about the shoe-less shoe technology and your body, go to I did and then gave in to a pair of these. They immediately felt comfortable on a hiking trail – no breaking in necessary. I could feel the gravel and stones through the bottom – sometimes not so comfortably, but in the end, the soles of my feet only felt more “awake” – a little like a massage.

But, I still don’t want these. They look ridiculous.

In fact, they make me crave the really high pair of heels sitting in my closet.

Form or function? I guess it’s all about balance.

Suffering With Meaning

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

A friend went to get inked today. He left a message saying he hoped that he would not suffer too much in the process. It made me think again about the idea of suffering. I believe we not only benefit from a certain amount and type of suffering, but I believe we  – knowingly and unknowingly – seek it out. Why?

Unlike all other beings and despite our comfort-seeking nature, humans have a craving for suffering with meaning. And, I think the allure of getting a tattoo is linked to the bit of physical suffering that we endure in the process.

You can apply this theory to things like extreme sports, or other uniquely human experiences like piercings, sweat lodge, fasting, and other pursuits.

In yoga asana, we twist and turn our bodies to explore our edges — or productive limits – that live somewhere between discomfort and pain. Our physical and mental edges blend together, it results in a genuine spiritual experience, freeing us from distraction.

Without the ability to reach that internal place of suffering, we can’t express our full creative potential. The task is to find a way to contact the dark but then bring it into the light. Suffering can have meaning.


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