Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Slouching Towards Seattle, Inching Towards Life

I'd always been taken by the title of Joan Didion's essay collection - Slouching Towards Bethlehem - until just this minute when I did a quick look into the origins. Apparently, in the poem that coined the phrase, the poet Yeats was actually waxing lyrical about a Sphinx-like anti-christ "slouching towards Bethlehem" to be born. Yikes. Not the image I had in mind at all.

To me, the phrase has less to do with Armageddon, or even Didion's 1960s San Francisco, and more to do with slowly making my way to a holy, life-giving place.

For the last two years, and very much so since moving to Seattle, my motto has been
slow and steady.

I don't even care about winning the race - I'd rather take deliberate steps towards something true, beautiful and worthwhile than busy myself with non-essentials.

In the last few days there's been a flurry of little steps towards a proverbial Bethlehem, so I thought I'd share some fun ways I'm inching forward to a better me and a better world.

going to my first writing group
Inspired by Natalie Goldberg's talk at the Edmonds Writers Conference on Saturday (!), I decided to pop by the Greenwood Writers Group last night. I had no idea what to expect, but part of creating is just showing up, so I did. We wrote for two, fifteen-minute sessions and shared our work after each. This sort of thing is risky, but a definite step in the right direction towards the writing life.

using a faux paper travel coffee cup

Every time I buy a paper to-go cup for a latte I feel convicted - such a waste, so easy to fix. But why are the paper cups so much more gratifying than a mug? The solution - a takeaway mug that looks like a paper cup. Good-bye needless waste, hello amazing talking point.

zipping up the core
If Monday morning's pilates class has anything to do with it, slouching towards any city will be purely metaphorical. That's right, I'm back on the core strength wagon thanks to a sweet groupon the other week for cheap seven-week course. Anyone who knew me in London knows how much I love this expensive practice because it's just so good for the body and general well-being.

weekly vegan
Just as I'm slowly reintroducing meat into my diet, my carnivorous husband Dan goes and suggests we go vegetarian once a week. (Oh I love him!) Now, I can't claim to have gone vegetarian for ethical reasons in the first place (that's another story), and I don't believe in guilt trips at all, but here's a crazy stat for you:

If everyone in the UK gave up meat once a week, the emissions savings would equal taking 5million cars off the road.

Just imagine if everyone in the US gave up meat once a week. Eek!

Going veggie once a week would be too easy for me (and I like a challenge), so we decided
on the vegan option. Go big or go home, in moderation, I say. This week we've got a tasty butternut squash with coconut milk soup lined up. Any suggestions from vegans out there are welcome.

juicing it up
Thanks to the juicer my dad gave me and a certain Top Banana produce store down the street, I've been juicing  up a storm. While it's not bringing global injustice to a blinding halt, I am supporting local fruiterers and defying the processed crap that gets passed off as food in our society, so I'm feeling good.

Small steps are underrated, but they're all part of the same slow journey towards a thriving world for all.

Have you been taking any steps towards something worthwhile lately? Any sweet vegan recipes or juicing secrets to share?

****Blog giveaway update: I still haven't heard from Kendall, the winner of the giveaway. Please get in touch with me by Friday or I'll have to draw another winner! :)

{typewriter photo flickr jennystone}
{beet juice photo flickr di.wineanddinedi.wineanddine}


Jenny said...

ha ha, kendall...i hope you're still not back on here until after Friday...I want that prize!!!

well, you know that i've decided to give up buying stuff for myself, unless it's food or used...so that's my inch by inch move towards less global waste. i made it through september and now am attempting october...we'll see how long it lasts, but i'm feeling pretty good!

Rachael Randal said...

Wow good on you for joining the writers' group! I can't think of many things more scary than sharing my on-the-spot writing with others!

In terms of slow, steady steps I'm taking...

I have a coffee keep cup too (but its not quite as cool as a faux paper one)

And I've finally managed to get into a regular thing of going for a jog by telling myself that its ok if I'm only out for 5 minutes. I'm now much more likely to just get up and go, whereas before I used to put it off because I had too much to do, the weather was bad etc etc. I often find that I end up running for more than 5 mins anyway, its just getting myself started thats the tricky bit!... of course, it being spring-like and warm at the moment is helping somewhat...

Anonymous said...

I love your ideas, Alisha. I'll have to think about ways to slouch/inch toward a fuller life myself. I am cooking at home a lot more since we've moved to a new city...it's good for our wallets and our waistlines. And I'm trying to reach out and connect to people in Boston...sometimes hard for me since I'm naturally shy, but so rewarding.

Lewy said...

Love this post - this resonates a lot with what I've been going through recently. I have all these big changes I want to make in how I live my life, but am quickly realizing that change does not happen all at once. It takes time, consistent effort and patience. So I'm learning to give importance to the little steps towards change, and forgiving myself when I step backwards.

I'm actually doing this thing called "October Unprocessed" through EatingRules.com, where I'm attempting to eat unprocessed for the whole month, and focus on local, whole foods. Their website has a tasty-looking vegan recipe up right now for a Butternut Squash Risotto. I think I'll give it a try! http://www.eatingrules.com/2010/10/risotto-with-butternut-squash-and-sage/

Shannon of ** Happiness Is...** said...

I'm loving my pilates too. I just did another Groupon-ish type deal for Bria Pilates (reformers). I'm going crazy! ;) And I'm happy to hear you're doing the vegan thing once a week. I'm a veggie but eat dairy and my man is the biggest meat-eater alive. Maybe I'll try out the once a week thing on him ;) xo

alisha said...

Jenny, you are indeed moving towards less global waste and it's amazing you've taken on that challenge. :)

Rachael,I agree with fooling ourselves psychologically to just get out there, whether it's running or writing or whatever. I'm still obsessed with my pomodoro timer method and if I want to start a task I'm procrastinating on, just telling myself it will only be 10 minutes! Then I get into a zone and actually enjoy it.

Katie, I agree that it's hard to get out there and meet people. Have you searched for any groups on meetup.com? I have for Seattle but haven't actually gone yet! Maybe that's my next inch forward.

Lewy, October Unprocessed is right up my cup of tea! Thanks for sharing, as well as the butternut risotto. Maybe we'll try it tonight because it's vegan day...

Shannon, my husband is also ultra carnivorous! His body couldn't handle going fully veggie but he likes the challenge of once a week. Let me know if you guys try it. :)

Nadine said...

I love that you been trying vegan! We started headed towards vegan a few weeks ago and we're really enjoying it! Love the firm tofu - cooking it on high heat till there's almost a crispy layer around it - and substituting it for chicken in the dishes I normally prepare. Pad that with tofu - yum!

Last night we went out to a vegan restaurant and the "meat" was really good! I was impressed!

But I'm going to say it - I'll never be able to go 100% vegan. I love cheese too much.

Melissa-Jade Gregan, said...

Alisha, you are inspirational! how i wish we still had you guys on tap around here. you totally inspired all us girls to take babysteps in blogging and now, you cant stop us! I also love your tomato clock - any chance you know where to find one for non-apples?
Also, Rachael, what a legend with the five minute runs! that is a great idea! maybe i could give that a shot. Let me know if you wanna hook up!

loveing your inspirational blog Alisha...hope you guys are going perfectly well.xxxx

Meagan Lopez said...

This is so inspiring. I love what you're doing with the blog now. And I think I just ought to join a writer's group as well!

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