Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Saturday Morning Walkers - October 12, 2008

Hi everyone,

It sure was good to reunite with my Saturday Morning Walkers yesterday - it was an unusual rainy day here in Boulder, so we just enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Breadworks and caught up a bit with Chris, Barb, Mary, Andrea, Laila and Christie.

I'm pleased to let you know that our A New Earth Study Group completed the final chapter of Eckhard Tolle's book this past week. We will continue to meet and will start working on Jack Kornfield's A Path With Heart. Even if you're not meeting with us on Thursday mornings, I would really encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and read along with us. I'm considering setting up a separate blog for our study group discussions and invite anyone to participate. I'll keep you posted on that.

Book Report:

I finished Peony by Pearl S. Buck - just an ok read for me - it was an interesting storyline based on true events involving a Jewish community in 19th century China.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peony is set in the 1850s in the city of Kaifeng, in the province of Henan, which was historically a center for Jews. The novel follows Peony, a Chinese bondmaid of the prominent Jewish family of Ezra ben Israel, and shows through her eyes how the Jewish community was regarded in Kaifeng at a time when most of the Jews had come to think of themselves as Chinese. The novel contains a hidden love and shows the importance of duty along with the challenges of life. This novel is one that follows the guidelines of Buck's work. The setting is China, religion is involved, and there is an interracial couple (David and Kulien).

Chris is loving listening to Isabel Allende's second memoir, Sum of All Days.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In this deeply revealing second memoir, after Paula, novelist Allende (The House of Spirits) utilizes her family and the complex network of their relationships as the linchpin of the narrative. While weaving in her candid opinions on love and marriage, friendship, drug addiction, the writing life and religious fanaticism, Allende continues to work through the grief over her daughter's death. In these years without you I have learned to manage sadness, making it my ally. Little by little your absence and other losses in my life are turning into a sweet nostalgia. And though Allende's insight is keen, her prose polished and her language hypnotic, it's the stories of her close-knit family that move the memoir forward. We lived as a tribe, Chilean style; we were almost always together. While much of the story is infused with melancholy, her world is by no means without humor, mirth and wisdom. She celebrates friends' triumphs and exploits their foibles, including the odyssey of the boobs, without taking herself too seriously. This is a book to savor.

Mary read the classic The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett Review
The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett's classic tale of murder in Manhattan, became the popular movie series with William Powell and Myrna Loy, and both the movies and the novel continue to captivate new generations of fans.
Nick and Nora Charles, accompanied by their schnauzer, Asta, are lounging in their suite at the Normandie in New York City for the Christmas holiday, enjoying the prerogatives of wealth: meals delivered at any hour, theater openings, taxi rides at dawn, rubbing elbows with the gangster element in speakeasies. They should be annoyingly affected, but they charm. Mad about each other, sardonic, observant, kind to those in need, and cool in a fight, Nick and Nora are graceful together, and their home life provides a sanctuary from the rough world of gangsters, hoodlums, and police investigations into which Nick is immediately plunged.

A lawyer-friend asks Nick to help find a killer and reintroduces him to the family of Richard Wynant, a more-than-eccentric inventor who disappeared from society 10 years before. His former wife, the lush and manipulative Mimi, has remarried a European fortune hunter who turns out to be a vindictive former associate of her first husband and is bent on the ruin of Wynant's family fortune. Wynant's children, Dorothy and Gilbert, seem to have inherited the family aversion to straight talk. Dorothy, who has matured into a beautiful young woman, has a crush on Nick, and so, in a hero-worshipping way, does mama's boy Gilbert. Nick and Nora respond kindly to their neediness as Nick tries to make sense of misinformation, false identities, far-fetched alibis, and, at the center of the confusion, the mystery of The Thin Man, Richard Wynant. Is he mad? Is he a killer? Or is he really an eccentric inventor protecting his discovery from intellectual theft?

The dialogue is spare, the locales lively, and Nick, the narrator, shows us the players as they are, while giving away little of his own thoughts. No one is telling the whole truth, but Nick remains mostly patient as he doggedly tries to backtrack the lies. Hammett's New York is a cross between Damon Runyon and Scott Fitzgerald--more glamorous than real, but compelling when visited in the company of these two charmers. The lives of the rich and famous don't get any better than this! --Barbara Schlieper

Laila is lukewarm about Byron Katie's Loving What Is - she compared her approach to Eckhard Tolle's A New Earth but found it much more confusing. I know that Oprah has interviewed Katie but I haven't listened to those interviews yet. Review
Remember the phrase "question authority"? Loving What Is is a workbook on questioning authority--but in this case, what is in question is the authority of our own fundamental beliefs about our relationships.

Known simply as "The Work," Byron Katie's methods are clean and straightforward. The basis is a series of four questions addressed to your own lists of written assumptions. Whether you're angry with your boss, frustrated with your teen's behavior, or appalled at the state of the world's environment, Katie suggests you write down your most honest thoughts on the matter, and then begin the examination. Starting with, "Is it true?" and continuing with explorations of "Who would you be without that thought?" this method allows you to get through unhelpful preconceptions and find peace. An integral part of the process is "turning the thought around," and at first this can seem like you're simply blaming yourself for everything. Push a little harder, and you'll find a very responsible acceptance of reality, beyond questions of fault and blame.

The book is filled with examples of folks applying The Work to a variety of life situations, and reading other's examples gets the idea across pretty clearly; chances are you'll find your own frustrations echoed on the pages a few times. Many chapters are divided into specific topics, such as couples, money, addictions, and self-judgments, with one chapter devoted to exploring the method with children.

Website of the Week - NPR's Planet Money - - several NPR correspondents have put together an excellent website dealing with our current financial situation.

Podcast of the Week - This American Life's podcast featuring the NPR correspondents from Planet Money - actually in two parts - a very clear discussion of our current financial situation - do check them both out

Vocabulary Word of the Week - actually two words this week coming out of our discussion at our A New Earth study group - we had a very lively discussion about whether or not when you accept a situation, does that imply that you condone. For example, can you accept that mistreatment of children goes on in the world without condoning it?

- Wikipedia gives the "spiritual" interpretation that I think Eckhard Tolle and other spiritual thinkers intend with its use:
Acceptance, in spirituality, mindfulness, and human psychology, usually refers to the experience of a situation without an intention to change that situation. Indeed, acceptance is often suggested when a situation is both disliked and unchangeable, or when change may be possible only at great cost or risk. Acceptance may imply only a lack of outward, behavioral attempts at possible change, but the word is also used more specifically for a felt or hypothesized cognitive or emotional state. Thus someone may decide to take no action against a situation and yet be said to have not accepted it.
Because the dictionary definition includes the concept of approval, it is important to note that in the psychospiritual use of the term infers non-judgmental Acceptance.

Acceptance is contrasted with resistance, but that term has strong political and psychoanalytic connotations not applicable in many contexts. By groups and by individuals, acceptance can be of various events and conditions in the world; individuals may also accept elements of their own thoughts, feelings, and personal histories. For example, psychotherapeutic treatment of a person with depression or anxiety could involve fostering acceptance either for whatever personal circumstances may give rise to those feelings or for the feelings themselves. (Psychotherapy could also involve lessening an individual's acceptance of various situations.)

Notions of acceptance are prominent in many faiths and meditation practices. For example, Buddhism's first noble truth, "All life is suffering", invites people to accept that suffering is a natural part of life. The term "Kabbalah" means literally acceptance.

Condoning -
con·done (kn-dn)
tr.v. con·doned, con·don·ing, con·dones
To overlook, forgive, or disregard (an offense) without protest or censure

Cooking and Dining Report:

From cooking blog Wednesday's Chef, Barbara Fairchild's (Bon Appetit) Spicy Roast Chicken - really quick and easy for a busy weeknight - quite delicious!

Spicy Roast Chicken
Serves 4

24 ounces whole cherry tomatoes (about 4 cups), stemmed
1/4 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, pressed
1 1/4 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram, divided (or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, and none for garnish)
4 bone-in chicken breasts (10 to 12 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper and 1 tablespoon marjoram in a large bowl to combine.

2. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken, arranging the tomatoes in a single layer on the sheet around the chicken. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are blistered, about 35 minutes.

3. Transfer the chicken to plates. Spoon the tomatoes and juices over the chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon marjoram and serve.

From Mark Bittman of the New York Times a Free-form Apple Tart - a perfect dessert for a chilly autumn night!

Quote of the Week - from Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart
"This very moment is the perfect teacher..... the most precious opportunity presents itself when you think you can't handle whatever is happening."

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