‘When God sends rain, rain is my choice.’ – Werner Erhard
“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.” – Cicero
Each year, Americans take one day to give thanks for all that we have in our lives. At Café Gratitude, we think that giving thanks is so important that we ask our employees, our customers, our vendors, and people driving behind us on the road to do it every single day. If you haven’t seen our bumper sticker before, it poses the question, “What are you grateful for?”
One of the things that you hear most about healthy relationships, families, and communities is that they are built on trust. Now, I have to admit, that this confuses me a little bit. I mean, what is this ‘Trust’ thing anyway? To find out more about how to cultivate trust, I did a bit of research. John Gottman, Ph.D. at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley defines trust using the acronym ‘Attune’:
Are you surprised? I have to admit that I was. I grew up in a culture where having ‘trust’ in a relationship meant something straightforward, like having trust that someone is not ‘cheating’ on you, or trusting that they will show up when they said they would. Matthew and Terces seem to have a similar idea about trust in relationship. Here are some of the things that they are committed to:
Anne Kubitsky has a vision. In a country with a tanking economy, a discouraging political situation, and escalating national protests, she has become a leader in the awakening of gratitude. The ‘Look For The Good Project’ is a community art project that encourages people (like you!) to share little bits of what they are grateful for, via postcard, in an online art gallery.
“Why not offer people a chance to pause and reflect on something that
A big thank you to Terces and Matthew from all of us! Thank you for being fierce love warriors, for always being a space of love, and for listening with compassion for all of us. Thank you for always seeming to get bigger! Thank you for holding the space for dialogue and giving us the opportunity to share our amazing organic food and love!!!
In recent weeks, I have found myself wishing for a resolution of the violence in the world. I have wished that both the police and protestors at the occupy encampments across the nation could find a way to practice non-violence in their actions. I have often wished that economists, politicians, and those in academia would practice non-violence in their suppositions, beliefs, and attitudes. And, like many of you, I have wished that the people around me (close friends, family, people next to me on the bus) could practice non-violence day to day in their interactions.
I am writing this as an elder in our community, and am thanking you in advance for listening with open hearts. My intention is to empower you and to take a stand.
I have read your letters and heard your requests in regards to Occupy Oakland's General Strike. I appreciate your passion, commitment and urgency. Here is what I would like for you to consider:
As individuals we have great freedom in standing up for what we believe in and support. We are free to take great risks and be responsible for whatever consequences there may be. We are free to make our choices. I celebrate this freedom.
"There is only one consciousness, equally distributed everywhere." - Ramana Maharshi
This year has been a year like no other in history. On Jan 25th, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power following 18 days of unrelenting public protest. In August, Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule came to an end as Libyan rebels overtook Tripoli, after 6 months of civil war. Earthquakes and tornadoes have escalated to unforeseen severity, and the U.S. has seen the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement in every major city, and met with the opposition of police forces in New York, Cleveland, Oakland, Denver, Atlanta, Nashville, and elsewhere.
It isn’t every day that you hear great music with a real message. I mean, not everyone is John Lennon or Bob Marley – right?
That’s what I thought, but I had to think again when Erin Ross introduced me to Luminaries, a Venice based consciousness-expanding Hip Hop group whose history as teachers, social workers, activists, MCs, and instruments of service informs their music and their message. These are not just incredible musicians, but messengers of hope, whose song titles on their debut album, “One,” read like a list of mantras: “Everything is One,” “Only Love,” “Show the World,” “Peace” and “Be the Change.”
The Occupy San Francisco encampment was receiving so many food donations last week, they had to turn generous people away. Across the nation companies, organizations and individuals have shown their support for the Occupy movement by contributing supplies to the camps of people who now occupy public zones in reportedly more than 1,000 U.S. cities. These citizens are not merely erecting tents and staying the night, however: there is incredible organization going into the demonstrations. Many encampments have their own first aid tents, communications areas, and, of course, food tables. All the effort going into creating these temporary mini-cities reveals how popular the movement has become in the month it’s been active.
How did Occupy Wall Street begin?
The Canadian anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters first proposed the idea of occupying the New York financial district in late summer of this year, circulating a poster showing a dancer atop the Wall Street bull and posing the question, What is Our One Demand? Since the protests began September 17, many demands have emerged, including ending corporate personhood, raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, shrinking the income gap between rich and poor, and reforming campaign finance laws. With its strident and raucous anti-capitalism stance, we could have expected Adbusters to launch a fringe movement that would fail to capture the hearts of a majority of citizens; however, widespread anger at the state of the economy and exploitation by corporate power have caused the movement to move towards the mainstream. Time magazine, for example, recently reported that 54% of Americans approve of Occupy.
Where does Cafe Gratitude fit into all of this excitement? Well, if you haven’t heard, our LA location just trucked a big batch of Grateful Bowls over to Occupy Los Angeles to feed the people camping outside City Hall (see the video below!). Ryland Engelhart, general manager at Gratitude LA, explained that he sees the Occupy movement as a call for unification from people across the country. Americans are feeling separated from each other and from our institutions, he says, and this may be a chance to bring us all together to improve our society. Luckily, the tent village in the City of Angels was still in need of food, so Ryland was not turned away and protesters got to enjoy delicious organic vegan meals!
We can connect food to the Occupy movement in more ways than simply feeding the demonstrators, however. A great article in Mother Jones has just been published, illustrating how the financial industry is not the only economic behemoth that has been consolidating power and causing angst for the majority of Americans. The food industry, the article claims, is even more consolidated and monopolistic than the financial sector. For example, just four companies produced 75 percent of cereal and snacks, 60 percent of cookies, and half of all ice cream in the U.S. in 2002. And since then, not much has changed, although the food movement is gaining steam, and will ramp up its power this October 24, the first-ever National Food Day.
Here’s hoping that the people on the streets keeping eating well, and that we can all start understanding that we’re going to need a movement as powerful as Occupy Wall Street to reform our current food system!