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The Self Examiner

Sharing is very important to us at Cafe Gratitude. This blog is our means of connecting with you, our community through sharing what's happening with us and creating a conversation around the many facets of this community.
Tags >> creating an opening


Consider for a minute that you are merely an organism on this planet. You are the result of every effect following another effect so far back that we cannot make out the fuzzy long distance image of what an original cause might have been. This moment you are experiencing right now is exactly what needs to happen and is what creates the moment you are experiencing now just seconds later. Imagine that there are countless timelines all moving forward and intersecting each other, with every person, every animal, every molecule experiencing a varied experience of the very same shared moment in history.

Life is so beautiful because of it’s diversity/difference and rich lush landscapes with one complex harmony of structures meeting another. The intricate network of nutrients in transit in the structure of a leaf sits against the cold lifeless concrete that’s been from the soil, to the factory, to the truck, laid down by a worker and has now seen thousands of these leaves live and die against it. When I slow down and think about the complexity of every object, every being, every aspect of my daily experience, I find that not only is the world inherently forever in motion and constantly changing but that each and every state of every thing is perfect.


This week, I would like to share with you about the experience of loss.  I have been very present to loss these last few weeks.  I’ve been noticing the faces of people on the street – thinking that I see someone I know, and startling myself back when they are not there.  I’ve been daydreaming and catching visions in the leaves, rolling my mind around times that have past.  I became aware, in those musings, that there would be a time when I would look back on today, on this present moment in my life, with the same longing that I feel now for other times.

“Impermanence is not a theory. It’s happening every moment.” – Thich Nhat Hanh


“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?”


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!!!



ReadyMade is a book – but not just that. It’s a DIY bible that grew up reading popular science as a kid, and now has a collegial 50’s garage tinkerer sensibility.  It launches with fiery trails. It soars. When it falls, it brushes itself off and starts over. It is the Captain of Creativity. Resistance is futile. This book is 100% hope.

Shoshana Berger came up with the idea for ReadyMade Magazine in 2000.  At a time when no one was launching a magazine with less than $5 million to invest, she decided to take a more DIY approach.  After all, that’s what they would be writing about, creating things yourself instead of buying them.  For two years, she and her partner, Grace Hawthorne, worked on a small budget, starting from scratch and learning the intricacies of the magazine business as they went. They did everything themselves – from conceiving and proofing every document that went out the door, to taking out the trash. Three years and many interns later, they were able to start paying themselves, and were the official editors of a widely regarded magazine.


"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.  



How did the rose

Ever open its heart

And give to this world

All it's beauty?

It felt the encouragement of Light

Against its being,


We all remain

Too frightened.

- Hafiz

Some days I wonder how I will ever be able to fully offer to the world that which has been given to me.  I, like you, am gifted.  I know that if I were to open up, to sing my song to all who had ears to listen, I could heal the entire world, and set everything aflame with the primordial joy of being.


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!


The Slow Money gathering aims to fix the economy from the ground up, one small food enterprise at a time.  At a time when the big business in town is a struggling stock market, disgraced investment bankers, and a market overrun with poisonous factory-farm produce – the Slow Money Gathering is bringing to bear a new kind of investing.  They call it natural capital, farmer capital, social capital, local capital, nurture capital & cheese capital (why not?).

In the last two years, the gathering has hosted more than 1000 people form 24 states, and more than $4.25 million dollars have been invested in 16 of the presenting small food enterprises.  The event has also given rise to local chapters, who have begun investing around the country.


My name is Andrew, I’m a brand new employee at Cafe Gratitude’s central office, and I want to share some inspiration with you. What inspires me is compassionate food--food that’s kind to the soil it’s planted in, the people who prepare it, and the hungry bodies that make it part of them. This inspiration has lead me to work with Cafe Gratitude, and also with another organization re-imagining good food, and one I’ll talk about today: the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, or CoFED, which empowers college students to launch food cooperatives.

What both these organizations have in common is that they empower people to transform their lives, with compassionate food as a catalyst. We like to call the Cafe a school of transformation disguised as a restaurant, because our core mission isn’t to sell you food - our aim is to give you tools to shape your life how you want it to be. Part of actively taking control of your life involves loving yourself, and a key part of loving yourself is feeding yourself really awesome food. So when you decide that you’re worthy of nourishing your body, mind and soul with meals that are kind to the Earth and her animal and human inhabitants - meals that make you feel and function great - you’re taking the first step on the journey of self-transformation.

Gratitude !

We love the expansive feeling we get from cultivating an attitude of Gratitude.

What are YOU Grateful for today ?

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