start where you are

There are about ten other things I should be doing right now but I am going to stick to my word and complete this post today. The weeks fly by so quickly! Soon this blog will not be as critical because I have been creating content for my new blog/site, Why Did I Eat That?. It’s a fun and exciting new project I’ve been working on for over a year and I think you will enjoy it. Soon come.

Image from upcoming book, Why Did I Eat That?

Happy Monday Folks!!

The weather in New York this past weekend was superb-o-licious! I think I may have taken only 8 photographs the entire weekend which is pretty weak for me. I had chosen to be super present; however, in hindsight, I could really use a few good images. There was just enough ME time plus I was able to connect with a few friends – old and new. My Friday night ended with a full belly and smiles. I highly recommend the restaurant, Saraghina, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. It’s been open for a while and many of my friends have been there 3 or 4 times by now so when a relatively new friend prompted me to pick the place for us to meet and share some food, I jumped at the opportunity to visit this low-key, rustic Italian spot which resembles an old farmhouse spanning the entire length of the quaint yet urban block on Lewis Avenue. The staff is extremely friendly and forthcoming, openly sharing their love of food and the neighborhood to anyone who’ll listen.  The ingredients were fresh, a farm-to-table establishment; and, although the menu is quite small, it’s difficult to choose because everything looks so very delightful. 3 Thumbs Up from me!

Basketball players in Chinatown, May 2010 NYC

The coming weeks will bring about more new challenges for me. It is one thing to have an idea and something all together different when it comes to execution and delivery. I want to be there but I am only here. I wish I knew that but I only know this. If only I had more information or access to better resources…I want to be an expert NOW!

Well, I am not; therefore, I have been making do with what’s available to me and, on occasion, whining in the process 😦

Does pollution really cause hair loss?

During the beginning of a meditation session yesterday, our teacher says if you have a thought, it’s okay, keeping counting and don’t judge yourself: Start where you are. Immediately, this resonated with me because for the past several weeks, I’ve been struggling with new software and ways to execute my vision. I am often stuck on the fact, that I don’t have the skills to execute my ideas and find myself wishing I was somewhere else in the process of learning. The mere utterance of that phrase was like a thump to my head and heart. My internal response was, Preach Mama! That’s all I needed to hear. Essentially the message was, Be Present and Honor Your Place in Life. I have gotten pretty good at this; however, just like anyone else living in a super techie and media-driven society, I get overwhelmed and distracted.

Strawberry Doughnut from Doughnut Planet NYC

Speaking of distractions, I never shared my doughnut experience with you. It had been almost three years since I ate half of a doughnut. I was certain my teeth would fall out on the spot. Needless to say, I had no intention of ever eating another one of those things in this lifetime. Yet two weeks ago, after an invigorating lunch-hour yoga class at YogaWorks in SoHo, a friend and I stumbled across the DOUGHNUT PLANET. After a bit of doughnut banter with the huge worker who clearly has had his share of doughnuts, we hastily walked towards brown cafe for some coffee (her) and tea (me) for which to savor our heavenly doughnuts. She had strawberry which were made with fresh strawberries and tender loving care. Yum! And I purchased two different types of chocolate but only ate one of them that day. I haven’t stopped thinking about that doughnut since that day but will not go back at least for another month. Moderation!

Chocolate “Blackout” Doughnut from Doughnut Planet

Well, I would never stop writing if I shared every bit of my week or weekend. I’m no longer the jack rabbit I had been when I first arrived to NYC but I still get around. It’s no doubt the beautiful weather has everything to do with it combined with my curiosity for new-ness. There is a world out there and I love exploring it, don’t you?

brown cafe on Hester Street NYC 2010
Inside the brown cafe, they also have a restaurant called orange

This week, take your time and savor your family, friends, food, experiences, and environment! We are a fortunate bunch of dreamers and schemers who too often focus on the past or future while letting the moment pass us by. Let’s all be present and grateful for each and every moment life brings us!

Thanks for reading and have a productive week!

Greetings and well wishes to J.R.

Smiles and Sunshine


quiet as kept

February 27, 2010 – 4:50am

End of Day of Silence.

Overall the day was totally relaxing and peaceful. There were only two times during the day did I wonder what was happening in the world. Is my family well? Were there any new natural disasters on earth? How is the media reporting Obama’s bi-partisan healthcare discussion? What happened on Oprah today? and there were many moments where songs entered my mind …

I spent most of the day just being still, reading a little, giving thanks, eating (of course), practicing yoga, and writing:

The feeling of isolation lurks but it is not an overwhelming one. The snow has finally ceased and now we are left with virgin snowy mounds accented by filthy slush as evidence of life in a big city. Outside my home has been anything but silent. There has been the continuous scraping and screeching, punctuated by honking horns and the cries of children having fun.

I stepped outside around two o’clock because I could see the sun peeking out and the random noise had seem to come to a full stop. I could no longer resist being with the fresh snow and touching the white clusters of wondrous coolness. I walked one block to the nearest playground and began to snap a few photos as proof that I had survived yet another New York snowstorm.

It’s been years since I made a snowman so I created Quirky, an androgynous miniature snow being. Do you like his belt?

Just as quickly as the sun had appeared twenty minutes earlier, it had vanished behind the clouds even quicker. Darkness and wetness descended upon our heads and I could see others picking up their pace, running for cover, just as I.

I am encouraged to do this more often, perhaps not for an entire day, but for a few hours as a way of focusing and being still.

Nearly six years ago, I attended a 10 day meditation retreat in Massachusetts called Vipassana. It was one of the best decisions I have made; I plan to participate again in the not-so-distant future. I highly recommend it for numerous reasons. For me, it was as if my internal hard drive was downloaded and cleared for new energy, thoughts and desires. This workshop is totally free and open to the public.

I hope that your day was as peaceful and pleasant as mine. Happy weekend!

Lala the Sunchaser

silence is golden

Thursday, February 25, 2010 – 9:54pm

it’s snowing again.


Silence is golden, a phrase or proverb that dates back centuries, possibly to Ancient Egypt. My father used to tell us, If you don’t have anything good to say then keep your mouth closed. My mother is not a person who gossips either, I can’t think of a time where I have overheard my mother talking on the phone or to one of her friends about someone else’s business. I’m pretty sure she instilled in us that “all of that nonsense” is a waste of time which is probably why neither my brother or myself like to talk on the phone for long periods. Fast forward to this minute, in less than two hours I will be going OFFline for one full day — 24 hours. As of midnight, February 26th, I am turning off my phone, laptop, and stereo receiver; and, I will be exercising a DAY of SILENCE.

It’s crazy how for the last three hours, I have been canvassing the internet as if I am going on a space mission for life. I am simultaneously writing this blog post, working on my next music podcast, chatting on the phone with an old friend who has no idea that I am unplugging tomorrow, and eating a bowl of rice n’ chili. My intention for taking this time away from my ‘gadgets’ is to simply re-group and re-purpose myself, if that makes any sense. I have spent the past few weeks, being extremely creative and now it is time to sit with what I’ve done while allowing any extraneous thoughts, doubts, or fears to dissipate like the wind.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from a piece in Thomas Carlyle‘s major publication, Sartor Resartus, written ironically as a commentary on the thoughts and early life of a fictional German Philosopher, Diogenes Teufelsdröckh (which translates as ‘god-born devil-dung’). The title of this major work translated means The Tailor Re-tailored:

“Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule. Not William the Silent only, but all the considerable men I have known, and the most undiplomatic and unstrategic of these, forbore to babble of what they were creating and projecting. Nay, in thy own mean perplexities, do thou thyself but hold thy tongue for one day: on the morrow, how much clearer are thy purposes and duties; what wreck and rubbish have those mute workmen within thee swept away, when intrusive noises were shut out! Speech is too often not, as the Frenchman defined it, the art of concealing Thought; but of quite stifling and suspending Thought, so that there is none to conceal. Speech too is great, but not the greatest. As the Swiss Inscription says: Sprecfien ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden (Speech is silvern, Silence is golden); or as I might rather express it: Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.”

I’m going to wind down and prepare for a meditation that will take me into the new day. Thanks for reading!

Have a gorgeous and happy Friday!