Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Invitation

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to
dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own
sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have
become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine your own,
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy
fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us
to be careful, be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to
yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and
not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty,
every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the
full moon, "Yes!"

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not
shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Heartfelt Thank You!

I want to take a moment to thank each and every person who so generously donated to the Shape Up RI Downtown River Walkathon. I am happy that we have raised so much money (more than $8k) for such an important cause - Childhood Obesity. I know that Shape Up RI will succeed in launching their program this upcoming winter. You have played a role in responding to a national epidemic and you can take stock in that fact. Many people are apathetic these days, overwhelmed by the information around them and more often than not, simply not engaging in problem solving. You are not "those" people!

To update you all, I have taken on a new role these days. Launching a consulting company of my own with some amazing people that I respect and admire, mothering the wee ones, and balancing life and work exhaust nearly every waking minute. But, when it's doing something that you love, it never feels like work.

One of my favorite projects is working with a health education and wellness company. Starting with myself, and the extra baby pounds I have yet to lose, it is such an educational and humbling experience. I learn new things every day that convince me that we are not an ignorant society, but we are a bit brainwashed. There is an enormous amount of misinformation about food, nutrition, diet and exercise on the "streets". It is easy to see where people lose motivation and become frustrated.

As tackling obesity is still my focus, I have become a cheerleader for the wellness programs in our community. I'm certain that I am driving close friends and family crazy with my daily discoveries and factoids. For this, I apologize. [I make no promises to let up, but I apologize.]

I just heard through the grapevine that two friends are headed on a cross country journey. I imagine that these guys will be eating out most meals. I can only suggest that they read something like "Chew On This" before they go because given what's out there, they might want to pack a cooler. (Sorry, I just can't help myself!)

Anyway, this is one very long winded thank you. I am grateful to you for your support, both financially and emotionally. I appreciate your attention to my lengthy messages and I look forward to driving you crazy in the years to come. :)

Kirsten DiChiappari

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


This Saturday, my dear friend Kathy is getting married. I won't be there. In truth, I wasn't invited. Somewhere along the road we lost touch. Or, rather, I got dumped. I guess - I don't really know for sure.

I read an article once about the breakups between adult friends and the confusion and sadness it created when it was a one sided event. The last time I spoke to Kathy directly, I had called her to berate her for ignoring the messages of another friend who was going through a cancer scare at the time. I did instant message with her once more after that and she apologized for not getting in touch with us. I told her not to be sorry - the only thing that mattered was that she was okay. She promised to email more later that day but never did.

I have sent baby announcements and birthday and holiday cards along the way - partly as a way to be the bigger person and extend her every opportunity to reconnect. The other part of me is just being childish - constantly showing that it's not me who has the problem.

This isn't the first time we've lost touch. After being a bridesmaid in my wedding, we didn't speak again for nearly two years. I don't really know what that was about either and once we were on track I didn't bother looking back. Now I wonder if there is a pattern to be recognized here and whether I need to look no further than a mirror to see the problem. Clearly, it must be me. As my friend Mia said the other day, "We must have royally pissed her off not to be invited to her wedding." Did we?

Being a bride is one of the most overwhelming, stressful events in life...hands down. The planning, organizing, financing, and pleasing that goes on is unbelievable. A bride should get to do whatever she wants with no explanations necessary. If Kathy doesn't want to have us at her wedding, she shouldn't feel badly about it. It's her day and I wish her and Ken all the happiness in the world. I really and truly do. Regardless of whether or not we ever speak again, I want her to find happiness and peace in her life. I want that for all of my friends.

Now when I look at the pictures from my wedding, I see a happy, smiling person who I don't know anymore. I may never have really known her at all.

Monday, October 09, 2006

To Be a Vegeterian

I wish I had the will power to be a vegeterian. I wish I could be enthusiastic about meat alternatives. I just finished reading a book called Chew On This and I am just horrified. It's not just the fast food industry, but rather what the industry has done to modern culture. The creation of the McWorld - the identical communities, stores, clothes, food, etc. from place to place has done us all in.

I am getting ready to eat lunch and I cannot figure out the least offensive thing to eat. Does a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sound cruel and unusual? I don't know the treatment of workers in peanut butter factories or jelly plants or what the conditions are in the bread factory. Suffice to say, the ingredients probably didn't suffer in the same way that the pig in last night's pork roast did. And now I feel bad about that too.

If I don't want to go vegan - what can I do? Is shopping organic or kosher different than traditional? Do the animals have nicer lives before they are slaughtered? Does someone kill them kindly?

Whole Foods recently announced that they were removing lobsters from their stores around the country. It was too depressing for customers to see them in the tanks in such substandard conditions. Ironically, no one worries about the stuff over in the meat case that has already been separated and packaged. If we don't have to look at it, we don't have to think about it. Out of site, out of mind.

Last week I learned a very easy, quick and healthy meal. Salmon, seasoned and broiled for 15 minutes, couscous cooked on the stovetop for about five minutes and string beans microwave steamed in the bag. Delicious. But, no one talked about the poor salmon. Did he know his fate when he woke up that morning? Jesus served fish in the Bible - does that make it appropriate? In many countries, different animals are worshipped and protected. In modern societies, it seems to be more of a free for all.

I aspire to have the will power to eat better. I desire to learn ways to provide healthy sustenance to my family that doesn't hurt anyone - human workers or animals. I just don't know where to go next.