A Bit of India in Pittsburgh s Back Yard?

During an intense personal journey in recent years, I ve discovered that the more I m able to know my true self, the more my perception of the world changes. As a result, my surroundings have changed as well ?people, places, directions. At one point, internal and external changes happened so rapidly, it was difficult to fully process anything; I felt overwhelmed.

Amid urges to explore so many new directions, all at the same time, it became impossible to focus. My initial instinct was to flee to India, where I could peacefully stay at an ashram and process all that was transpiring in my mind. Although circumstances kept me from traveling abroad, I knew I needed to simplify. That s when I remembered an old issue of Point of Light I d kept. I dug it out and quickly flipped through the pages? There it was: Peaceful Valley Ashram & Retreat, located just north of Pittsburgh!

Over the weekend, we visited the spectacular Oregon Country Fair in Eugene and, once again, experienced a joyful and overwhelming sense of recognition that we're living in a place where people are much more accustomed to just being themselves.

Personal expression and nonconformity are so valued here that one becomes quickly enamored of the whole ambiance, which could well explain why more people come to Oregon than leave. The region seems to represent, to many, a chance to finally discover and explore an identity perhaps not completely free from outside influence, but at least free from the undesirable influences that society elsewhere seems to insist upon. Or maybe I'm misreading it all and providing just one of many interpretations.

Ahh, yes... Ginkgo Biloba. What a distinctive tree, don't you think? So easy to identify, and so many reported health benefits. This one belongs to a neighbor that seems to have an affinity with Asian landscaping motifs. They also have gorgeous bamboo growing in their yard, and other Asian elements. I would have liked to have harvested some leaves to dry for some Ginkgo tea, but the owner wasn't around to ask. Perhaps some other time.

We're into soft foods and treats these days, because Jim recently had a wisdom tooth extracted (KDcat insists he is less wise for having done so). We've been having a lot of fruit smoothies! I made a big mistake and created a smoothie with a grapefruit for the juicy part (I normally only use oranges). I don't care for grapefruit, because the bitter part just isn't appealing to me. However, I thought for sure that bananas and frozen berries would override the bitter taste of the grapefruit. It didn't, so I added some agave to the mixture and blended it again. Nope--still bitter. So, I asked Jim to taste it (he LOVES grapefruit) and he thought it was fantastic. He consumed the entire pitcher of the bitter concoction.

This isn't one of our normal blog posts. It's more of a journal entry, than anything else.

You see, I'm a bit sad today. The Raw Spirit Festival in Santa Barbara, CA, started today and I'm not there. We've been working really hard on many raw food projects, trying to sell our home, etc. So, spending the time and money to travel to the other side of the country for a weekend event just didn't seem like a good idea.I don't think we made the wrong decision, but I do admit I was hoping that somehow the Universe would conspire in some magical way to arrange for me to attend the festival this weekend.

For those who have never been to a Raw Spirit Festival, you might wish that you could attend something so totally awesome---to be surrounded by raw foodies you've met online, to attend the various speeches and events at the festival, etc.---but you probably aren't feeling completely sad that you aren't there. To have attended a Raw Spirit Festival, had your entire life altered by the experience, and then to not attend the next one is almost heartbreakingly sad.

Welcome to Day One of "Dressings Week" here on Pure Jeevan. After finding out that KDcat took it upon herself to film a segment of "Makin' It Monday, Guest Raw Chef Edition," I decided that we should probably spend an entire *week* focusing on salad dressings.

So, we've been building up to something exciting all week long -- and here it is! As it turns out, Kevin Gianni is not only a "renegade health" expert, motivational speaker, and all-around great guy; he's also a singer/songwriter!? And he even has his own CD called "God Loves Guinea Pigs" (original songs and artwork by Kevin).

During the past few days, we shared some great interviews with Kevin. In addition to all of the material covered so far, both Jim and Wendi had asked Kevin some musical questions. So, we saved those parts of the interviews for today. Here are the bonus sections from those interviews, including the funny story about Kevin dropping his pants in public!

Hey, where the heck is Pure Jeevan this week ??? Sorry for the silence on our end; we're actually in Portland, Oregon, closing on our new digs -- the new HOME of Pure Jeevan!!! Exciting stuff, but we're SO busy that we may not be able to blog again until the week of June 7. But, we'll definitely return by then, and maybe even post a thing or two from here. It all depends on our internet situation. In any case, it's SO wonderful to be taking direct action on the future on Pure Jeevan. It's a huge leap of faith on our part, but it seems right by all accounts. So, see you soon when we return! -Jim & Wendi

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On May 28, 2010, Gopika wrote:

We're here to inspire you...that's our overall focus here at Pure Jeevan. So, when we ask you what you'd like us to do more of, less of, or to consider doing here on the blog ... we take your responses to heart. Of course, it's impossible to please every single person since we all have different personalities and needs. However, we'll always do our best to create a balance in order to inspire as many individuals as possible.

Below are suggestions for what some of you'd like to see happening here on the blog, along with some responses from us. If you have more suggestions, please send them our way anytime. We read everything that comes in and will always give your suggestions serious consideration.

Here's a video demonstrating a technique for making super-fast, vibrantly beautiful, tasty salads! If you frequently find yourself in a rush, but also want a healthy meal, definitely check out this mandoline technique. (Further commentary below, after the video...)

Last night I dreamed of meandering through an unfamiliar cityscape, following some lonely sidewalk next to a river at night, feeling particularly sad and miserable beneath dim yellow street lights. I wore a black suit, carried a highball glass, and was absolutely drunk!

Having crossed the river, I soon realized (even in my dream-drunken state) that I'd been wandering aimlessly. Feeling rather pathetic, I decided to walk back across the river and sober up in a casino that I knew was there. Drunk and depressed, I figured I'd just sit in front of a slot machine for a few hours.