Dharmist in Progress

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." ~ Einstein

Aren’t You Worried About Protein?

I am so tired of this question.  For reals.

If my parents and friends seriously think that I need to eat nothing but pizza and macaroni so that I get enough protein, I really think they need to rethink that.

Here‘s a great article from one of my very favorite websites, Herbivoracious.

An exerpt:

I think on some level this question is symptomatic of the larger issue of nutritionism – the idea that we need to have a scientific understanding of every calorie, every gram of fat, carbohydrate and protein, mineral and vitamin that goes into our body. I’m not saying there is no value in a basic understanding of what science and medicine have learned about food. But hominids have managed to eat just fine for millions of years by paying attention to what their bodies wanted. There probably isn’t a need to make it much more complicated than that, except to avoid eating too much junk food that has been engineered to trick and subvert your body’s basic sense of what is good to eat. You don’t have to have lived many decades to notice that nutritional advice changes constantly anyhow.

So, allow the vegetarians in your life to eat what they want.  Unless, of course, that’s solely macaroni and pizza.



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Finding my Path?

Okay, so I know it’s pretty hit or miss how many or few of you are actually Hindu.

But, in case anyone who reads this does tread this path, I need help.

I’ve lost my way.

I’m still a vegetarian, and more and more a pacifist, but that’s it.

I’m not meditating or reading, or anything else.  I know that basically the entire point is that I make my own path, but I could really use a map or a street sign.

I’ve wandered off into the hardships of a full time job and everyday stress, and lost my spiritual way.

Any advice?


Project Conversion Book Out…and FREE!

So, if you follow my blog, you should know about Project Conversion.  Andrew inspired me to seek my own path, and I have his site listed on the sidebar —–>

Anywho, he wrote a book about his incredible spiritual journey!

Buy it for $14.99 here at Amazon


Download the Kindle version here for free until Midnight Eastern Time, February 6th!  You may or may not be able to convert Kindle books to other formats, I really wouldn’t know, as a Nook owner, so you should do some research or something.  Ahem.

So yeah, huge inspiration, buy his book.


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Tomorrow, I’ll Draw You a Picture

I work as an assistant teacher in a child care facility.  I tend to float around to different classrooms, and this week, I’ve gotten to work with the four year olds for the first time.

These kids are pretty much the opposite of my usual babies.  But there’s something that has really struck me.

The kids draw everyone pictures.

They don’t even think about it.  It’s a crucial part in their little four year old lives.  Eat, play, sleep, draw people pictures…no big deal.

As a former photography student, and a hobby/semi-pro artist on several fronts, this holds a lot of meaning to me.

Art is literally a piece of your soul, and these children are writing their sweet little names on these soul-pieces and giving them away with a smile and no second thought.

What would the world be like if we all handed out pieces of our souls to anyone who was so much as nice to us?

I will strive to be more like a four year old.




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500,000 for a National Day of Pluralism

The United States was founded by people attempting to escape religious persecution.  Here’s Andrew Bowen‘s opinion on the matter:

E Pluribus Unum, though never codified by law, was the de facto motto for the United States until 1956 when Congress adopted “In God We Trust,” as the nation’s official motto. Although many in the United States indeed trust in God, it is clear that not everyone in fact believes in a divine personage and certainly not in the same manner. This divergence in belief and conviction grows more evident in our modern theater of existence on the national stage as members of various theistic and non-theistic groups create greater friction between one another every day.

I believe a National Day of Pluralism, by espousing the ideals of the nation’s original motto, would help American’s remember the multifaceted reality of these United States by encouraging citizens to participate in a day of pluralistic observation. Just as Memorial Day enjoins us to honor those who have offered the ultimate sacrifice for our collective freedom and security, a National Day of Pluralism would remind us of one of the most endearing features of our nation: That we are indeed one people out of many nationalities, ethnicity, race, cultures, philosophies, and yes, even religions.

Recognizing the duty and blessing of coexistence can only manifest with knowledge and acceptance of the various belief systems of our neighbors. A National Day of Pluralism would encourage citizens to meet their theological/philosophical neighbor on their own ground, learn from one another, and share in the unique qualities and ideals that make the United States a variable tapestry of many threads creating one piece of wondrous art.

In this light of understanding, we come to recognize the humanity beneath the skin of our faiths and philosophies. By eliminating the blight of ignorance and intolerance which currently mires our nation with divisive conflict, we can come together on one day, a National Day of Pluralism, and introduce a common goal to coexist and believe responsibly.

Like the Facebook page 500,000 for a National Day of Pluralism and sign the petition!

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Feature in Project Conversion


I don’t have much to speak about today (so far), but I did want to share Andrew Bowen’s post in Project Conversion today.  It is about our contact a few days ago, and how it has impacted both of our lives.

Here it is: How Project Conversion Email Reaffirms My Purpose in Life


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On Eggs, and Breaking the Rules

Yesterday I ate a fried egg.  Nothing fancy, just a touch of canola oil, pepper, and seasoned salt.  Done.  I had gotten some extra protein in without eating meat…..

But, wait a second.  Vegans think of eggs as meat, don’t they?  What about Hindus?  Did I just break a rule?  Am I going to Hell?

I composed myself, and tried to think rationally.  No, I’m not going to Christian Hell.  I might just end up being a chicken in my next life.  But is that even true?

I Googled Hindu beliefs on eating eggs.  None of the posts contained the same information.  It ranged from eggs being impure, to eggs being meat, to “WELL, I’M A HINDU AND EAT WHAT I WANT.  YOU PEOPLE ARE DUMB.”  Obviously, I paraphrased.

That little egg, that was never meant to be fertilized, taught me a valuable lesson.  A lesson that it will take me a very long time to fully understand.

One of my mentors, Niki Whiting of My Own Ashram, told me this:

There is no Right Way. Let that go right now, as that is a very Christian way of thinking and gets in the way of devotion and unfolding.

And she was absolutely right.  I grew up hearing “do this, don’t do that,” to the point that it is seared into my brain.  It’s incredibly hard for me to grasp that there are no real rules in Hinduism.  Whatever you do is your business, and your karma.  If you want to eat beef, you go right ahead, but you may be a cow in the next life.

You choose your own path, your own life, your own destiny.  It makes me feel so free, and yet so confused.  How can people really be so nice, and not judge you?  Judging is America’s favorite pastime, it seems, and yet there are people who are truly compassionate in the world.

So what do we do to the compassionate people?  Judge them more.  Make their religion the subject of many jokes, jokes that are somehow still deemed “okay for TV,” despite their racial and religious connotations.

This world is filled with so much hate.  It’s up to us to spread love, and try to put out the fires.


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Once upon a Time…

(part 2.  See part 1 here)

A few weeks ago, I decided to do some yoga.  I have Fibromyalgia, and I’m trying to become more active to help with my pain, so yoga seemed like a good place to start.  It’s light, it’s healthy, and I can stop if I hurt.  Good plan.

I put in the DVD, and was immediately met by a cheesy early ’90s introduction.  I grabbed the case and checked the date.  1990.  My yoga DVD is older than I am.  Roll my eyes, roll out my mat, let’s do this.

The woman in the DVD stood with her feet together and there was a gap of several inches between her legs.  I looked down at my own thighs squeezing against one another.  Sigh.

As I was doing the poses, the woman was talking about the spiritual parts of yoga.  Nothing too drastic that would scare people off, just little things about being in touch with your body and the world around you.  My throat felt tight.

I assumed my asthma was acting up, and stood to get my inhaler.  I began sobbing.

Sobbing?! Why am I crying?

I haven’t touched my yoga DVD since this experience.  I found it confusing, and a bit frightening.  It took several weeks for me to realize that I’m not crazy, and something really did happen while I was doing yoga.  I had a spiritual experience.

I sang in the choir in college.  I’ve been to what seems like dozens of different churches.  But never, ever, had I felt something like that.  The Holy Spirit?  Never.  But this?  This was real.  I had felt something.

It was somewhere in this period that I found Project Conversion.  As I read about Andrew’s experiences, I saw that he understood.  He understood what I believe.  I had never met him, he didn’t know I exist, but he understood.  How was this possible?  And that was when I read it.

There are literally thousands of representations of the divine, each for one or more of its aspects. This is why figures like Jesus, the Buddha, and Krishna are all acceptable as projections of the divine within Hinduism. Each are a way to Truth. When I began this month, I clearly thought that Hinduism was a polytheistic faith due to these various representations. Now I know that, depending on which school of thought a Hindu belongs to, they are either monotheists (God exists as a part of and/or outside of creation and selects manifestations) or monist (the divine is manifest in all of creation).

“Holy !@#$,” I thought to myself, “I’m a Hindu.”

Those words.  Those utterly terrifying words.  Christianity never felt right to me, because I’m not a Christian. I am not a Christian.

What does a nice, southern, Christian girl do when she realizes she isn’t Christian?  Panic and mope around for a few days.  But then I caved.  I couldn’t deny the longing in my heart.  I had to follow it.  So I texted a friend of mine, and asked her how to safely become a flexitarian (someone who rarely eats meat, but hasn’t cut it out entirely).  Even though I really don’t want meat right now, doesn’t mean I’ll be able to resist a bacon cheeseburger down the road.

Not knowing where to start, I took a risk.  I emailed Andrew Bowen.  He inspired this change in my life, so I thought that maybe he could help.  And he did.  I never expected him to answer (I have low self esteem, it’s just how I think), but he did, and it was wonderful.

He’s put me in contact with another wonderful, helpful person, and I’ve begun my journey.  However, there is a storm on the horizon.

I’m from a pretty conservative family, as far as beliefs go (not politically.  just thought I’d clarify).  To avoid being disowned or starting some sort of feud, I’ve decided not to tell most of my family, including my own mother.  Eventually, yes, I will come out about it, but I’d like for that to at least be sometime after my wedding.  My wedding will be another blog post.  Whew.

So I’m going through the biggest, most unexpected change that I’ve ever experienced, and most of my support system is null and void. For those friends that I can share this with, I am ever so grateful.  For those people who have stumbled upon this, thank you for reading.

I am terrified, and so excited, and I see a long, winding road ahead of me (not the one that the Beatles sang about, though, I think that one leads to Yoko Ono).


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