Meringue Pie and Ugly Tomatoes – The Power of Looking Within


Our relationship to food and our body is a rather complex one, layered like the proverbial onion, and concealed from what lies beneath like a mountain of meringue on lemon meringue pie. Naturally, I don’t profess to have it all figured out. It’s complicated (and I’ll tell you more about that later…). But I do know that nothing is as it seems. It turns out most of us have been living our whole lives following the wrong teacher. So it can come as quite a shock to learn that most of what we’ve been taught…just isn’t true! How can it be when its modus operandi is fear, often disguised as something else (another proverbial) a wolf in sheep’s clothing – so it’s not always easy to detect. Most people still get conned by it. That’s how sneaky this sleazy sheep really is!

Deep down we all know there’s something fishy going on, but we don’t want to be the one shouting, “The emperor has no clothes!”. It takes the eyes of innocence to do that.

Instead, we wear a mask, many actually, convinced as we change roles and masks, that this is just the way things are. Showing anyone, including ourselves, what’s behind the mask, what’s really on our mind buried under clouds of meringue, is just too scary. If you’ve ever spent a chunk of time watching your thoughts, you’d be amazed at the stuff you think, that you don’t know you think!

Not that a thought has the power to bring you down, but a thought, thought, again and again, becomes a belief, and those can do some serious damage if they go on undetected. Usually, it’s not until things in our life begin to fall apart that we’re finally willing, really willing, to look within.

Until then, until we get a wake-up call, we’re happy to wear our masks, afraid if we look too deeply within we’ll find ourselves seriously lacking. We’re so convinced we’re not good enough – even if we’ve achieved great success – that we dare not dig through mere clouds of meringue, so certain we’ll find mud. Now, if you’re ever bitten into a delicious piece of lemon meringue pie, you’ll know it never fails to awaken your senses with its  perfect balance of tart and sweet that so innocently seduces you in sweet surrender.

Food makes a wonderful muse. I once wrote a story about the ugly tomato…you know those tomatoes with the odd shapes and forms that look nothing like the perfectly round unblemished tomatoes that get all the attention. Yet, anyone who knows and loves tomatoes knows it’s the misshaped ones, the ones that get hidden in a basket instead of getting their own display at the local supermarket, that taste the best! And those who hunt for them are willing to pay a premium for them…worts and all!

Heirloom Tomatoes

Ugly tomatoes are like the people I like best. These are the people that are so willing to show their warts, that they inspire the rest of us who don’t even want to go out of our house on a bad hair day! They demonstrate the courage we lost one day on the playground when we were provoked by the class bully. They’re not afraid to act differently from others. They know they march to a different drummer and wouldn’t want it any other way. They’ve hurt so bad, they know first hand the power of forgiveness and so they’re not afraid to love.

I didn’t fully embrace the gifts of being an ugly tomato until I was broken open one day. It was shortly after I got married to an old love who miraculously came back into my life after my husband and children’s father died. I had very different expectations of how things would be and…lets just say they were not that. I was about 38 years old and for the first time in my life, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I had everything figured out all wrong. I began to question my judgement, my faith, and just about every belief I had. I didn’t know then that this, being broken, questioning my beliefs, was a good thing. In my mind, I was Humpty Dumpty who had just fallen off the wall that was built with everything she believed in, and now she (and her beliefs) lay broken into a million pieces on the hard ground. I can be quite dramatic when I’m down.

I’ve been broken open many times since, but that time is pivotal in my memory and storyline. Since then I’ve learned not to pay any mind to anything it may think while shattered. All of our insanity comes spilling out, regurgitating nonsense embedded in our DNA from generations of shattering. And if I could remember this when in the midst of a melt-down…I’d cheer it on! I’d get up and do a happy dance. I wouldn’t be shattered longer than a moment because I’d know that something big and good would come out of this.

Now I know that my insanity, your insanity, our collective insanity is merely fear talking. He’s the monster under the bed, the “powerful” oz behind the curtain, the voice in the head that says we’re not good enough; the trickster pretending to be us! Wouldn’t you want this heist broken open? I do. The only reason it’s painful is because we resist him…just like we did the bully in the playground.

“You can’t engage crazy.” I heard a wise man once say. Surrender without a fight and watch how the shattered pieces of our lives get put back in the most perfect and miraculous ways.

Blessings, Silvia

Would love to hear your thoughts!


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:



What’s All the Fuss About?

Credit Frederik Van den Stock

I think we make way too much fuss about what we eat or don’t eat. We give it the power to affect our lives, and so it does. And when it does, it becomes “evidence” that what we eat is really important if we want to live a healthy, vibrant life. “Of course, it’s important!” you may be yelling back as you read this, probably thinking I’ve lost my rational mind. Maybe that’s true in a way, but I ask you to hear me out.

All I’m really saying is this…that we eat with our mind. We all have very strong beliefs around food and what it does to our body and strong emotions about what’s good and bad, right and wrong to eat.

I’ve seen fights break out on Facebook between strangers on what cooking oil should or shouldn’t be used, or the evils of cheese and dairy – not to mention the horrors of eating meat! At first, I tried to defend myself on the harmlessness of a dusting of parmesan on my beautifully baked sweet potato fries recipe, photographed and written for a major wellness blog and shared over 40 thousand times. One mean, disrespectful comment amongst hundreds and I felt the need to defend myself. That did not turn out well.

We are so invested in being right that our nasty comes out. We’re so convinced that something is true, that we’ve convinced ourselves we have to eat – or can’t eat – a certain way. We’ve become so afraid of our food that we’ve become allergic to it. We eat on the run or with a side of stress for most meals and no amount of green juice or kale is going to remedy the toxicity in anger, attack, anxiety, judgment and guilt.

You’ll never convince another to move to your side of the battle line if they think differently. You just dig yourself a deeper hole where stress lives and thrives. I don’t care anymore what others choose to eat. That’s their business. I’m too busy enjoying whatever it is I’m eating. But I listen to what people are saying about food all the time. It’s quite a hot topic and we’ve had many heated discussions. Our thoughts and feelings about food get ingested and become hardened every time we think and talk about all the food that’s bad for us; all the food we love and can’t eat; all the ways we’ve disappointed ourselves and felt guilty because we dared to eat a sandwich when we were determined to stay away from carbs. It’s as if our thoughts and beliefs got heated up and hardened like crusted bits on the bottom of the skillet, refusing to be lifted up even with a splash of spirit. And though we have other pristine pans we could use, we only use this well-worn one. We’ve got to begin to loosen from the beliefs we hold if we want to heal.

We’ve all heard people say things like, “I just look at cake and I gain weight.” Guess what they’re right, they do gain weight, even when they’re just thinking about cake. What really stinks is that with this belief, they don’t even get to enjoy the cake!

We’ve built ourselves a stringent cell in which we can move about, eating from a meager table, all the while looking at images of a food obsessed society that come at us online and offline with frightening speed and regularity. How did it come to this? I’m not about to explore that minefield, not because I wouldn’t find it interesting, but because how we got here doesn’t matter. Discussing it, debating it (even friendly like) just keeps us digging a bigger hole.

Up until a few years ago, I was digging that hole right along with you. I’d argue and defend my case to anyone who would listen. Not that I got on my soapbox or anything (or maybe I did sometimes) but I was just as passionate about food as any of my foodie friends and we talked about it a lot. The exchange of ideas for new dishes or uses for ingredients were always fun. But we were just as caught up in the media hype for the latest superfood, healthy diet, nutritional study and reports warning us of food products to avoid.

For a while, I thought gluten was the enemy. I looked for signs of its presence and of course, I found it. I found it in the belly bloat I saw spilling over my jeans every time I ate a dish of my beloved pasta. Having found it, I now had to fix it. I avoided gluten for a few weeks and was miserable. To make things worse I beat up on myself for my lack of willpower. Why couldn’t I be happy eating brown rice spaghetti that broke in a million pieces and left behind a cloudy mess of sticky water that I couldn’t even use to enhance the splendid sauce I made to toss the mess in?

To add insult to injury…the pasta tasted so much like cardboard, that even my splendid sauce couldn’t fix it. I vowed to never again waste a delicious sauce on inferior pasta. I struggled with my discomfort with gluten and guilt on and off for a number of years until about two years ago when I immersed myself once again into the teachings of A Course in Miracles.

Once again I was reminded that food, like anything and everything else in our physical world is neutral. There are no exceptions. We give everything all the meaning it holds for us. We define the terms and rules of the game. We set it up. Waking up is nothing more than realizing we are the writers of our life story; the good, the bad and the ugly. We can’t always control what the characters in our story do or the outcome of their choices, but we can control our choices. As any writer knows, the characters and, therefore, the story takes on a life of its own and unfolds organically if it’s to be a good, honest tale that sucks us in.

Life is no different.

It sucks us into its stories and keeps us so busy and distracted by its compelling dramas that we forget…it’s just a story. Step back from it. Slow down from it. Stop being scared of it and listen. Relax, nothing is going to hurt you. In this moment, reading these words, nothing is going to hurt you so relax!!

The problem with every problem is that WE get involved. If we didn’t involve ourselves with fixing the problem, the story could move on with no resistance and unfold perfectly. “And they lived happily ever after”. That would be the ending of every story known to man. But that would make for very boring stories, wouldn’t it?

I know most of us were taught that being a responsible adult means taking care of what needs taking care of. And they’re right. We are responsible for our life. However, most of us were also taught that it’s a cruel cruel world out there.  We’re taught to prepare ourselves against disaster with a good education or marketable skills; to persevere, work hard, push through; to watch out for all the bad things that could happen to you and your family; to take out insurance for all the bad things that are sure to happen, especially after a certain age. And then you die.

I think that’s a boring story. Aren’t we tired of this story yet? It’s been told since the beginning of time and will continue to be told unless we wake up to the fact that’s it’s all a story. Relax. It’s just a story. If you don’t like how it’s unfolding, go have a chat with its author. Ask yourself if you like writing a horror story of a hostile world where we need to protect ourselves from any number of threats lurking around corners and under beds or in closets.We all grow up with some version of monsters in the dark. Mine were under the bed and I was too scared to face them and see that there wasn’t anyone or anything there.

Aren’t we tired of this story yet? It’s been told since the beginning of time and will continue to be told unless we wake up to the fact that’s it’s all a story. Relax. It’s just a story. If you don’t like how it’s unfolding, go have a chat with its author. Ask yourself if you like writing a horror story of a hostile world where we need to protect ourselves from any number of threats lurking around corners and under beds or in closets.We all grow up with some version of monsters in the dark. Mine were under the bed and I was too scared to face them and see that there wasn’t anyone or anything there.

One day shortly after talking to a friend about these “monsters”, I went to a business appointment in a boutique hotel. I got into the elevator and noticed that it was faux painted with hundreds of books. I reached to press the floor and my eye went directly to a book. The title was, “Look Under the Bed”! Guidance does often come with a terrific sense of humor!

But there’s other stories besides horror, murder, and mayhem we can write – a romantic comedy perhaps where the characters get into all kinds of delightful, fun, happy messes that always turn out just fine and never in the ways one would suspect. These stories would still have me sitting at the edge of my seat watching for all the brilliant and miraculous ways problems get solved, even before they have the mobility to be problems. How clever, how enchanting, how creative we’d say. Not boring at all.

And so it is with our food stories. Bring any problem to the author. Deal with it there. Heal the storyteller by offering all of our upsets, snafus and misperceptions to our holy editor who will delete them and rework the story into something that does works. You’re given instructions from this healed place as to what to do, where to go…and what to eat…along with helpful instructions, custom made for you, exactly for where you are in the storyline. You don’t have to worry at all.

And so it was that I went back to my beloved pasta, white flour and all, free from worry, filled with the pleasure of it. Loving that it’s a perfect compliment to my simple sautéed sauces made with the freshest ingredients, cooked gently and perfectly in all their divine splendor and eaten without guilt with immense pleasure and gratitude. And so it does no harm but nourishes me perfectly!

Image credit:  Frederik Van den Stock

A Day I Chose Again


On an uncharacteristically warm and sunny day in early November, I took a walk on the winding, hilly lanes in the beautiful lake community in New England where I live. I ended up at the beach where the long line of boats is now out of the water; the docks disassembled and brought to shore tied securely to land, ready for the long winter ahead. But the Adirondack chairs were still out and so I rested a while, with my face in the sun.

I felt blessed that on a Monday morning I didn’t have to rush off to work somewhere and instead I could be here on a deserted beach, reaching into my mind and heart to connect with the Source within and notice that in spite of the gratitude I felt so strongly, there was a restlessness this day that disturbed the sense of peace I’ve come to see as the barometer of my life.

With eyes closed, my head resting on the top of the chair, I met myself in my sacred space, under a big oak tree facing Jesus – my favorite go-to guide – who always waits for me sitting cross-legged on the ground. He knew I spent the morning feeling uninspired, not able to lose myself in some project or another and feeling that my inactivity and lack of focus was a problem instead of what simply was.

He knew I was no longer interested in doing anything that didn’t come from an inspired place; that I wanted to be done through – not done by. He knew that what I did or didn’t do, didn’t really matter…only that it called to my heart…for then, it would also bring me and others joy.

The restlessness I felt alerted me that something was off…and so I asked for help.

I was told that most of us fill our lives with a busyness that modern life demands; that uses these distractions to suck us in, sometimes for months, years, or even a lifetime. Decades go by and we find we’ve done nothing significant despite any worldly success we may have achieved; nothing that helps lift the veil of forgetting and brings light into this human experience we all share.

I was told that whatever I perceived as being not right; whatever I judged as shouldn’t be happening or should be happening, slowed down the process of the clearing that was necessary in order to be done through.

I was being escorted off the fast-moving  train, but I kept grasping the open doors, refusing to let go. I was refusing to let go because I was afraid of falling – or failing – as it sped through the landscape of my life.

Ahhh,  another layer of resistance revealed as I struggled to surrender once again to the calling of life. Foolish I know, for life will have its way with me.  Do I go willingly, gracefully, knowing that ultimately, only good happens? Do I trust the process of life and surrender into the Divinity of it all; the Divinity that I am?  Or do I fall back to the familiar, the logical, the safe ways of yesterday and give way to my fears?

That warm day in November I decided, not from a speeding train, but from the sweet solitude of a sun-streaked beach, in calm surrender, to once again turn to my noble companion under the big oak tree and in the turning…I chose again.

Blessings Silvia