What better way to start my first blog post than the week that I sign the lease on my gorgeous new Southern California home! Also, it happens to be Josh’s birthday!
I wanted to do something healthy and life changing for Josh’s birthday, so we started with Shojin: Organic and Natural Sushi! Their menu is absolutely mouth watering and getting in there is like a kid in a candy store for me! After showing him the menu, he was psyched on it, and I made a reservation for 12 pm! They are meat free, fish free, gluten free and macrobiotic!
Our first order of business on Josh’s birthday was heading to the Self-Realization Temple in Hollywood. We wanted to see a few other things in the neighborhood, but the kindness of the temple-goers persuaded us to stay for the 11 a.m. lecture on What is the Soul? Everyone knew that we were new and we felt so absolutely welcome! We entered the temple and everyone was in a state of meditation, so we took our seats and sat and meditated too. It was extremely relaxing and the energy was palpable. I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually sat alone in a room full of people who were all completely silent before, unabashedly in their own heads and there to figure out not only their lives, but how to treat other’s better. My only experience is with Catholic Church, and, while also peaceful, this certainly was not that!
What I liked a lot about the service was how inclusive it was: the temple has paintings of 6 or so gurus on the wall: including Jesus Christ, Krishna, and Yogananda (guruji) himself, and they include them all in all of their prayers. And Brother’s lecture was really demonstrative: he used a blender to demonstrate the different “states” that we allow it to be inside of our heads. What I think was most important was that he reaffirmed one of my favorite statements:
You ARE a soul.
You HAVE a body.
It’s one of the mantras that I tell myself quite often and it’s really helped me to gain perspective and understand things when they get rough or I am in tremendous pain. Brother used an example of losing an arm, and not ever ascribing to the idea that you have LOST an arm, because you are not your body, and carrying the idea of being unhealthy into death is bad karma for the next life. I’m not sure how I feel quite yet about reincarnation, but I like that idea. Whenever I am in a lot of pain or incredibly nauseous, it helps a lot to tell myself that the sickness is a temporary state and that I am capable of tremendous things outside of it.
After the service we drove about 5 miles to Shojin for vegan lunch! We started out with a bottle of Sparkly Mio Sake, which tasted like candy! It was really refreshing and a great lunch drink!
For appetizers we ordered
Spicy Rock Shitake Tempura and Pumpkin Croquette
The texture of the Pumpkin Croquette was delightful, and it tasted just squashy enough! The Spicy Rock Shittake wasn’t powerfully spicy and the texture was AMAZING – very smooth versus the normal slimy that you find with mushroom meals. I was happy with the choices.
For the main meal, I got Pirates of the Crunchy, which is, absolutely hands down, the BEST sushi I have EVER had. I can say that without any reservation at all. I literally did not finish it in order to take 3 home to eat later. And there was plenty to share! Once again – I can’t say enough about the texture. The sushi is fish free (and therefore – for me – guilt free), and what they have done with the veggies must be beheld to be believed!
We ended with Nutty Chocolate cake and Ice Cream Trio: Delightful! I felt full after the meal but not bloated, and had a ton of energy. The staff was attentive and they gave us a framed photo that they took of us not 15 minutes after they took it, and gave Josh a copy of their local CD for his birthday! So sweet!!
The most incredible thing was that during the meal we took out some of the lecture papers we had received at the temple, and the table across from us turned around and said they recognized us from the temple service, and invited us to the Youth Group on the first of every month! The odds that they would be at that restaurant, 5 or so miles from where we began, and recognized us, and felt comfortable saying so!! Just lovely! We struck up a marvelous conversation that really solidified a lot for us, and when the bill came they had picked up the tab for Josh’s birthday cake. 🙂 I can’t even express how beautiful it is when “coincidences” like that happen. It’s what keeps me out and going and friendly and open minded and re-affirms everything we’ve spent 11 and a half months working towards!
Speaking of happy accidents, finding this House was a blessing. I cannot express enough how happy I am that all the hard work of the past year has paid off in this gorgeous, private, perfect space that has opened up all the doors to my life. And Happy Accident of the week: the bathroom at the House has a water leak, so the contractors have to take out the entire wall! It was a roman style tub before, but it didn’t fill up all the way (as in, I’d get a full bath but half of it would be cold) so the landlord offered to build me a tub (no charge: blessing #1). I agreed, and when this leak happened, he ripped out the wall and got NYC Subway Style White Ceramic tiles: PERFECT for shooting!! I couldn’t ASK for anything better! I literally squealed when I saw them! I can see the light reflections now!! 🙂
It’s been a gorgeous transition. I am paid up at the studio right now as well until the end of the month, so I can slowly but surely move all my things in from now until November 1st. The costs of paying for the studio, first month’s rent, pet deposit, and security deposit, plus Josh’s birthday has made this one of the tightest months financially since the month I moved. But it feels SO good to be temporarily broke for ALL the right reasons. I have finally made money and put it towards something that will forever change my life and lead to my continued happiness. I had absolutely no idea that it felt so good. 🙂 I have seen many miracles take place in the past year of my life, and I know that there are infinite more to come. The power of belief is no secret, but I suppose it takes a heart to believe in it that I’m not positive I had. THIS is the pursuit of happiness everyone was talking about!