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Highlights from a Live Class Weekend

Posted Jun 07 2009 12:00am
I'm a distance learning student at IIN which means that instead of attending class one weekend per month in NYC, the content is delivered to me online and via an ipod. I felt this option better suited my schedule.

But this weekend I switched it up a bit and was fortunate enough to be on location at the Lincoln Center where classes are held. The experience was exhilarating and inspiring - incomparable to anything I have ever done. Imagine something like a college lecture hall but instead of 1500 students wishing they were still home in bed at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, the energy buzzing in the room is more potent than your morning coffee. Everyone is passionate about being there -- many have traveled across the country to be in class -- and everyone is eager to change their lives and make a difference in their communities. There's clapping, cheering, dancing, music and most importantly, support .

The weekend was jam-packed with information, my favorite topics included creativity and factory farming.


Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way and The Writing Diet, is like a spunky, hip, hilarious grandmother (but younger in age and in spirit). I did my research on this accomplished poet, novelist, playwright, artist, composer and teacher and learned that she was once married to Martin Scorsese. She has a kind face and beautiful soul and drew me in with this poem.

Words For It
by Julia Cameron
I wish I could take language
And fold it like cool, moist rags.
I would lay words on your forehead.
I would wrap words on your wrists.
"There, there," my words would say–Or something better.
I would ask them to murmur,"Hush" and "Shh, shhh, it's all right.
"I would ask them to hold you all night.
I wish I could take language
And daub and soothe and cool
Where fever blisters and burns,
Where fever turns yourself against you.
I wish I could take language
And heal the words that were the wounds
You have no names for.

Ms. Cameron is known for her Morning Pages, a free-writing tool she has used daily for 45 years to prioritize her day. She says daily Morning Pages will help one start to fall in love with herself. I'm a big fan of journaling and I tried Morning Pages today. I'm hooked. Now if I can only wake up an hour earlier everyday!

Factory Farming and Agribusiness

"You determine the environment you will deal with," said fourth generation cattle rancher and farmer from Montana, Howard Lyman.

So he became vegan.

Lyman claims he was once the "Donald Trump of agriculture," but these days he's famous for turning Oprah away from beef. After his appearance on her show, the two were sued by the Texas Cattle Rancher's Association.

What is most convincing about Mr. Lyman is that he can attest first-hand to the unsustainability of chemically based agriculture methods in use today and the inhumane living conditions enudred by the animals we eat.

Food for Thought

When eating animal products consider ...
1. Sustainability
2. Cruelty to animals
3. Safety

Benefits of eating local ...
1. Fresher
2. Better taste
3. Nutrients are more alive
4. Supports the local community
5. Preserves open spaces
6. Reduces fossil fuel consumption

Join your local CSA! In NYC, go to to find yours.

Michael Pollan on food policy and school lunch programs:
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