More Dots and a Pot of Broth

A guy called Bill Harris, whose name probably means nothing to most of you, passed a couple of weeks ago from this world, where cancer exists, to the next, where it doesn’t.

I spent a weekend, years ago, in a workshop he was leading. I didn’t know him well. I might, at least back in the day, have been ok with that.

All of that aside, Bill Harris changed my life. And, just maybe, the lives of some of you who’ve known me a while.

You see, Bill Harris is the guy who taught me about filters and maps of reality and the ways people change.

He taught me some other stuff, too, but this, for me, is where it all comes together.

Bill made this chart that basically explained human perception — at least as much as we understand about it — and its relationship to the results we get in our lives.

I used to give my clients copies of the chart, with none of the words written in, and walk them through it so they could fill it in for themselves.

It has a lot to do with neurophysiology and quantum physics.

Here’s the link to Bill’s latest book, Thresholds of the Mind. It’s way worth the reading. The chart is in there and he explains it better than I do!

This is the short version.

There are 2 or 3 billion bits of information coming at us at all times.

On a good day, our brain can handle a couple of hundred in any given moment.

The way we survive is to establish a complex set of (mostly) unconsious filters to block out all the stuff we can’t manage.

What gets through the filters is, largely, what matches the map of reality we all have.

Which is a lot like seeing only what we expect to see.

That, combined with the choices we make and the context in which we exist, determines our experience of the world. The results we get in our lives.

And everybody we know is doing the same thing, all the time, and most of us have no idea it’s even happening.

This weekend is a good example of how it all works.

Ten lives were lost in a school shooting in Texas on Friday. Countless more were impacted in ways we can’t begin to know.

There’s been a wedding going on across the wee pond. A wedding that is, in many ways, groundbreaking.

The American political primary season is in full swing and many of us are wondering not only which candidates to support but what the odds are that our votes will be counted accurately and fairly.

And which of those things are getting through to us have a whole lot to do with our filters and our map of reality.

There’s no judgement here. Just hope.

I didn’t get up at 5 am to watch the wedding. I know a lot about weddings. And I was up late the night before making prayer dots on paintings for the victims in Texas, and for a very sick baby and his grandmother whom I adore.

Today, more dots and an enormous pot of turkey broth that will feed lots of people I care about and quite a few I don’t even know.

All the while hoping that the big wedding across the wee pond will somehow bring more tolerance and peace to a world that could use a whole lot more of both.

And a reminder that when we get conscious of some of those filters, and the fact that our maps of reality are maps and not concrete reality (Whatever that is!), things can, indeed, get different.

Bill Harris drew the chart.

The work is up to us.



My Favorite Kitchen “Gadget”

Last night, I dreamed about soup.

There’s a reason for that and we’ll get there in a few minutes. For this morning, though, I fixed my first cup of lemon tea and pulled a quart of mixed pork and chicken broth (Brodo misto, if you’re feeling Italian!) and a quart of “veggies and meat for soup” from the freezer for lunch.

This particular lunch plan, however, began somewhere “in the way back machine”.

Years and years ago, at an outlet mall in north Georgia, I bought a stock pot. A massive stock pot. Stainless steel. The gallons-upon-gallons size. Complete with a spigot at the bottom so you can drain the broth off  without having to lift the whole thing when it’s full.

It is, without a doubt, my most prized kitchen “gadget”. And it just got even better.

It seems my friend, who is recovering from a major brain aneurysm, needs soup.

Let the record show that I made a couple of  gallons while I was in Florida. Now, according to a phone call last evening, we need more.

I’m honored. And a little blown away.

I’ve been making soup for quite a while. Good soup that starts with really good bone broth. It’s an oddly creative process for me. Alchemical, even.

I love the scent of simmering broth in the house.

I love the process of honoring the beings who feed us by using all the random bits to make food for as many meals as possible.

And, in this moment, I have a sense of coming full circle. Of why I’ve been learning broth for so long.

Today, calls to local farmers and artisanal butchers.

Freezer inventory.

Farmers Market lists.

I have three varieties in mind.

We need a lot of healing.

Onions and garlic. A bunch of both. Fresh bay leaves and thyme. As many veg as possible.

Roast chicken carcasses, plus necks and feet and other healing parts.

Halibut broth imported from the west coast, because I’m still learning this one. Delicious and healing.

Years ago, I bought a magic wand in a mystical sort of store in Black Mountain, NC. It’s a useful coaching tool but it doesn’t seem to make soup.

Somehow, I never imagined that this would be my particular magic.

It seems to be me. A gift.

And yet, not just mine.

Each pot of my broth is midwifed by sustainable local farmers. People who believe we can feed ourselves and our neighbors, and support the planet.

I still remember the day I bought my first pasture raised local chicken, standing in a parking lot behind an anonymous sort of box truck, maybe 10 years or so ago. Complete with a hug from the farmer!

It was kind of a scrawny little thing…no growth hormones there!

And, compared to the supermarket variety, it was pretty expensive. I decided to see how far I could make that chicken go.

When I was growing up, a whole chicken was one meal for our family of four. Sadly, necks, hearts, gizzards, and most of the bones ended up in the trash.

My experimental farm chicken wound up being the protein in 13 entre’ servings of delicious, clean food before I decided it was ok to quit counting and just be amazed.

Most of that was possible because of a stock pot.

I was hooked!

I’ve had many teachers along the way. I’ve even become one of the teachers!

My third book, Let’s Boil Bones…Grammy’s guide to bone broth and other yummy things! is available in Kindle books, with the paperback due out this fall.

For today, a bowl of leftover soup. Broth. A bit of pulled pork from a local event. Good, southern-style green beans. Some cabbage and a few tiny Bunapi mushrooms. Roasted cauliflower saved from dinner last night. All served over a bowl of finely shredded romaine lettuce, which is a great way to add healthy bitter greens and texture to soup. (Arugula, collards, turnip greens, etc. all work, too.) Spritz with a bit of fresh lemon juice and finish with good sea salt as desired. A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes would not be amiss.

Love, hope, and healing in a bowl!









Here. Now. Actual change.

One of the things that never showed up in all my fantasies about being a “published author” was the part about (Dare I say it?) “marketing”! The visions in my head were all about tea in lovely china cups and cozy windowseats full of pillows or even, for you Betsy & Tacy fans, an old trunk that served as a great desk in the days when sitting on the floor was more of an option that it seems like after six knee surgeries!

Well, as the old saying goes, “Elvis isn’t cutting records anymore,” and if you want people to actually, you know, use what you write to make their corner of the world a bit better, marketing is involved! All of which led me to sign up for a webinar this week that simultaneously frustrated the be-jeebers out of me and gave me a cool new thought to contemplate. (Or at least a more immediate awareness of an old thought I’d encountered before!)

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Newfies Are Good At Helping!

Hi! It’s me, Sarah!!!

Mom’s doing that thing she calls writing again. It must be fun because she sure does a lot of it.

Sometimes I kind of wish she’d do a little less. She doesn’t really want to play football with me when she’s writing and she says, “Wait, please,” a lot. I know those words!

Right now she’s writing about soup. She says that’s why the house smells so good. I like soup. Sometimes she makes me some of my very own. It has things I’m not allergic to in it. (Whatever that means!) And it’s supposed to help my back and hips feel better. Mom said she’d even put the recipe for my soup in her book. Maybe I’ll be famous!

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Learning to Trust

It’s happening! My “soup book” is hatching!!!

Ok, I would have preferred that it hadn’t decided to hatch at 4:00 in the morning! And I have some other things on my list, just now. But there it was, just cracking open the shell in my brain, insisting that I get up and write down the key phrases that had come to me.

I’ve been writing for a pretty long time now and I’m learning to trust my process. Writing doesn’t seem to work for me like it does for lots of other authors. (At least not for most of  the ones who write books about writing!) I do write most days. Mostly by hand in a spiral bound artist’s sketch book with comforting, thick, heavy paper that takes the ink from my micropoint markers just right. Usually during my first morning cup or two of tea. (Which has recently become hot water with lemon!)

If you know about the book, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, you’re familiar with the notion of “morning pages.” Three pages, by hand. Every morning. Stream of consciousness. No editing as you go. Spelling doesn’t count! Just scribbling down what flows…

…I’m so sick of politics.  And i don’t like violence! Why are we all so afraid? I wish Tina were here!!! And Walter with his best question ever: “Whose voice is missing?” I need to call the Open Door and see if they need stock, or dinner for the resident community. I wonder what I did with Sarah’s number??? I’m feeling well enough that I think I can handle dinner plus some stock for the soup pantry, if somebody will help carry it. And I still need a recipe for “tomato forward” soup to put in the book! Wonder how I’m going to get it done in time if I can’t eat tomatoes for a few weeks!!! At least ours aren’t ripe yet….

Then there are the index cards. Lots and lots of them! A recipe here. A bit of narrative there. A note about where to look for something I need. (Almost SARK-like micromovements, really.)

I’ve been making soup for years. Specifically, bone broth. Several varieties. And veg stock for my veg and vegan friends. The odds are good that it heals my body. I know it heals my soul!

From another perspective, I’ve been testing recipes. And they’ve been ready to go for a while now. (Well, there are a couple of questions that still need answers, but mostly ready!) The task that remains is getting it all out. Making an intuitive process coherent so that other people can follow along.

That’s the part that hatched this week!

So, writing. Hours a day. Bits and pieces from my morning pages. Special secrets whispering reminders to me as I wander around the farmers’ market. Taking dictation, in a real sense, from the two million year old wise woman who lives in each of us. (Or wise man, if you prefer!)

My process used to make me anxious. It still makes some of the people who know me anxious! I’ve learned to trust what works for me.

This time it’s all wrapped up in the muscle memories of hands wrapped in gratitude around a steaming bowl of hope. Deep breaths scented with the abundance of the moment. A hint of magic in the world.

Perhaps I’m hatching, too!


Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach