You Have the Power to Cool the Planet

I was raised without religion.

Of course, this made me beg my mom to let me go to church with my friends.

She was wise to let me find my own answers.

Very early in my search, I could tell that the God they were talking about in Christian churches wasn't the God I felt a connection to.

I decided religion wasn't for me.

Instead, I started to pull together the threads of spiritual teachings that felt meaningful to me as I wove a fabric of my own.

A big part of that fabric became my vegan...

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How I Survived My Fear of Scuba Diving

Even though I’ve been challenging a fear of heights, the claustrophobia wasn’t one I was ready to address yet. Or so I thought.
 
During our family’s two-month adventure to SE Asia this winter, I faced this thing that has terrified me for as long as I can remember.
 
As close to a panic attack as I’ve ever been, I was ready to turn back. Not do it and leave that experience unlived. But I worked through it with the help of an amazing,...
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Sweaty palms and racing hearts...what happens for you when you’re afraid?

Every time I start to think about writing about this, my heartbeat races and I get that sick, nervous, weak sensation throughout my body. I’ve begun several times and had to stop. I’m even feeling it again right now.

I’m going to do my best to get some of it out anyway.

Somewhere along the way in my life, I developed claustrophobia. I’m not even sure when it happened. One day, it was just. There. So naturally, there’s no way in the world I’d ever want to go...

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What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say

Have you ever noticed that the modern world hasn't done a good job of equipping us to handle death, longterm illness, sadness, or grief very well? Most of us are unsure what to say or how to be around someone who's had a loss. Sometimes, avoidance is the standard response.
 
Ever the optimist, I believe we can do better. Tragically, we're not taught how to handle this; our parents don't likely know, so how could they have taught us? School often seems to skip over the...
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How to Raise the Love Vibration

A few years ago, Olivia and I created a game of "Spread the Love."

We look for people who may be having a tough day/moment, catch their eye, smile and say, "I love the way your ____ highlights your _____." or something like that. From their response, it seems like it can shift their whole day. 

Here's an example: Recently, I saw an elder woman with the most gorgeous blue eyes that were extra vibrant because of the reflection from the perfectly matched blue jacket she wore. I made...

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How to Be More Generous Without Getting Depleted

Today, I've got a (hopefully) inspiring and heartwarming story for you.
 
Early last week, I made a quick stop at the store to pick up a few things. On my way into the parking lot, I saw a couple of men (in their 50s or 60s) asking for donations next to the stop sign on the way out. It was dark and cold out but I kinda forgot about them while I was in the store.
 
Getting back to my car, I set the big bunch of organic bananas (and some household things) onto the...
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Why Not to Give Farmed Animals as Gifts

This year, our family has chosen to donate to others for the holidays in place of the usual gift-giving to each other. We've had the opportunity to support items to both animals and people affected by the Camp Fire, local organizations for families touched by domestic violence, and various online requests from friends requesting donations for organizations. In the past, I thought that donations were only valuable if they were large. I'm taking a new approach this year, and it...
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Serving up kindness along with your gratitude...

Your outpouring of love, comfort, and words that you found meaning in the very personal Love Letter I sent a couple weeks ago soothes my soul. Thank you. I'm sad that many of you share a similar pain. 

It's been a rough week here in California. My attention is extra close to home as Paradise is just 90 miles away. We've heard from friends and their families who have lost everything, many of whom barely escaped. There's no way to really know what that's like from...

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Remembering

 

Two months ago, my brilliant, big-hearted minister, Reverend Kevin Tarsa invited me to perform a dance to this song, "Sanctuary," by Carrie Newcomer, with an umbrella. He told me it would be part of our Unitarian Universalist October theme of Sanctuary. I hesitated. I couldn't exactly imagine how I'd do a dance with an umbrella. Not to mention that even though I teach Nia, my dancing is for me and not a performance art anymore (the last time I did that was decades ago when I was 15)....

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Quick Pickled Red Onions

Adding a pungent and tangy flavor dimension, these pickled onions are one of my favorite toppings for my DIY Salad Bar. So easy to make and even more amazing with vegan bacon bits!

Quick Pickled Red Onions
By Allison Rivers Samson 

Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced (try my easy DIY Salad Bar technique!)

Directions

  1. In a mason jar, combine vinegar, water,...
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