Thanks to A Very English Yogi for asking 11 questions as part of his Liebster Award nomination.
I’m grateful to learn that liebster, translated from German, means favorite or dearest or, in other cases, beloved.
1. Who has inspired you in your life – and why ? (3 inspirational people allowed here)
Mahatma Gandhi, because he taught me how to be an advocate for social justice, and how to seek lasting, positive change through peace.
John Grant, my paternal grandfather, who inspired me to strive, and taught me how to work for a common good. He also taught me how to fish. He was less successful at teaching me how to be quiet while sitting in a boat in the middle of a northern lake.
Like these two men, the selfless giving of my Mennonite friends has inspired community and public service, humble living, and unconditional love.
2. What is your all time favourite yoga posture/asana? If not yoga – in what position does your body feel most comfortable.
Any asana that I can manage. My body is most comfortable when it’s active — preferably in a kayak!
3. What are your 3 favourite films and why?
Amadeus, for the soaring songtrack and the juxtaposition of beauty and evil, genius and mediocrity, darkness and light, self-pity and jubilation.
Raise the Red Lantern, for the color and light and Gong Li.
Il Postino, for the romance of place, longing, and Pablo Neruda’s poetry.
4. What is your favourite smell or perfume/after shave?
Sun-warmed eucalyptus trees in California.
5. Which three people would you invite to dinner, and why?
Jesus. Buddha. Mohammed. Because I have so many questions …
6. What is your number one favourite ‘self-help’ or spiritual book and why?
Don’t have a single favourite — Good Heart or almost any other by the Dalai Lama, whose words fill me with hope.
7. If you could cook a vegetarian meal for me, what would it be?
Anything available, in season, in my Southern Oregon valley. Hope you like organic, fresh produce grown in a Mediterranean climate, near redwood forests, not far from the Pacific Ocean!
8. If I am to plant a vegetable this year on my veggie patch – what would you wish me to plant, and why?
Heirloom tomatoes, grown without chemicals. Because they taste and smell like summer; because they’re full of good nutrients; and because they’re gorgeous on the vine or plate.
9. Top 3 favourite songs of all time and why?
Desert Rose by Sting, a romantic favourite shared with my husband, Hadi. I played it over and over and over in hospital, as my link to the outside world — and enduring love.
Amazing Grace, because it was my grandfather’s favourite.
Anything by Cesária Évoria.
10. Which century would you wish to live in, where and what would you be doing?
20th century, fighting for public education and civil rights alongside Septima Clark of South Carolina. (She was an activist and counselor who helped inspire Rosa Parks, among other leaders in the movement.)
11. What is your one tip for a happy life?
Live in gratitude.
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