Three steps forward…

Two steps back, is still progress right? At least movement.

In the therapy process we are looking for movement, doesn’t matter which direction. Movement shows struggle, shows vitality, shows emotional effort, even if in the seemingly negative direction.

Aristotle defines life as movement between contraries. If we are all composed of many parts, many contradictions, the movement of our attention and energy signals our soul in motion, alive and becoming. Like a designed work of art…

...”For a house is generated from objects which exist not in composition but are divided in a certain way, and likewise for a statue or anything that has been shaped from shapelessness; and what results in each of these are order in one case and composition in the other.

If, then, all this is true, everything that is generated or destroyed is so from or to a contrary or an intermediate. As for the intermediate, they are composed of contraries; the other colors, for example, are composed of white and black. Thus every thing which is generated by nature is a contrary or composed of contraries.”

from Aristotle’s Physics, Book A

Therapists will recognize this as resonant with Internal Family Systems, grief and loss integration, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and other systems that are premised on behavior change by integrating internal opposition.

In working with a client, we as counselors or therapists are guiding the recognition and acceptance of conflicting emotions. Here is my question for my fellow counselors out there….

How do you as a therapist integrate a conflicting sense of relief and shame when a client goes inpatient?

As you can see, I am trying to intellectualize and hide in my happy place of philosophy. This is still difficult for me to digest. If feel like I go three steps forward and two steps back in these situations. I have to remind myself that movement is good regardless of direction.

What are your strategies in addition to talking with peers and supervisors for support as I am now?

Thank you for reading the long prelude to the question.

Hope you are fully alive with contradictions,


Exploded view of my now

Living forces honesty. Answers are seasonal, losing their sense precisely as they become scripture. You will die: this is the first meaning. The world around you seems to bear helpless witness to your wandering. Other people suffer in the same way, and yet this seems to increase loneliness. But you can welcome despair like gravity, for at some point the sheer pressure, tectonic in the soma, compels a violent break in pattern: running through the woods, making love with an utter loss of self. The reality of your condition offers a stark gift you accept through sudden discharges of rage and rage’s joyful shadow: this is the only life you know, and it fills you to overflowing. You live your life, yoga happens to you.

You thought you were alone. You tried to be independent. Then, standing in the market with your hand on an orange, children underfoot, traffic humming, conversations blendingwith the radio by the cash register, shoes you did not make on your feet and clothes you did not sew on your back, sun slanting through rips in the tin awning, you’re almost late for meeting someone, always almost too late. You know this orange will give you life, and that you did not grow it. Someone else gave it to you, it will become your flesh. Its colour adds immeasurably to your language and dreams while its name rhymes with nothing, and you did not conceive of it. The old grocer’s hands have become gnarled through a lifetime of handling boxes of oranges for you to eat. Someone else gives you your flesh. They could not give what they do not have. Someone else holds their flesh forth until it becomes your flesh.

A child triggers an internal laugh. A dog slaps her thick tail against your shin. Every single object that gives you life surrounds you. If you really were alone you would not exist. You did not make the air you breathe. You can’t say where the inside of your flesh begins. You are naturally reaching out as something reaches into you. No one and everyone taught you this. You surrender to the always-already-there, and yoga happens around you, through you.

– Matthew Remski, Threads of Yoga

Beautiful example of philosophical object orientation and mindful awareness, Ian Bogost style, maps, meanwhiles, lists and ontographs, Timothy Morton style thoughts of gravity, weird reality, shredded wheat magical simplicity.

Yoga invites us to the stillness of an exploded view of our present moment. Notice yourself, your body supported by the ground, your arms reaching to the sky, your breath, feelings, thoughts, sensations. All material, all fleeting. In stillness watch yourself move in thought and breath. Yoga offers such quiet power ❤️

Wishing you a weekend of mindful nows,


Hungryphil starts an MSW

It is a bit unusual for someone with a Ph.D. to go back to school, right? Yet, here I am.

This is my first-week attending IUPUI’s Masters of Social Work program online. I don’t find my status odd or contradictory. Given my graduate work at the New School School for Social Research, a pursuit of social work practices was inevitable.  A perspective also reinforced by my parents, PhDs in Social Work and Education working in Dhaka. Inevitable.

However, I am surprised to find myself, afraid. What if I fail, what if I’m stupid, what if I’m too old, what if I’m wasting all this money…yada..yada..yada…We are all so vulnerable to our own minds trying desperately to protect us.  This is when a third person inner monologue may help.  Let me demonstrate:

“Hungryphil wants to be a better helper. She wants to help people rebuild their lives after loss of love, meaning, and self-worth. She is afraid of being back in school to help her do so, but the risk of failure is worth it.”

While the use of a  third person voice can be annoying, it helps me distance myself and see myself.

Mostly this week involved awkward video introductions, being overwhelmed with the flood of assignments and the bubbling excitement of learning. It was a good start.

How can a philosopher-architect-food lover evolve into a therapeutic, creative, responsive change agent who helps others rebuild lives out of their own self-discovered empowerment?

My first clue comes from this week’s reading: Chapter 1 of Challenging Oppression and Confronting Privilege by Bob Mullaly, began with the following quote by Ben Agger,

Critical social theory conceives human liberation as the highest form of intellectual activity.

I wonder if this thought will hold under an Object Oriented Ontology perspective?

Hmmm… many questions to come……… it seems I’ll be talking to myself a lot!

Happy blossoming everyone,



Inorganic Recipes from Artist Charles A. Gick


Don’t miss this extraordinary exhibition about ordinary things, like dirt and spoons. Here is why…

This local studio to gallery recipe grows out of a Catholic farming family in Indiana. Artist and inorganic chef, Charles Gick, has been perfecting the cracked earth recipe since his childhood on the farm, drawing with a stick on summer mud. The exhibition is a culmination of his first tastes of meditative marking, multi-medium expression and elemental reverie. His work is as primal as the first cave etchings and as contemplative as the black paintings in Rothko Chapel. Cracked earth, both atmospheric and sculptural, becomes the ground for offerings and incomplete messages that either hover above or sit unanchored. On the slabs of cracked mud we taste the farm in the collective labor that stretches between the trucks of earth, the mixing of wet mud, the drying until cracked. Through this strange and shared effort of working the earth Gick cultivates a meditative space. The broken earth’s hunger for the clouds reminds us of a simple farming truth: blooming requires others. Gick distills the bittersweet taste of this farming truth by framing raw, earthworm etched, air-dried, messy dirt with intentional clean clarity, like all sophisticated farm-to-table dishes that celebrate the ingredients. His skill as an inorganic chef finds full expression in his ability to balance the raw and the refined. Not only is he able to balance sorrow and delight, longing and union, vulgar and elegant, he is also able to offer these tastes in multiple mediums and forms. His work includes performance, painting, sculpture, photography, design and video, so people with diverse aesthetic palates can find something to savor. The slabs of cracked earth become meditative totems, prayers for clouds. It materializes, an ethereal longing for the other. Enjoy these recipes for cracked earth, empty… and full… and taste your own muddy and cloudy longings.


Makes 2 (16’X16’ Slabs)

  • Local dirt 10 tons
  • Water 850 gallons


  • 1 Truck with a hydraulic lift bed to transport, deliver, and dump dirt
  • 3-5 Human beings to mix and transport the mud
  • 1 spade and 1 shovel to scoop dirt from dirt pile and place into buckets
  • 1 – 3’x3’ wire sifter to shift out dirt clods
  • Wheelbarrow to transport dirt to fill the buckets
  • 3 electric drills with dry wall mixing blades to mix the dirt and water
  • 25 – 5 gallon buckets to mix and hold the mud
  • A large cart on casters to transport the buckets of mud
  • 1 floor scraper to clean the floor of splattered mud
  • 2 commercial floor drying fans (additional small fans can be used as needed) to help expedite the drying and cracking process
  • 16 sheets of 4’ x 8’ – 5/8” plywood
  • 24 – 8’, 2”x6” pine
  • 8 – 16’, 2”x6” pine
  • 150 linear feet of pine screen bead board
  • 1 miter saw
  • 1 cross saw
  • 1 coping saw
  • 1 miter box
  • 150 – 7/8” metal brads to secure the screen bead board to edges of platform
  • 40 – 3” wood screws to secure the outside corners and end pieces of platform
  • 400 – 1-1/4” or longer wood screws to secure plywood to platform
  • 4 tubes of silicone calking and 1 calk gun to seal seams of plywood
  • 2 – 3 gallons of paint to paint the surface of the platform
  • Paint roller and paint tray
  • Wet/dry vacuum and a mop and bucket and broom to clean dust and water off of the gallery floor
  • 1 – 10’ x 100’ 6mil black poly sheeting to protect the gallery floor from moisture from pouring mud onto platforms
  • 4 – 16’, 1”x6” pine boards for the outer walls of mud mold
  • 2 – 8’, x 1”x6” pine boards to build a dam while pouring mud


  1. Build platform: First lay down a 20’X20” square of heavy plastic to protect gallery floor from the mud and water. It is imperative to be a considerate guest artist. Build platform, a 14’X14’ base with evenly spaced joists that can bear the weight of mud. Screw the 16’X16’ plywood top to cantilever over the base. Be sure to make the seams minimal. Each seam is an invitation for a water leak. Apply chalking over each seam in a futile nature-defying attempt at waterproofing.

Next add the 1” X 6” wood strip around the platform perimeter creating a frame to hug and constrict the mud. Apply black Gorilla Tape at the seam to prevent the escape of water to the floor. Now the platform is ready to receive the mixed wet mud.

  1. Mix mud: Ask politely for the dirt to be delivered and dumped outside. Shovel or spade scoopfuls of mud to be sifted and shaken. Much like baking a satiny smooth cake the sifting allows the removal of big clumps. If banana bread like texture is desired, leave dirt un-sifted. Note the difference in the two cracked earth slabs: The one holding the cloud dome is less sifted and has more texture while the slab under the earth and sky coat has less.

Using a wheelbarrow, transport dirt to the interior space closer to a water source. This transfer may also offer relief from hot Indiana summer days. Scoop dirt into 25 – 5 gallon buckets. Using a drill, mix 2 to 3 gallons of water to each bucket until a thick cake batter state is achieved. Relying on a table with castors and the energy of 3 people, push 25 buckets close to the platform in the gallery. Walk up onto platform as needed. Construct a sidewalk concrete pour-like dam that will permit a slow and controlled pour. Each dammed section will be limited by the stretch of your body. Pour mud until a thickness of 5” is reached. Repeat until the full 16’X16’ square pan is filled.

  1. Let dry: Do not be alarmed when water rises to top. The rising water allows for a brownie like crusty surface (a ¼ inch of water floating on top is fine). If a heavy spot of water develops use wet-dry vacuum to pull the water away without touching the surface.

Use commercial fans to hasten the drying process. Rotate fans around every couple days. Be sure to face fans in the same single direction so that air travels across the surface, like wind over the landscape. Do not create tornado conditions. Allow for 2 weeks of drying time.

For vulnerable and soft areas, mix thicker mud to make a stronger mold. Also note that the gallery will become humid as water escapes into the air, creating an invisible domesticated cloud.

The poured wet mud of 5 inches will shrink down to 3 inches. The mud will become hard enough to walk across and hang up watches or place a cloud dome. Limit walking to protect brownie-like crust. Once mud pulls away from the platform wall about a ¼ to ½ inch, lift the 1”X6” form away without hurting or pulling the slab. Now the cracked earth is ready, hovering over the platform, broken and waiting to receive.

Serve the Slabs of Cracked Earth with:

The Earth and Sky Coat

The Cloud Dome

Charles A. Gick’s Recipe for Empty

  1. Locate 20 square feet of wall space
  2. 241 unfilled teaspoons will make 2-1/2 pints of absence. Gallons of restless meditations can gently perch on each cusp. Breathe deeply to give life to each possibility.
  3. Form a 5’ diameter circle filled with 8 concentric rings of emptiness

Charles A. Gick’s Recipe for Full

  1. Locate 20 square feet of wall space
  2. 241 teaspoons of sifted dirt will make 2-1/2 pints of presence

Find a willing gallery director, not afraid of heights or dirt, to stand on a lift, hold cup under each spoon, sprinkle dirt over each until a tiny mountain forms within each cradle, let the dirt granules comfortably settle. Do not apply wind to the fragile dry earth. Hold your breath. The teaspoons cannot hold anymore.

  1. Form a 5’ diameter circle filled with 8 concentric rings of fullness

‘My fathers’ globe knocks on its nave and sings.’
‘This that we tread was, too, your fathers’ land.’
‘But this we tread bears the angelic gangs
Sweet are their fathered faces in their wings.’
‘These are but dreaming men. Breathe, and they fade.’

Excerpt from I fellowed sleep by Dylan Thomas

For recipes and tastes like, how to cage a cloud, how to sew an earth & sky coat and more, visit Charles A. Gick’s Dirt & Flowers: and other things we eat and breathe… at Wabash College.

Recipe developed by Charles A. Gick and written by the Hungryphilosopher

Wobblyogi Wednesday – Jar of Pickles

A jar of pickles….is not a standard yoga practice theme. Since I started teaching Sunrise Morning Yoga classes, I’ve been thinking about opening, waking up and ways to unfold. The first week I looked at poses that reminded me of opening a book like dancing warrior. The second week I looked at poses that made me think of flowers blooming or birds taking flight, like locust, ustrasana or brikasana. This week I looked to gentle twists, like opening a jar, like a revolved side angle or twisted chair. Exploring how we wake up and open to the world through yogic poses and movement has been fun. We started seated one day, in a child pose another and today from a reclined position. Each start progressed through the standard sequencing practices of centering, sun salutations and warmup, standing poses, balance poses, seated poses and back to floor. At this point, I’m getting better at time awareness and “feeling” where I should be in the sequence. I still have to figure out my unique concluding phrase that each yoga instructor seems to have. Do I even need one? I don’t know yet.

Today I’ve been thinking about Aristotle’s De Anima (On the Soul) and how the soul (and nature) is understood as movement, as animation. Can there be philosophy-themed yoga sequences? Nietzsche would definitely require a headstand. Hegel, a lot of opposing movements and then centering. Aristotle would definitely be an Iyengar practitioner, attentive to alignment between movements. Hmmm…I like thinking about this strange yoga thematic turn in practicing philosophies of embodiment. My mind is certainly wobblying now!

Maybe I need to compose Philosophers do Yoga like Monty Python’s Philosopher’s World Cup. Makes me laugh every time. Enjoy!

Wishing you ease and laughter,

The Wobblyogi

Image from:

Wobblyogi Wednesday Notes


The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self

1. Eat to nurture yourself not punish yourself.

“The yogic approach to eating and diet is to bring oneself into wholeness, to illuminate and repair the self-division, to stop fighting oneself. Yoga, after all means “union.”

2. You absorb the energy of what you eat and how it came to be.

“When you eat something, you eat everything that happened to make that food come into existence. You are affirming a certain version of the world.”

3. Just eat.

“If you read while you eat, you are eating the words. – If you eat when angry, you are eating the anger. – if you eat absorbed by the scenery, you are eating the scenery. If you talk a lot while you eating, you are eating your conversation.”

4. Chew each bite before taking another bite.

“Shoveling more food into an already full mouth corresponds to taking a new breath before the old one is fully exhaled. Swallowing before food is fully tasted and chewed corresponds to exhaling before inhlation is complete. “

5. Eat what nurtures you.

“The central thesis of the Yoga of Eating is….that each person is the ultimate authority on his or her bodily requirements, and that the body will reveal its requirements given sufficient attention and trust.”


Image from:


Magical New Year of Eating

Happy to be back here, sitting on my red chair looking out from our end of the cul-de-sac through the picture window,  writing to you and with you. I’m excited to report that I ate so well and so intently that I have MUCH to share with you the coming weeks. By virtue of this blog I will savor the two weeks of vacation for another four weeks. Gosh, I so enjoy eating, cooking, reading and writing that have the ability to make time go fast and slow. Magic.

The first discovered taste I’d like to share is this:

Kaboom Books in Houston, where I found this:


What! It was such a magical discovery for THE HUNGRY PHILOSOPHER …..that I started talking about myself in third person!!!

A fun and thoughtful read that proclaims the spirituality of food. Here are a few excerpts:

“The umbilical cord between yourself and the world is the cooking pot. We pass reality through it, and it is indicative of the sort of world we live in. It is a crucible, an alembic in which we are linked with the world, magically if you like.”

“Herbs and spices do for your dishes what grace does for your actions — they give them zest and an inner meaning. The graceless life is the life which has lost it savour.”

“Salvation is to love something real rather than merely having an idea of right or of money or of liberty or whatever. Cooking is a great opportunity for love and therefore salvation. Love the leisure of the simmering pot and the long drawn out thought of the people you wish to please. For God’s sake don’t throw a commonwealth of meat and vegetables into the pot and clamp the lid on in order to have time to look over the agenda for the next meeting. It is the love of ideas which makes us cruel and not the love this bit of meat, these potatoes, this child or wife or husband.”

Hope all of you hungry-philosophers out there had a wonderful winter holiday surrounded by love and good food.

I wish you the magic of eating that makes your world a graceful and kinder place.

More later.


Faddists and Face stuffers not welcome


The rudeness of the glutton and the face stuffer is obvious. Equally ill-mannered- though it is politically incorrect to say so — is the food faddist, who makes a point of announcing, wherever he goes, that just this or this can pass his lips, and all other things mush be rejected, even when offered as a gift. …..Both the faddist and the glutton have lost sight of the ceremonial character of eating, the essence of which is hospitality and gift. For each of them, I and my body occupy center stage, and the meal loses its meaning as human dialogue. Though the health-food addict is in one sense the opposite of the burger stuffer and the chocaholic, he too is a product of fridge culture, for whom eating is feeding, and feeding a solipsistic episode, in which others are disregarded. The finicky beak of the health freak and the stretched maw of the junk-food addict are alike signs of deep self-centeredness. It is probably better that such people eat on their own, since even in company they are really locked in solitude.

This quote from the chapter entitled “Real Men Have Manners” by Roger Scruton published in the Philosophy of Food eloquently and vividly explains why we find sharing a table with picky eaters so unpleasant. You know this person. Maybe this year, when someone at the table begins to complain about the amount of butter in the thanksgiving meal you’ll know exactly why you’re irritated by their self-centeredness disguised as discriminating taste.

Eat me – Shopsin’s Philosophy


Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin is most definitely one of my favorite, cooking, food writing, philosophy and design books. Its witty, thoughtful, informative, blatantly honest and at times appropriately NYC gritty. I enjoy the images, as much as the words, that are profoundly mundane and real. Shopsin’s philosophy  implicitly fuels his life, cooking, business and becomes explicit, almost belatedly,  in his epilogue about the art of staying small,

“Running a restaurant for me is about running a restaurant. It is not a means to get someplace else. I wake up every morning and work for a living like a farmer. Running a restaurant is a condition of life for me. And I like everything about this life. I like waking up in the morning knowing I am going to the restaurant to cook, that something unexpected will happen to me in the kitchen, and that no matter what, I will learn something new. I like the actual process of cooking. I like shopping for the food that I cook, and I like my interactions with the people I meet while shopping. I like my customers, and I like working with my kids. It is a simple existence, but for me the beauty is in that simplicity. These are the things that bring me pleasure — and they bring me great pleasure on an extremely regular basis.

Living this way, pursuing your own happiness, is addictive and it’s the way I have tried to conduct my life. What this means is doing what it takes to make yourself feel good each day, not to make yourself less good today in the hopes that your life will be good in ten years because you’re working really hard now or because your property will be worth more money then. The way I figure it, if you make everyday of your life as happy as you can, nobody can take that away from you. It’s in the bank.”

Shopsin’s insistence on experience, on being in the present, on owning one’s pleasure, on loving a complete process, all point to his pragmatic life affirming philosophy just as his extensive menu is evidence of his lust for experimentation, learning and innovation. Next time, a quote about his thoughts on creativity. In the meantime,  read the book and its recipes. Its about food, philosophy and design that is perfect reading for hungry philosophers everywhere.


“Here too the gods dwell”……….

Heraclitus was warming himself by a stove when a group of visitors arrived hoping to meet the great philosopher and was surprised to see him in such mundane circumstances. Responding to their obvious disappointment, Heraclitus famously announces, “here too the gods dwell.” His simple statement locates meaning…..”here”…….by the stove, by the fire, where we feed and warm our bodies. Heraclitus, reminds his visitors and us that the philosophical self-examined life is not lead apart from everyday needs. In doing so, he shatters the ideality and the celebrity of the tranquil philosopher.  Heraclitus’ statement has been closely examined by many scholars, most notably by Martin Heidegger.

I simply invoke this statement as an ancient recognition that the “mundane” is the un-thought, unexamined, unattended, unfelt and that everything, everyone, everyplace harbors the meaningful. A philosophical life is not one of removed, meditative, tranquility apart from human struggle. On the contrary, a philosophical life begins with the simple gesture of warming oneself and attending to the warmth, the fire, the pleasure, the heat, the glow, the light that makes us see, ourselves among and against things in the world.

We can find moments of self-examination and awareness even when we buy a blender or when we boil a pot of pasta. It is ordinary and mundane when I buy the cheapest or most expensive blender with no thought to how it affects my life, it is philosophical when I consider where the blender will live in my home when not in use, why I need it, how often will I use it. Boiling a pot of pasta is ordinary if it becomes an mechanical exercise of producing an efficient dinner. It becomes a human moment when I consider the heat, the water, the pot, the family, the pasta itself, dinner time, the host of variables that converge when I make dinner. This attention doesn’t mean, I’m pausing to ponder….it just means that when I’m boiling pasta, I’m boiling pasta…..I’m attentive and in the moment. Food can be easily be relegated to mundane meaninglessness. That’s why, to me, Heraclitus’ statement that “here too (by the stove) gods dwell” seems so poignant.

Counting calories, intellectualizing, carefully designing menus to meet allergies, nutrition, brand etc, is not the attention I’m talking about. Anthony Bourdain describes the moment of awareness and successful eating in Medium Raw (2011), as follows,

If cooking professionally is about control, eating successfully should be about submission, about easily and without thinking giving yourself over to whatever dream they’d like you to share. In the best-case scenario, you shouldn’t be intellectualizing what you’re eating while you’re eating it. You shouldn’t be noticing things at all. You should be pleasingly oblivious to the movements of the servers in the dining area and bus stations, only dimly aware of the passage of time. Taking pictures of your food as it arrives — or, worse, jotting down brief descriptions for your blog entry later — is missing the point entirely. You shouldn’t be forced to think at all. Only feel.

I am guilty of taking pictures and blogging…..but I also remember many moments, the best moments when I completely forgot to do so and just enjoyed what was placed before me. Philosophical self-awareness includes the Bourdain receptive sense of giving yourself over to your needs and wants as it meets what is given. It may seem like a contradiction, how can one be both self-aware and self-negating? But that edge between thinking and feeling, control and reception is the philosophical moment of living of life of meaning, whether buying a blender or boiling a pot of pasta. Think and feel. Heraclitus, wasn’t just thinking. He was feeling the heat.