Bullies and Bad Ideas

John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck

“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”

Still thinking about peace, I wonder what is this in human nature that thirsts for conflict.    Is this something that we just must shrug our shoulders and accept as our lot when we are born into this life.  Or do we have the capacity as a species, as human beings, to use our thinking minds and noble spirits to pursue peace rather than war?  I look into myself and find there have been times when I have fought.  Mainly, the objects I have fought against have been bullies and bad ideas.  I felt empowered and ennobled in my causes.  And yet now, with maturity I see that battle, whichever battle is entertained, causes many casualties.  Some of those casualties are innocent. And in Gaza, it seems as if most of the casualties are innocent.  And yet, in conflict taking sides just inflames things.  It doesn’t add to finding a peaceful solution.

Taking sides adds to the entertainment factor in conflict.  Just think of all the energy and emotion fans expend at a football game.   ( Is fan short for fanatic?)  Sometimes I wonder if the sporting world trains the human mind to support conflict.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I watched the World Cup Finals and cheered.  I am a fan (fanatic) of Rafa Nadal.  And I believe that competition can bring out the best in the human spirit.  But when competition tips over into conflict, I draw the line.  Conflict aims to destroy, healthy competition focuses on bringing out the best.  I believe, we can be fans or supporters of a particular side in a conflict, if we are conscious of what we are doing and not just blindly following emotional pulls.  Better yet, the more noble road is if we support the opposing factions to find peace.

At the base of many conflicts is a lack of understanding.  Then with a tendency to vilify the other party, the facts are distorted in a morass of emotion which builds into a chaotic, unreal mass.   The will to understand the opponent is lost.  The battle ensues – sometimes for years – when the energy and creativity could be applied to finding a peaceful solution.  From that point, a person is free to use their limited life energy for ecstasy, pleasure, joy, serenity, happiness.

Our little town is a microcosm of the world.  What we do here reflects into the larger world.  Why don’t we find peace here so that the world may find peace in Gaza, in the Ukraine.  But maybe we need to step back… all of us… and find peace in our own hearts first.  Yeah, that is the place to begin.  Check out my blog post from yesterday called Idiots in the House for some great techniques.

Better solutions will come from a peaceful mind, a peaceful heart.

The Hawaiians have a very successful method for finding peace in all sorts of relationships.  Called Ho’ Oponopono it includes some very simple words that work like magic in all sorts of human relationships.  Here I will share:

I am sorry

I love you

Please forgive me

Thank you

If you have yet to find peace inside, using these words may be difficult.  But use them first on yourself and then begin to use them with others.  It WILL work magic in your life.   Even Roman Rivera Torres advocated forgiveness with his famous quote published in the Wall Street Journal many years ago.   You might think forgiveness is boring, but it could open the pathway to joy, serenity and peace.  To me, ecstasy is not a boring state of mind.  I prefer it to battle.  How about you?

"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”

Gluten Free – Dairy Free Veggie Lasagna

July 10, 2014

I always knew the day would come.  That is, the day I would have to pay attention to my diet again.  Having owned restaurants for several years, I didn’t pay much attention to diets.  I was more interested in quality control and so sampled every day from the more than 100 items on our vast menus.  I pat myself on the back to say the quality was good because of this personal practice.  However, my waistline grew… seemingly on its own without my awareness.

You know, you wake up one morning and say…. how did I get like this?  Looking back on the road of tasty treats, I realize the detours I took.  So now….   the doctor says, it must be gluten free…. dairy free.    Seems as if the proteins in gluten and the casein from cow’s milk and dairy products slip through my intestinal wall directly into the bloodstream.  And then my strong immune system begins to attack my own body!!  It is happening to more and more people every day.  Sooooo…..

It has become a time to learn a new way of eating and cooking….  without gluten…. without dairy…..

New way of eating
New way of eating

Each week, I receive a basket filled with fresh organic veggies.  And am learning new ways to cook and eat.  Seems like we have been receiving a lot of those little yellow summer squashes lately, so I made a fantastic gluten free, dairy free vegetarian lasagna yesterday.  And for those of you who have been urging me to share my recipes, here goes.


First of all I want to tell you about amaranth.  Here in Mexico, you usually see amaranth, a traditional staple of the ancient Aztec diet, made into honey laden cookie bars.  But I also saw it in a huge bag near the oatmeal.  So I thought, let me try it.  It says gluten free.

First thing I did was to bread and brown the squash with the amaranth and free range duck eggs in a little olive oil.

Here is the rest of the recipe:

Saute the tomatoes that are going soft with and onion and some garlic.  When they all become very soft, add water and a little sea salt.   Let the mixture simmer for the  flavors to meld.  Also add some basil and oregano to bring out the flavors of the tomatoes.   Let sit and then blend all in a blender and put aside.

Build the lasagna like this…

1.  Tomato Sauce

2,  Breaded Squash.  You can use zucchini as well.

3.  Extra slices of fresh squash (Can you tell I had a lot of squash available?)

4.  Slices of red onions to cover the squash.

5.  Chunks of feta cheese.  (Seems as if goat cheese is okay.  Doesn’t have casein)

6.  Layer of amaranth

7.  Layer of squash

8.  Tomato sauce

9.  Get creative with the veggies you have available.  Mushrooms, tomato slices, spinach, lettuce, peppers, etc.

10.  Add some fresh basil and oregano

11.  I used some feta mixed with green onions and I think it added the exact right flavor touch.

12.  Another layer of amaranth.  If you want, you can also add another layer of tomato sauce.

13.  Dot the top with half slices of baby tomatoes

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 – 40 minutes at 350 F or 180 C

Take off the cover and bake for another 30 minutes.

Served with some Kalamata Olives to put this flavor mix over the top.


New Danger: Flying Monkeys in Mexico

Monkey yoga?
Monkey yoga?

Monday morning… monkeys on the roof of my apartment building…  is this a dream?  I surprised the four of them… lounging, grooming each other, languishing in the sun… when I came up to the roof with my Nikon.

At first, they eyed me suspiciously and moved to the edge of the terracotta roof.   Two of them retired into the tree.  The other two, however, looked like they were doing monkey yoga.

Then, one began to move to the street side.  I hurried over the flat part of the roof to find two of them watching traffic go by.  At least that is what it looked like as I began to take more photos.  Just then, the automatic focus on my camera jammed causing me to go manual.

Walking across the roof
Walking across the roof

Actually, I discovered that the monkeys were planning their strategy for a successful leap into the fully fruited Alamo tree out front of Flamingos/Paparazzi Pizza on Highway 307, Puerto Aventuras, just south of Playa del Carmen in Mexico.

Watching the cars go by?
Watching the cars go by?

In a flash, however, one of the monkeys turned and started coming directly toward me.  He got to the edge of the roof, put his head down as if he wanted to head butt me.  I kept on taking photos, some blurry, some clear as I was busy adjusting the manual focus on the lens as fast as I could with a rapidly approaching target.

Does he want to head butt me?
Does he want to head butt me?

Just like brave paparazzi, I kept on clicking and the monkey retreated, joined tails with his brother and sat back down.  Then, the second monkey jumped up and turned my way.  I guess he was going to show his brother how to do things right!  With strong, determined movements that made him appear as if he was a huge spider, he came directly toward me, made menacing faces and loud noises, rose up on two feet in attack mode, showed his teeth and…

Now I know why they call them spider monkeys.  Look at this...
Now I know why they call them spider monkeys. Look at this…

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2013-09-09 10.05.49-2

Then, stopped, turned around and went back down the roof to his brother.  It was actually rather funny but I did not laugh.

2013-09-09 10.05.48

2013-09-09 10.05.56

He did his best to scare me.  But I just kept clicking and fooling with the manual focus.  I thought to run, but knew he could outrun me. I did not resist but did not surrender either.  And I did not feel any fear.

The monkey must have thought…  “We really have a crazy one here.  I better get back to my brother and the fruit tree.”

He turned and I slowly slipped out back to the roof door.

The Alamo tree is full of fruit this time of year in front of Paparazzi Pizza on the lower floor of the apartment building on the Carreterra. The waiters tell me the monkeys come by every day to eat, sometimes more than once.  They jump from the roof into the tree, eat their fill of fruit and then walk back into Puerto Aventuras, an upscale-gated community in the heart of the Riviera Maya that is home to three hotels, numerous condominiums and houses, a golf course, marina, beach and four monkeys.


That’s a monkey for you!


Copyright 2013.  Donna Marie Carey.  All Rights Reserved.

No part of this post may be reproduced without express written permission from the author.

The Orange Dress

We had such a full night
The night before
That I decided to wait
To see you once again

Enjoying the art of waiting
Staying present in the moment yet anticipating
Listening to the sounds
The waves, the gulls, passing footsteps in the sand

I watched my breath
And floated in the pure lands
While a lone sandpiper ran quickly, then stopped
Ran quickly, then stopped

The distinct day forms
Began to blur into a dusky pinkness
The first stars twinkled
Even the sound of the sea softened

And my waiting softened too
No longer sharp anticipation
More like a smooth and natural glide into
The next phase of something big

Settling in and waiting
Would tonight be as big?
Would it be as passionate?
Would the kisses be as sweet?

And then as day was turning into night
A flash from your direction
A golden sentinel of light announcing your arrival
Your door slowly opened

And there you stood
Magnificent and Beautiful
In your new Orange party dress.
Perfect for the night after…
The Full Moon

Copyright July 2013. Donna Marie Carey. All rights reserved.

An Open Letter to my Friends in Akumal

July 13, 2013

Dear Friends from Akumal,

I write today because I feel we share the Heart of the Riviera Maya…   Akumal the left ventricle and Puerto Aventuras the right…  if you take the point of view of looking from the ocean to the land.  I know recently there has been a lot of discussion about the ecology and economy on our coast as a result of increased tourism.   Not only do we share the privilege of living in one of the most beautiful places on earth but we also share the responsibility of sustaining it, maintaining it and possibly improving it.

Economic growth has blessed us with many opportunities and various problems in the last 15 years I am aware of.  And now, we are standing at a crossroads.  Is it time to apply solutions to the problems based on time worn ideas that may have been successful in the past?  Or is it time to step back, take a breath and look to a regenerative solution?  A paradigm shift?

A regenerative solution starts with the individual – each one of us individually.  Forget the old patterns of trade-offs and ideas to minimize harm.  Instead I am encouraging what could be considered a radical idea; that is, it may be the time to establish a NEW VISION with both long term and short term goals based on today’s reality.  And that reality includes increased tourism and increased use of our natural resources.

Regeneration is inclusive.  It is about including people in the establishment of a new vision.  It is not about minimizing the opposition or justifying top down decision making.  And regeneration is not about defining outcomes beforehand.  It is more about setting a general agreed upon coherent vision.

A paradigm shift is about recognizing a NEW TRUTH.

Many of you know that I have traveled to Bhutan many times, usually about once a year.  For those of you who want to know more about Bhutan, I invite you to check out my blog at http://www.donnala.com.  However, for purposes of this letter, I would like to share a little about Bhutan.

Bhutan is a small Himalayan country about the size of Switzerland and has established itself as one of the most progressive thinking countries in Asia.  The fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, established Gross National Happiness as the measurement of success for his little country back in 1974.  Since that time, the idea has been embodied by a generation of Bhutanese and is even measured by the government annually as an aid in determining the the direction and focus of its programs.

Gross National Happiness is based upon four pillars – sustainable and equitable socio-economic development,  conservation of the environment, preservation and promotion of culture and good governance.    Perhaps this is an idea whose time has come for Akumal, Puerto Aventuras and other communities in the heart of the Mayan Riviera.

Perhaps, the good people of Akumal can gather together – the oldtimers and the newbies – to determine what the new vision for the town based upon a balance of good economy, care for the environment, preservation of the culture while being led by an enlightened leadership that not only values short term gains but also long term goals.  After all, leaders are a reflection of the people they lead.

Perhaps, Akumal, well known worldwide for its commitment to conservation can lead the heart of the Mayan Riviera or for that matter, the whole coast in establishing a NEW VISION, a NEW META  based on the realities of 2013.

Victor Hugo once said, “There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”  Perhaps the time is now for Akumal to stand up and lead us all with a new balanced idea of how to live well is this old new Mayan world.

How do we thrive while living on the Mayan Riviera balancing economic growth with preserving the environment?  This is the nut we must all crack sooner or later.  What do you think, dear friends from Akumal?  Are you up to  tackling this seemingly difficult task?  The moment is hot.  The moment is now.

Sincerely and with a lot of love,


Woman That I AM


by Donna Marie Carey

I haven’t let the little girl go
Oh no… no, no
She dances inside
And often comes out to play.
So what makes me the woman that I am?

I can light up a room when I walk in
Not only with my smile but also the touch of my eyes

Am I the prettiest? No way
Am I the smartest? Nope
Am I the sexiest? Not a chance
And yet, men and women are drawn to the woman that I am.

What is this mystery, this power of the woman that I am?
I am open-hearted, generous and nurturing
And in a flash can turn into a cabrona if I encounter a bully at prey

I don’t hold back my love but share it like a reverse shadow that lights up my path and those I touch

I have some good, good friends, you know, the kind you can call at 3 in the morning to ask for help
But I don’t make that call until I have done everything… everything I can… to help myself
Is that a quality or a fault?

Both… for the woman that I am.

I am loyal. I am wise. I listen between the lines with my heart, eyes and hands
I love myself, I care for myself,
I appreciate my beauty, my wisdom, my power, my mystery and even my bitchy side

I am courageous enough to rearrange the furniture of my life and give away my favorite clothes
To make room for the unknown, the unknowable, the unlovable and the loved

I laugh at myself and life too, woman that I am.

I was born under a lucky star and…
Even though life is not always easy…the way I choose to dance it,
I know, as a woman, the woman that I am.

MY choice: how I live
MY choice: who I love
MY choice: what to include in
MY choice: what to keep out

I AM a poet, a mystic, a dancer, a lover of life
I AM sensitive and sensual, fiery and fierce, fun and funny
I appreciate the truth and also a well-spun tale.

I can hold your little girl hand if you are afraid or sad
Or hug you to keep you warm and safe
Or laugh with you and dance to celebrate a new love…   or a big full moon…   woman that I am.

And… and now… the best part of all of this is…
The most beautiful secret I now reveal…
It is this… just this…

I am having a grand… and I mean a really grand…

with God!!

And I know how to share…
Woman that I am.

Written on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 Puerto Aventuras, Mexico for Casey’s Becoming a Woman Ceremony.

and soon after it was copyrighted!!