• Tami Lowe

Episode 50: Foundations

Good Morning, fellow optimists. Happy Brunch Sunday from Florida! (I heard that in my head like a WWF announcer's voice. Hmm, all the voices are joining us here today.) Let's raise our mimosas or mugs and clink a cheers to a bit of connection between work, notices and ads in your inbox. With a bit of effort this morning, written with a London accent in my head. Reading with an accent is completely your next best decision. Let's take a breath. Or two. In. Out.

I am the foundation of my life.


Question: Do they still teach the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid?

You know, the triangle that told us what to eat.

Oh, that's right, Michelle Obama banished the pyramid for MyPlate.

Her version still has dairy on it, in a little cup at the top right, like Minnie's left ear got cut off.


Of course, MyPlate still included dairy.

Tom Vilsack, then US Agriculture Secretary--also CEO of the US Dairy Export Council, helped her to create MyPlate.


If you can find an old paper copy of the pyramid, you'll see down in the left corner:

"created by USDA and the American Dairy Council." I believe the Beef Buddies also helped with the pyramid.

In 1991, the two industries expressed problems with the pyramid. They both helped revise it to have more meat and the cup of milk.

There are many examples of industry influencing government, both before and after the pyramid and the plate.

It bothers me, as you know, that the government allows this, that the people allow this.

It is not ideal.

For sure.


This image of the Food Guide Pyramid came to this mind as I was cooking some quinoa this week.

The pyramid's foundation, of course, is grains.


Amid those pictures of grains on the triangle, the loaf of bread was the only one I recognized. I knew what rice was. I'd had it a few times.

Of course, spaghetti. Kid brain never called it pasta, it was spaghetti.

Everything else was a noodle.


Though I haven't tested, I don't think there's much Italian in my DNA. Mostly German. But Italians in my town impacted me greatly. There is Italian in my lens.


My brain likes to wander.


Our cultural lens puts the most value on the moneymakers.


Humanity's children and our elderly, who have less-to-no earning value, are not honored or elevated in this capitalist culture.

This is also foundational.

You may think this is normal, but I have seen other cultures that revolve around the development of their children. All adult work schedules adjust for local school schedules. Imagine that!

Less so, but still, I have seen cultures who honor the aged, for their experience and potential wisdom.


We put them both at the bottom.

Because money is our motivator.


You've probably seen this, or maybe done it yourselves.

I have.

Someone dies of covid, and the first question is: "Were they older?"

Oh.


If the answer is, "Yes," we respond with an, "Oh."

If the answer is no, there's a brief intake of breath, then an immediate release of the brain with the thought: It's an anomaly. A-normal. A-typical.

Young people are safer. They have their whole lives ahead of them.

Because if we think about it for too long, that younger people, moneymakers, have died from covid, or have long-term illness due to the virus, that sets off bigger alarm bells.


You may think I am wrong. No way, Tami, do these two things correlate.

Right?

But don't they?

If we are swimming in magenta-colored water, then every other issue's color is influenced by this magenta. Just a tint of magenta in every other color in our society.


So what does it mean?

When a dramatically higher percentage of POC die of covid than white people, Why?

When older people are the majority of people who die, why is that a relief?

They'll die anyway?

They don't have young children?

They don't contribute to the economy? Earning and shopping?


You may be upset with me, but I'm just asking a question.

In my daily, I'm practicing responding instead of reacting.

All I'm doing here is allowing you the same courtesy.

Because it is interesting, to see and ask why we do what we do.


Doesn't that fascinate everyone, equally?


I have not been ruminating on this for the last nine days, since our Friday Brunch.

I promise.

But it is a piece if a bigger umbrella, in asking this question:


What is the foundation of my life?


For this discussion, though you are obviously not in this room, let's remove the Unseen But Felt.

The Unseen-But-Felt is a vibe, or a knowing. It is a light inside of me.

It tells me when things are A Go, or when I should pivot.

It lights my path.

Let's set that beautiful, warm love aside for a second.


What is the foundation of my life?


What do I spend the most time thinking about?


Recently, I'll confess, I spend a lot of time thinking about myself and the future divorce process.

I think about this house that will go live on the MLS in three weeks.

I think about where I'm going to live once the sale of the house closes.

I think about my own earning potential, and what that looks like with no degree and no paid experience for 20+ years.


I have set up intentional practices that remind me to think all of these things with a grateful lens.

I write all the worry, angst, and projections, and practice new ways of thinking about them.

I write what I'm grateful for, and what I love about myself--especially when all I can seem to pull up is self-loathing or negativity.


There is more to me than my earning potential.

Therefore there is more to others than their earning potential.


There is more to me than where I live.

The four walls I call home are a functional necessity--a human right, but that is all they are.

The greed of banks has created greater neighborhood divides than once existed in our cities and towns.

We cannot judge each other by where we live.


There is more to us.


Today's Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.


I know. My lens is rosy.

I'm not apologizing. I'm just aware that some may think me a bit too rosy.


We have to eat. And we have to pay for our housing.

But what is the best of us?


Our neighbor, Joe, passed away from covid last week.

His family gathered last night in their backyard, which butts up against mine.

As I lay down from another day, little doggies pressing against my legs, I could hear the family members sharing.

I've heard them before, and am embarrassed to say that I resented them their music and laughter as I wanted to sleep. My second floor window abuts their pool.


The same way one might resent a car driver cutting you off, or an unmasked shopper walking by your cart.

My mind is full of things.

Do you not know?


But last night, these neighbors had lost their father. Their Grandpa. Their husband.

And how is that better than if he'd been their son?


It's not better or worse. It is just sad. It's a sad part of living, to be left behind.


So as I adjusted my pillow, I sent out love for them, in their moment.


Could I have sent out love to them last summer when they stayed up late, kids splashing in their pool, their family whole?

Could I send out love, or at least compassion, forgiveness, to those who have full minds themselves and don't see me there.


I have all the compassion for us, with our habit brains and our lives.

I think we are doing the best we can.

And we all have so much in common.


I don't have a lot of advice today.

Maybe... just get down in there, deep. Spend some time outside, waving to your neighbors.

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