Mostly, I make sure to stay keenly aware of my own shortcomings so that I am more patient with others. It can be hard to see a friend order a cow-milk latte when almond or soy milk is available, knowing that the friend knows what dairy cows go through, how they mourn their babies, who have been carted off to veal crates so that we can steal their milk.
For many years I wrote nothing but "I will not sleep with Steve Almond" over and over again, page after page à la Jack Torrance in The Shining. Finally, hundreds of psychotherapy sessions and an intense shaman-guided DMT sweat lodge experience led to a breakthrough, and I was able to write about other people I would not sleep with, and also about people I would.
There are moments when Nature reveals the passion hidden beneath the careless calm of her ordinary moods-violent spring flashing white on almond-blossom through the purple clouds; a snowy, moonlit peak, with its single star, soaring up to the passionate blue; or against the flames of sunset, an old yew-tree standing dark guardian of some fiery secret.
Starving to be skinny isn't my thing. When I don't eat, it affects my mood! On-set, I fuel up with small meals and I'm always grabbing high-protein snacks, like almonds. Chai lattes with espresso also keep me going.
Certain miracles that I beheld there have haunted my memory ever since: a gray April morning of sirocco, when the almond blossoms, the flaming tulips, the young green of the vines, hung as if painted on the motionless air; a summer night when the roses had an unearthly pallor under a half-eaten moon, whose ghostliness was somehow one with their perfume and with the phosphorescence of dew tipping their petals; a day when the trees stood part submerged in fog, into which leaves dropped slowly, slowly, one after another, and sank out of sight.
I never cook at home. After 15 hours at work, I don't have much of a desire to cook at home. I do eat at home, but it's always something simple. Raw nuts. Almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts--these are marvelous products. I am, however, the type that likes to go out to eat a lot. I never tire of it.
Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run. Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.