We are the sum of our hearts

We are the sum of our hearts // Part of the “I love you” wall in Paris, by Montmatre. Over 300 languages represented. Concept by Frédéric Baron.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t love enough, that I don’t have enough fingers to stay on the pulse of the world – there are so many tragedies, so much hurt that needs tending.

Today I have some sort of flu that seems to be attacking my lungs in particular; I’m laying in bed with a low grade fever, feeling each labored breath, reading the news. As I grieve for the city I lived in as a child, I also read about how many other tragedies I missed in different parts of the world. I begin to feel shame, embarrassment. And in the midst of growing shame, I find that I can’t help but to continue to mourn for my old home.


Because that’s personal to me.

We are most affected by what is personal. And we are most effective at bringing about change when our cause is personal.

I often refer to this as “Turning your anguish into your answer.” Personal heartbreak can be fuel for your greatest good.

Here’s the thing – we all feel passionate about different subjects. When I share posts about injustices in foster care on my personal Facebook page, I get 1/10th of the likes and comments I usually get. Friends who are passionate about race relations face similar frustration when their articles aren’t as widely shared as they’d hoped. Same goes for folks who speak up for the homeless, the elderly, or, heck, those who work to improve city infrastructure. One person’s cause might seem remote to you, but aren’t you glad someone is championing that cause?

We all have a heart for something.

There is some overlap, but generally we’re on our own journeys, trying make the world better in our own way, for the whole. I smile when I see my friends championing race relations. I know they are making this world better for all of us. I hope they smile when they see me championing for foster youth. This, too, improves the world for all.

We’re all members of a real life Justice League, working together to fix this broken world – relying on everyone stepping up with their own unique contributions to better the whole.

Peace Pilgrim Quote

BUT… We still must help one another.

I am so grateful to my brothers and sisters who’ve pointed out how much heartbreak there is to fix in this world…and that we should not be selective with our horror and outrage.  There is much truth to this. If the idea of taking in all that pain seems to be too much …

Ask yourself if you can do one simple thing: Can you stand with Love?

We must recognize that our individual causes are just one part of the puzzle. Some serious love is required if we’re ever going to help humanity. Beyond our own causes, we must challenge ourselves – not to shutter down or turn a blind eye because that’s ‘someone else’s problem’ – but to be ever openhearted.

To care more.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to be get better. It's not." Dr Suess

This means not resting on our laurels, comfortable with what we know.

Part of the issue is a lack of knowing or familiarity with certain parts of the world (or causes within our own communities). I realize people can’t fully mourn someplace they’ve never been to, never saw pictures of, never heard about, or – worse yet – got false information about. Unfortunately, the media controls a lot of what “we know”… and even covering a story doesn’t guarantee it gets shared enough to be seen on a large scale. I’ve tried to change that in my own small way, here on Global Table Adventure – by providing easily-accessible recipes for every country, no matter how small or “out of the media” it is.

You can dig through the archives (sorted A-Z by country) and learn about somewhere unfamiliar – so that next time that part of the world experiences grief, it’ll be a little more personal.

Consider choosing a country you wish had more of a presence in the media and trying a recipe from that nation. Share it with your loved ones (or on Instagram if you do that sort of thing), so that, together, we can better know our global family.

And while you’re at it, go ahead – read and share an article from a friend with a different cause than your own – be grateful they have the passion and time to research it.

That makes doing your part easier than ever.


“I love you” wall in Paris, by Montmatre. Over 300 languages represented. Concept by Frédéric Baron. Photo by ‘Oh Paris.’

Finally, let the wall of I LOVE YOU in Paris serve as a reminder that our capacity for love is what unites us. In the words of the creators:

In a world marked by violence and dominated by individualism, walls, like frontiers, are usually made to divide and to separate people and to protect them from one another. On the contrary, The Wall is a link, a place of reconciliation, a mirror which reflects an image of love and peace.

The Wall is built on a surface of 40m2 (10 x 4) and composed of 612 tiles of enamelled lava of 21×29.7 cm in size. The shape of the lava tiles remembers of the sheets of paper on which Frédéric Baron wrote his texts. The splashes of colour on the fresco are the pieces of a broken heart, those of a humanity which is too often torn apart and which The Wall attempts to reunite. (Source: Official Web Site for the I Love you Wall)

Remember, my friends…



  1. Is your family in Paris? In your book you said that they moved around a lot. I just wanted to make sure they were ok if they are still there.

    • Sasha Martin says

      Everyone I was close to in Paris is fine – none of my family has been there since the 90s and the French friends I am in contact with moved to other cities. Thank you for asking, Avery.

    • Sasha Martin says

      Thank you for being receptive at a time when so many are simply reacting. These are tough times.

  2. Personal, poetic, profound: those words describe much of what you share on this blog: which is why it is only 1 of 3 that I will read everytime I see them posted – causing me to learn, live & love better. Thank you, Sasha.

  3. Marie Lutzow says

    So much bigotry is being splashed around the media at the moment. Your blog is a breath of fresh air. I look forward to your posts and visit the blog often to try recipes and learn fascinating tidbits from other countries. I have requested your book for Christmas! Thank you for your words of enlightenment. Marie

  4. I am really enjoying your book and now your blog. I teach culinary in a very diverse high school, in which I call my little United Nations. I love to learn about all the different cuisine from around the world so your writings fit perfectly into my interests.

    My daughter, now 16, and I love to cook together. She would love to explore a career in culinary and I love that you did not choose to work in a restaurant. I would think it would be so difficult to manage a family and enjoy meals together if you were a chef. Thanks for highlighting that there are other options as well. She will be reading your book when I am done. She loves to read and write too.

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