May 30, 2011

More Music Monday

I gave my vinyl away a few years ago, but if I built a turntable, it would look like this one. More music, less complexity.

"Lovers of modern designs, haters of clutter and early adopters of weird new twists on classic technology will be excited about this stripped-down version of a record player. Called the “Turnstyle,” this bare-bones record player takes away everything but the very basics needed to extract sound from 12″ records.
The machine consists of a copper pipe, motor, needle, counterweight and speakers. The only controls included are those that turn the record player on and off. There are no fancy switches to get familiar with, no fiddly parts to worry about, and no superfluous material to clutter up your living space.
Of course, audio purists probably won’t want anything to do with a record player that has built-in speakers and metal pipes making up the body. But as far as minimalist audio designs go, this one is truly unique and beautifully streamlined."

May 28, 2011

What Do We Really Need?

"If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be unhappy for the rest of your life."

Our actual needs are very simple. Food, clothing, and shelter are all we really need. But there must be more to life than mere survival for us to be happy.

In the 1940's, humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, published his "Hierarchy of Needs", illustrated as a pyramid. The foundation is made up of the first two levels which refer to our simple basic needs required for our bodily health and safety. These needs must be secured before progressing farther up the pyramid - and our inner voices are urging us to climb.

Maslow's theory explains what motivates us in life - we want to become everything that we can be, and share our gifts with the world. His work can also show that money does not figure heavily in realizing our full potential. After our basic needs are safely met, money becomes less important, and may actually be a distraction and impediment.

If we see money as a means to an end, we can see we actually need very little - just enough (and a little bit more) to cover our basic needs.

We need to know that we are going to have a safe and suitable home, enough good food to eat, comfortable clothes to wear, and the opportunity to learn and grow and create. That is all we need in terms of financial security.

We may need to do something to make money, but what we yearn for is to become better at being us, then using our skills to make a better world. We yearn to become greater than we are.

Maslow believed we all have capacities, talents, direction, missions, and callings. He thought that our yearnings are suppressed to the detriment of our well being. We have a need to realize our dreams.

"A musician must make music," Maslow wrote, "an artist must paint, and a poet must write, if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves."

Our needs are very basic. Once we have enough money to cover them, we can take time for ourselves. Time to realize our capacities, talents, direction, mission, and calling. Maslow believed that whatever we can be is what we must be.

Beyond a certain level of 'enoughness', more money is not going to help us do what we need to do.

We don't need more work and more money. We need more time, and the freedom to use it. We already possess the inner resources we need for our personal quest. What we must do is remove the obstacles that prevent us from fulfilling it.

May 26, 2011

Simple Pleasures: Precious Moments

"Use your precious moments to live life fully every second of every single day." - Marcia Wieder 

When we live simply and with awareness, we begin to realize our connection to everyone and everything on Earth. Living holistically, freed from artificial borders, we see miracles everywhere. Precious moments abound.

In a slower paced life which unfolds according to natural cycles and rhythms, magic happens. We experience deeper connections with ourselves, each other, and the natural world around us. Life is more relaxed, more playful, and more creative.

There is more time and space for moments of love and beauty. Synchronicity abounds, a form of beauty that aligns forces in the universe to send us messages.

It is crucial that we have time to realize, and enjoy, simple precious moments. A slow, small footprint lifestyle can yield the time, and the moments. Enjoy.

May 25, 2011

Capitalism And The Growing Ecological Dilemma

What we do to the earth, we do to ourselves

We are currently experiencing human-caused ecological stress like never before. We have been largely denying the damage we have been causing, even though the destruction has been monumental. Some scientists even believe there is enough evidence to show we have entered the Age of Anthropocene, where humanity's effects on the planet threaten the natural systems we all rely on.

For over 40 years environmentalism has not been able to slow the economic juggernaut that is driving this house wrecker. Why does capitalism blind us to the realization that a healthy environment is of primary importance, and without out it nothing else matters?

We have to look at our cultural ethic to find the causes of our reliance on extreme forms of capitalism and our growing ecological dilemma. Professor Donald Worster describes the capitalist approach in "jarringly stark terms".

Worster writes, "The land in this culture, as in any other, is perceived and used in certain, approved ways; there are, in other words, ecological values taught by the capitalist ethos. We may sum them up in three maxims:

  1. Nature must be seen as capital. It is a set of economic assets that can become a source of profit or advantage, a means to make more wealth. Trees, wildlife, minerals, water, and the soil are all commodities that can either be developed or carried as they are to the marketplace. A business culture attaches no other values to nature than this; the non-human world is desanctified and demystified as a consequence. Its functional interdependencies are also discounted.
  2. Man has a right, even an obligation, to use this capital for constant self-advancement. Capitalism is an intensely maximizing culture, always seeking to get more out of the natural resources out of the world than it did yesterday. The highest economic rewards go to those who have done the most to extract from nature all it can yield. Private acquisitiveness and accumulation are unlimited ideals, impossible to satisfy once and for all.
  3. The social order should permit and encourage this continual increase of personal wealth. It should free individuals (and corporations as collective individuals) from encumbrances on their aggressive use of nature, teach young people the proper behavior, and protect the successful from losing what they have gained. In pure capitalism, the self as an economic being is not only all-important, but autonomous and irresponsible. The community exists to help individuals get ahead and absorb the environmental costs."
Surely not all capitalists strictly adhere to Worster's maxims. However, much of the current environmental desecration stems from the misapplication of the spirit of capitalism that he describes. Environmental costs of the harsh, self-indulgent aspects of our capitalistic system are quickly degrading and destroying the world's natural systems.

Pure capitalists cannot hide what has been done to the world's forests, for example. But trouble is also showing up in other areas such as water, atmospheric conditions, and soil depletion. Climate change threatens us with catastrophic weather events - the suffering people of Joplin, Missouri are currently experiencing these effects, but they are not the only ones to notice scary changes on the horizon.

Short term economic expediency dictates a narrow, irresponsible use of our collective natural gifts. Nature is over-simplified, the destruction is denied, and environmental problems are left for our kids to solve. We currently do not have any viable solutions to any of our pressing challenges. No provisions are being made to reinvest any of the great wealth generated by capitalism in the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem to safeguard options for the future.

Getting over our materialist mania will help us weed out the worst of the capitalists by withholding our dollars from their overflowing vaults. I am not buying anything they are trying to sell me. Ecological imperatives dictate that we simplify our lives, go forward with compassion, and create local, self-sustaining communities based on a free and fair exchange of goods and services.

Along the way, we will take our freedom back, heal our planet, and realize better, more balanced ways of living.

    May 24, 2011

    Greed Is Curable

    "My life philosophy is simple: 
    If I can afford it,
    I consume it."

    Greed is a highly destructive, highly contagious disease. It is spread by viral marketing campaigns, television, glossy magazines, and by coveting your neighbour's stuff. It is difficult to get rid of, and gets worse when you throw more money at it. It is spreading fast because we have been told it is good. But it is not.

    Just because we can consume several times our fair share of the world's resources, doesn't mean we should. A study titled Money Giveth, Money Taketh Away: the dual effect of wealth on happiness, found that having access to the best things in life may actually undercut people's ability to reap enjoyment from life's small pleasures.

    Greed is counterproductive. We think it will bring us more, but what we get is less.

    We have no long term plan for maintaining our current level of consumption. If we did, we would have to involve procuring resources from off-Earth. One planet will not be enough. As Gandhi said, "There is enough for everyone's need, but not everyone's greed."

    Greed can be cured by its opposite - generosity. When we think and act with generosity, we can control our desires in order to secure our children's future. When our actions are guided by unselfishness, we can share so everyone has enough. We make sacrifices so that our environment does not suffer, for we know that without a healthy environment none of us will make it.

    Just because we can afford to consume, doesn't mean we should. Don't let greed infect your life - keep it at bay with acts and thoughts of enormous generosity. Everything, including your own life, will benefit.

    May 23, 2011

    No Civilization Monday

    Nature is the cure for Chronic Civilization Disorder

    "I am trying to intensify my feelings
    for the organic rhythm of all things, 
    to achieve pantheistic empathy 
    with the throbbing and flowing
    of nature's bloodstream
    in trees, in animals, in the air." 

    Symbols of Pantheism

    May 21, 2011

    Another BRIC In The Wall?

    The BRIC nations have the fastest growing economies

    All in all will they just be another BRIC in the wall? Will they make the same mistakes that developed countries have made, and are making? Will they sink into American style materialism? Or will the people of the rapidly developing countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China change the way 'progress' is defined?

    I have been watching the "Big Four" with great interest. It has been predicted that by 2050 the BRIC countries will surpass the economic clout of today's developed powers, marking a huge shift in global power and influence. I am hoping that will be a good thing.

    I am hopeful that these newly developing nations will plot a different course than we did. With cultures so unique and ancient, and with people more used to living simpler, less corporate lives, I am betting they will put their own twist on global capitalism. Perhaps they will make it work for them (all of them), rather than becoming automatons and working for it - to the overall detriment of their happiness.

    A recent comment on this blog gives a glimpse into one of the BRIC nations - Brazil, and at least one person that is resisting the changes washing over her often-misunderstood country of 190 million potential consumers.

    Marina writes of her plan to not buy anything except necessities for one year starting June 1st, and outlines some of the driving forces behind her decision to give up the consumer life.
    My intent to go one year without shopping for anything is an attempt to reflect on the choices I make. I´m interested in living in a healthier, simpler way. In Brazil we still lead simpler lives compared to the US and Europe. We cook our own beans from scratch every day, we drink juice made out of real fruit, we buy less, we rarely see products that are OK in the garbage, and it´s really common to walk.
    All of those things are starting to change because our country is getting richer, but Brazilian´s identity has a lot to do with being spontaneous and living life in a more improvised way. That´s just the way most people are. One serious problem here is that we treat our environment badly and companies and people are starting to worry about this just now.
     When I was in India for a few months in 2001, enjoying the cultural gifts and the simple life lived by regular people, I felt like yelling out warnings in the streets. "Beware Americanization. Resist global capitalism, greed, and environmental destruction. Don't believe the promise of increased happiness through increased consumption."

    Will this result in increased happiness?

    I yell now to Marina, and all those citizens of BRIC countries attempting to hold on to the simple lives they know and love. You are on the right track. You can demand a new kind of development and progress that will not require you to sell your souls.

    Citizens can question what is happening around them, rather than trust those who stand to gain the most. The same people who say that industrialization, corporatization and building a massive middle class will be good for everyone, and that the environment isn't as important as jobs and prosperity. A brave few are calling out the liars.

    These are the rebels I have been holding out for. Rebels like Marina. I will do everything I can to support these compassionate souls that do not want to repeat the violent mistakes we have made. Rebels that will show us how progress is done while maintaining simplicity, spontaneity, and environmental integrity.

    Besides, if they can't do it better than we have, we are all doomed. We are all in this together, and we would be smart to cooperate now in providing all humans with enough through enriching small footprint, sustainable lifestyles.

    Ernest F. Schumacher summed it up well in his book Small Is Beautiful:

    "A modern economist is used to measuring the 'standard of living' by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the time that a man who consumes more is 'better off' than a man who consumes less. I consider this approach excessively irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption
    The less toil there is, the more time and strength is left for artistic creativity. Modern economics, on the other hand, considers consumption to be the sole end and purpose of all economic activity."

    May 19, 2011

    Advice From Depression Survivors

    "It made our hearts ache to see how bad off other kids were. Even if we only got sweets or fruit once a month, it made us think how lucky we were.” - Robert, Depression survivor

    People like Robert that have experienced economic depression have provided researchers with first-hand recollections of what living with less, sometimes a lot less, was like. Sharing their stories can help us avoid economic hardship, and live more self-sufficiently.

    Those who lived through the depression often gained a new outlook on life. Many survivors continued the same virtues after, so strong were the lessons learned. 

    Generally, those that went through the extreme economic conditions tended thereafter to avoid the self indulgence and immediate gratification that comes from easy access to material things. 

    Instead they reported focusing on what they considered more important - relationships with their families and community. 

    Not surprisingly, their advice and survival strategies center on a long-standing tradition of frugality, simple living, and reasonable material expectations.

    Advice From Depression Survivors 
    • Pay cash instead of adopting the credit mentality. “Don’t spend money you don’t already have in your pocket.”
    • Don't make the rich richer by giving them your money. “Don’t pay someone else to provide something that you can learn to do or to make yourself.”
    • Cultivate traditional values of thrift and frugality. “Only buy what you can’t live without.”
    • Avoid self-indulgence and self-gratification by immediate acquisition of possessions. “Give yourself a good, long waiting period before making purchases.”
    • Do not gamble with your money (stock market, real estate speculation, lotteries, get rich quick schemes, etc). “It doesn’t matter how much money you make, it matters how much you save!”
    • Work is the way to make money. "Don't be afraid of honest, hard work."
    • Ambition is over-rated. "It is enough to just enjoy and appreciate each day."

    Many depression survivors realized that good can come from bad, and meaning can come from tragedy. We have a lot to learn from their experience.

    May 18, 2011

    The Power of Small

    Sequoia seeds - small things can yield large results
    While pausing a while in the shade of a tall, red-barked conifer, I stooped to pick up a small cone from the grass. The tree was a Giant sequoia, largest tree species in the world. There was nothing very giant about the cone, considering the tree it comes from. I brought it home and put it on my desk.

    A few days later I noticed that the cone had began to open in the dry warmth of my home, and tiny, tiny seeds were falling out. I marveled at how one of the largest, and oldest living things on the planet could begin as a teeny speck that you would need a microscope to view thoroughly.

    If such a simple speck of matter can create something as incredibly massive as the General Sherman, then surely our small, individual actions are capable of wondrous, far reaching things.

    General Sherman, Giant sequoia,
    largest tree on earth

    Our small actions and efforts to live simply may seem insignificant, but their results grow and multiply, and eventually move mountains. We must not get discouraged and let what we can't do stop us from doing what we can, however small that may be.

    Remember the little sequoia seeds that are bold enough to think that they can become the largest plant on earth. Just as they can grow into a tree the size of an office tower,  our small individual efforts can grow into the better world that we envision.

    May 16, 2011

    No Gas Monday

    "About 60 percent of the oil consumed daily by Americans is used for transportation, and about 45 percent is used for passenger cars and light trucks."  - Sherwood Boehlert

    The dilemma of driving. Or flying. Or buying our food from producers in distant lands. Or relying on fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides to grow food on fossil fuel dependent industrial farms. Or conspicuous consumption.

    There is a disconnect between our actions (relying solely on fossil fuels), and our well-documented knowledge of the destruction associated with their extraction and use.

    In psychology this disconnect is called cognitive dissonance, and it causes unhealthy amounts of stress. In order to reduce the uncomfortable feelings that come from holding conflicting ideas simultaneously, we deny, and make excuses and explanations to justify our actions. "I have to _________ because __________."

    Or we confront the truth, and change our behaviour. If we know fossil fuels are globally destructive, we begin to reduce our reliance on them as soon as possible. This is a more effective way of reducing the mental confusion and stress that results from repeating behaviours we know are not good for us, our families, or the planet.

    Reducing reliance on fossil fuels = reducing cognitive dissonance and STRESS. We are happier, the planet is happier. Everyone - except Big Oil - wins.

    May 14, 2011

    Sailing And Simplicity At Sea

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  Mark Twain

    Sailboats symbolize many things I cherish - simplicity, sustainability, nature, and freedom. It was with great interest, then, that I listened to a friend tell me about his recent purchase of a small sailboat, his first ever.

    He was particularly proud of the fact that he bought his first sailboat before his first car. He is an avid cyclist, and is not planning on making that first car purchase any time soon. He won't need a car where he is going.

    My sailor friend is letting go of the shore completely, and will be downsizing to the simplicity of living at sea. In the small space of his sailboat, every nook and cranny will be packed with the most basic of gear. Only the most useful items make it on board.

    American sailor, Robin Lee Graham, was 16 years old in 1965 when he set out on a solo westward circumnavigation in his sailboat the Dove. He took 5 years to complete his journey, and when done said, "At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much."

    I don't have a sailboat, but I can view my set of possessions as the boat that carries me on the sea of life. And every once in a while, like the good sailor I am, I must assess my performance, as well as the performance of my vessel.

    Am I the captain of my own ship? Am I feeling the freedom of my journey? Am I discovering how little I need? Have I plotted a realistic path? Am I traveling light, and as sustainably as possible? Do I need to jettison anything? Am I maintaining the order, service, and discipline I require to make this passage?

    May the wind be in your sails, for on the sea of life, that wind is more dear than money. With some guidance and skill, it will safely blow you to untold adventure and discovery, while leaving the waters untainted for those sailors who will follow.

    May 11, 2011

    Eat Healthier, Pay Less Tax

    Tax-free Corn Bread fresh out of the oven

    Like that other inevitable reality, death, taxes are something that we must come to terms with. I am alright with paying taxes - it is the price I pay to live in a healthy, cooperative society. However, I do not enjoy paying taxes on food. Recently I have been trying to find ways to avoid food taxes, and eat healthier at the same time.

    Basic foods in many places, including British Columbia, are tax exempt. Basic food refers to things like milk, fruit, vegetables, and flour. Considering food is a basic necessity, it should be free of taxes. Therefore, most foods escape our newly implemented Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which is currently 12%. But not all foods escape being taxed. Generally, entertainment eating, or snack food, is taxed.

    Snack foods such as chocolate bars, gum, candy, and potato chips are some examples of foods (and I use that term loosely) that will have 12% extra added to their cost at the checkout. Considering the health problems associated with excessive snack consumption, they should be taxed. We can agree that these are not essential parts of a healthy diet. But on a couple of items, me and the tax man don't see eye to eye.

    Are plain tortilla chips a snack, or food? I have never sat down and munched on a bag of plain tortilla chips, nor have I seen anyone else doing so. However, I don't know anyone that doesn't like a big plate of nachos, which, when served with refried beans, I consider a meal. But tortilla chips are a taxed item.

    Another curiosity is with nuts. Nuts are very expensive, and I do not want to pay any more for them than I have to. That is why I was happy to discover that while salted nuts are taxed, unsalted nuts are not. Now we always buy unsalted, and have gotten used to this healthy food in its natural state.

    To get around the taxed, deep fried tortilla chips, we replaced them with a non-taxed, healthier alternative - corn meal. With this less processed, less expensive alternative I bake corn bread (or Johnny Cake), which I can serve with all the ingredients I would otherwise have put on tortilla chips. It is great with home made refried beans, burning hot baked red pepper salsa, and guacamole.

    Some taxes are not inevitable, and avoiding them may even help defer death for a while. Leave the full-tax fun foods on the shelf, and reach for no-tax, healthy, real food.

    May 9, 2011

    No Negativity Monday

    Negativity can be ugly

    If we really knew how damaging negative thoughts were, we would never have another one again. Think good thoughts. Say good words. Do good deeds.

    Have a good week.

    May 8, 2011

    Love Your Mothers

    Love your birth mother...

    ...and your Earth Mother.

    Do something nice for your moms today, and every day.

    May 7, 2011

    Ocean Veggies: Collecting Seaweed

    Seaweed - over 700 edible varieties on BC's coast

    In the place I live, next to the Pacific Ocean, seaweed is a common sight on local beaches. I didn't pay a lot of attention to it until the Japanese nuclear disaster began in March. At that time I discovered that common seaweeds can protect your thyroid from radiation damage. But that is not all.

    Ocean veggies, like their land-based counterparts, are good for you. Very good for you. They are amazing plants with many unique properties, including the profusion of different varieties. Seaweed comes in many different beautiful colours, shapes, sizes, and structures. They all taste different, too.

    Super Seaweed Facts
    • Bull kelp, which creates vast underwater 'old growth forests' is the fastest growing plant on earth
    • the seaweed you find on beaches is good for fertilizer, but not for eating - the piles of beached seaweed are past their best before date, and are only good for giving the garden a boost
    • in my immediate area there are over 200 species of seaweed, and all of them are edible
    • you do not need a license to harvest seaweed for personal use
    • seaweeds don't have root systems like terrestrial plants, and have fronds rather than leaves
    • seaweed is the healthiest plant on earth - it has huge amounts of vitamins A, E, C, and all the Bs including B12. It has all the trace minerals, zinc, iron, protein, complete fiber, and no fat
    • seaweed is rich in iodine, which gathers in the thyroid and leaves no place for radioactive Iodine-131 to bind to, preventing cancers (other parts of the body are still vulnerable to radiation, such as bone marrow)
    • seaweed is good for cleansing your body, as it absorbs toxins - it does the same in the ocean, so only collect from untainted, pristine areas (not around marinas, for example)
    • professional collectors never pull seaweed out from the end, called a holdfast (root-like structures that hold the seaweed to the ocean bottom) - the seaweed is cut from higher up so as to not destroy the plant.
    The seashore has not been enclosed yet, and remains in the commons for us all to enjoy. I am excited about being able to go out and harvest this highly useful, highly nutritious plant. But as I am developing a desire to forage freely in our wild and prolific ocean garden, there is reason for caution.

    Iodine-131 has recently been detected on the coast of BC, both in rainwater, and in seaweed. The radioactive compound that has traveled from Japan, has a half-life of 8 days. It can be expected to be arriving on our shores up to 4 weeks after the nuclear crisis ends, whenever that may be.

    The Canadian government continues to report that there is nothing to worry about. But there is. The seaweed that I was going to collect to protect me against radioactive Iodine 131 now has that Iodine 131 in it, even if 'only' in small quantities.

    I don't know about you, but I am worried about that. Disappointed, too. Seaweed is looking to me like a vast, untapped resource right on my doorstep. I want to benefit from it, but I think I will be holding off on harvesting my own seaweed for now.

    I will be eating store-bought Nori until they get the Japanese nuclear reactors under control. After that, though, I will be wading into nature's ocean garden to learn more about super seaweed.

    May 6, 2011

    Simple Living: Clothing

    When I read Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping, by Judith Levine, an otherwise interesting read was ruined when the author wrote about her clothing. Among other things, she described a sweater that had deteriorated to the point of uselessness within the time span of her one year experiment. "She's not going to make it," I thought. Her book may be about not shopping for a year, but it is definitely not about simple living.

    However, Levine did cause me to consider my relationship with clothing. When she fretted about whether her favourite expensive wool socks would last through the 365 days of her shopping hiatus, I thought about my own sock drawer.

    The socks I wear are also high quality wool, and I find it difficult to imagine what I would have to do to them to wear them out in one year. Even if they were the only pair of socks I owned. In my experience, a $12.00 pair of good wool socks should comfortably provide service for many years. Unless you are fire walking with them, or something.

    I have thought a lot about clothes, which originally were intended to simply cover and protect the body. Any budget I have seen has a generous line for clothing every month, up to several hundred dollars. Thousands of dollars per year for clothes. Are people, like Levine, wearing their clothes out extra fast? Losing them? Why is this necessary?

    Fashion is one of the most obvious forms of waste and planned obsolescence. Go to your clothes closet. Set aside enough clothes to wear a different outfit each day for a week. Wear only the clothes you’ve chosen for the next two weeks. Then consider, "What are all those other clothes for?"

    Wasting clothing does not honour the clothes, or the people who make them. It wastes our money, and closet space (not to mention psychic space). We can keep a simple selection of clothing, making sure that we wear them out before replacing them. We can learn sewing skills and repair clothes rather than toss them. We can make do with the clothes we have. We can do without fashion complicating our lives.

    Whoever joins me must be ready to sleep on the plain floor, wear simple clothes, get up early, live from undemanding nutrition and even clean his toilet.

    - Mahatma Gandhi

    May 4, 2011

    Simple Pleasures: Solitude

    Sartre wrote that "hell is other people". He must have enjoyed his solitude.

    Solitude is not looked upon favourably in our culture. Often it is interpreted as loneliness, and is therefore avoided at all costs. Instead, our days are chaotic busyness complete with flashing lights, movement, laughing friends, and a sound track with driving beat.

    However, many great things have been attributed to times of solitude. Albert Einstein recognized this, and said that the solitude which he found painful in youth, was delicious in his later years. 'Delicious' because he knew solitude was a requirement for his creative thinking. You can't add anything more to a full cup - you need emptiness first.

    But it is not just geniuses that should delight in down time. We all need moments of being alone and quiet. Time to think, ponder, and recuperate. Time to solve vexing personal conundrums. Time to lose yourself, wherever you are. Time to saunter, stroll, and meander with no schedule, and no destination. Or to be still and do nothing.

    The failing work ethic that says we must always be doing something was manufactured to keep us busy, distracted, obedient, and out of trouble. Solitude, stillness, quiet, and independent thought in such a framework are seen as aberrations and a threat. They are labeled as "lazy", or "wasting one's time", and perhaps even "dangerous", "radical" and "anti-social".

    But once we break free of such cultural programming we discover the magic in the truth of the matter. Creativity, regeneration, reconnection with nature and our selves, as well as the answers to the universe, can be found during times of solitude. Sure we need each other, but solitude helps balance us so that when we are together we can be more effective.

    May 2, 2011

    No Apathy Monday

    Come on Canadians - exercise your right to vote. 
    Today we make a difference. 
    Vote for change, not business as usual.
    Your vote matters.