June 29, 2020

Why? Money!

Money is not a big motivator if you have few desires. You need much less of it. You can have some, and not spend it, yielding a safety net for hard times. Like now.

Even a life of few desires requires a basic amount of effort to sustain it, which is why simple living is not necessarily easy living. It takes less money, but not less effort.

The only way of life that is easy is The Convenient Life™. 

Convenience is easy (luxury is grotesquely easy). It costs a lot of money to make life artificially smooth like that. 

Either way, you have to expend some effort because for most of us making money is anything but easy. The average person has to work very hard for all that easy they are buying.

I would rather work at growing my own food than work for someone so I can make money so I can go to the store and buy food. 

Growing food, and all the other hard work I do to support Linda and I in our simple life is enjoyable and real. I can not say the same for most of the paid labour I have done in the past.

Money? Why? 

What good is a big pile of money if you don't want anything? We can decide to have a little pile and enjoy more time doing the things we enjoy.

While working hard. There is no way out of that. Everyone must fish for their supper, or work to make money to buy that fish.

I would rather do the fishing myself. 

June 26, 2020

We Are Born Free, But Everywhere Are Found In Shopping Malls

One thing every single human shares is that when we are born all we desire is to live a free and unrestricted life. For some, that desire is a life-long pursuit, but for a large number of unfortunate souls, the yearning to be free is extinguished and replaced with a zombie-like need to shop.

Consumers must be trained, for they are surely not born. Our greed-based system takes tiny, naked blank slates birthed into an Earthly paradise, puts them through a mental meat grinder, then abandons them in the middle of a shopping mall of things we must be forced to want.

We are schooled, trained, propagandaed, drilled, and cajoled until the nugget of that desire for freedom and the natural world remains only as a vestigial shrivelled memory, and is replaced with the desire to shop till we drop.

This is not for our benefit. Consumerism is not good for anything, except the profits of the uber greedy wealthy elite. They have to keep us shopping... forever, or their reign will end.

"Never count the consumer out", they say, "for they will always find ways to spend more, even if they have to go further into debt." 

They know that shoppers have been trained so well that they will spend their whole pay check every month, then borrow and spend more. 

If they get a tax refund, they will go to the bank and save it. Jokes. You know what they will do - that's right - go shopping. 

Get a credit card? Max it out. Inheritance, government stimulus check, cash gift from granny? Straight to the shopping mall in a futile attempt at buying happiness. We must learn that if some crap is bad, then more crap isn't any better.

Shopping as the reason for living is a reflex that we have learned since we were young and wild and free. By early childhood, our role as consumers already feels natural, but it isn't. It is the end of all things natural.

The gift the pandemic has given the world is the pause from shopping and spending money. May this be the beginning of the end of this destructive force that does nothing but put us in chains. 

Now is the time to shake off the chains, escape the mall, and unlearn our consumer brainwashing. Surely by now we know deep down in that zombie shopper heart, that there is more to life than a never ending quest for more everything. 

We are born free, but everywhere are found in shopping malls carrying around the baggage of our nature deficit disorder, to name only one negative effect of making buying stuff our number one concern.

Marketing, the propaganda branch of consumerism, spends over 1 trillion dollars a year to make sure that at least some of us will protest in the streets shouting for a return to the shopping malls where we can worship and tithe our billionaire masters. 

That is known as Stockholm syndrome - coming to love those who have turned existence into a cheap, hollow and restricted version of what life can be when lived wild in our natural state. 

Now is the time to choose freedom. Real, wild freedom, not just the freedom to have a "job" so we can shop till we drop.

That freedom can be found anywhere, in any setting, when one adopts simple living as an alternative to spending the rest of your life caught in the work/spend/borrow trap. 

What does your ideal free, unrestricted simple life look like? If it can be imagined, it can be realized. Make simple your goal, work steadfastly toward it, and you can not help but achieve it.

June 20, 2020

Solstice Garden Gifts

This photo looks from our raised bed toward the white house where
our new garden will be.

Merry Solstice and Happy New Summer. The abundant Universe just dropped a gift on us by doubling our garden space. Ho - ho - how did that happen?

This morning I received the following text from my neighbour:

"Our 8 X 16 ft raised bed garden is available if you and Linda would like to use it."

You can't have too much garden as far as I'm concerned. That was real nice, but the gifts kept flowing on this longest day of the year, itself already a precious present. 

A bit later, I received a text from a different neighbour:

"I am at work and there are 50% off vegetable starts. There are cucumber, tomato, and pepper. Do you want some? I will bring them home with me and drop them off."

How could we say no to any of it? We said yes to the extra raised bed, and we said yes to the veggie starts. We said yes (and thank you) to it all. Yes, yes, yes.

The Universe works in mysterious ways that are difficult to understand. However, I believe that it is an abundant, supportive entity that wants the best for us, and would never send anything except beneficial, supportive events into our lives.

We do have to be aware, though, when the Universe comes knocking. My initial response was to think that taking on more garden would be too much work for me. I wasn't seeing it as the gift that it is just yet.

Our new garden space looking back at our garden and house... and the van we don't drive any more.

Then another text came along from the neighbour gifting us with the use of their raised bed.

"We have 10 bags of black topsoil you can add to the soil in the raised bed. We put the bags in the garden."

Well, that clinched the deal, and I had to see the opportunity for what it was - the power of The One, working through the people around me to bring what I need. Even if I don't know I need it right away.

It is beneficial to listen to the larger system, and try to hear the messages and see the gifts that are being brought to us with each and every moment.

Merry Solstice and Happy New Summer to all of you moving into the most productive time of year. May the gifts of the Universe flow your way, and may you be wise enough to recognize them as such.

June 17, 2020

Fake Progress vs Real Progress


Progress can only be thought of as positive if it describes something that helps all of humanity reach its vast potential, while living more harmoniously with each other and all living things. 

There is no use having what is generally understood as progress if it does not meet the above goals.

How can anything that makes conditions worse be considered progress? That would be negative progress, or what I am calling Fake Progress.


- Guns/Bombs/war/militarized police.

Fake progress.

- Ending the reign of terror organized and sanctioned by the state.

Real progress.

- Consumer economies.

Fake progress.

- Cooperative economies.

Real progress.

- Building monuments to the rich.

Fake progress.

 - Toppling statues of individuals that promote the worst of humanity.

Real progress.

- Voting for change.

Fake progress.

- Taking to the streets and demanding change.

Real progress.

- Industrial agriculture.

Fake progress.

- Permaculture.

Real progress.

- World's first trillionaire.

Fake progress

- Global annual income to cover all basic needs.

Real progress

- More stuff.

Fake progress

- More contentment.

Real progress

- Increasing GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth

Fake progress

- Increasing GNH (Gross National Happiness)

Real progress

- Succeeding in a sick system.

Fake progress

- Succeeding on your own terms according to your own values.

Real progress

June 13, 2020

We Shopped And Travelled When It Was Easy - Will We When It's Hard?

Recreational shopping has been a pastime for decades. Similarly, leisure, or non-essential, travel has also been popular. That just changed. We will not be going back to the way it was before the year 2020.

Shopping and traveling were fun and entertaining for many in pre-pandemic times. When it was easy. We will not have the same zeal for spending when it is hard. 

If shoppers have to wear masks, get their temperature checked at the door, sanitize their hands, and social distance once they get in to the business, consumption won't be what it was in the spend freely days of pre-pandemic times. 

And if they continue to get infected, in-person shopping will remain a shadow of the peak consumerism days of the recent past, and likely will never come back in the same way.

Evidence for this is the largest increase in the American savings rate ever, that happened recently. When spending money becomes less attractive, savings rates increase. 

What is good for your bank account, though, is bad for the overflowing vaults of the 1%ers.

This is the capitalist nightmare - people deciding to do other more enjoyable things instead of spending their meagre funds to buy goods and services they don't need. But that is what is happening. 

All over the world humans are waking up every day and finding healthier, less expensive, and more meaningful, ways to occupy their time. Things that aren't shopping or traveling. Or traveling to go shopping.

This could be the end of many familiar things and arrangements. Will it be the end of consumerism, and would that take down capitalism, too? That would be welcome, because either we take it down, or it will take us down. That decision will be ours to make.

We have the power, that much is perfectly clear. If we won't work for them, and won't shop for their junk, what can they do? They need us more than we need them and their wasteful ways.

Our predatory psychopathic-lead system is getting morphed into who knows exactly what as the people rediscover their power to make change. Some of those changes are that we will become savers rather than spenders, and will choose the familiar home range over frivolous foreign sojourns. 

After more than a decade of watching consumer behaviour closely, I am getting the feeling that many newly re-minted community participants are tiring of spending money on non-essential things, and going in debt to do so. 

We are moving on to more important, more beautiful, more balanced concerns, and say to our former rulers and their soulless system, "Thank you for your service - we will take it from here".

June 11, 2020

Change And Transformation

The challenges to address:

* illusory self 

* inevitableness of suffering

* attachment as a common cause of suffering 

* impermanence as fundamental.

The solutions: 

* slowing down 

* living with less 

* contemplation 

* breath

* community.

There is much work to be done individually and collectively. 

It is hard, but changing and evolving always is.

Transform ourselves, then transform the world. 

June 8, 2020

Fun Spending Down, But Fun Not Over

It is not a phrase I am familiar with until recently reading it on line. Here it is: 

Fun Spending. 

It's a thing, and people are doing less of it after being financially woke by the pandemic. But that doesn't mean the fun is over.

I don't think of spending money as fun. More like obligatory and unsavoury. 

Never have I thought that having fun has to be dependent on spending money, not that a bit of money doesn't help out.

I have always tried to find fun things that are also free things. 

Here are a few of my favourites:

- Playing guitar. 

- Walking/Hiking.

- Bird watching. 

- Singing.

- Reading.

- Drawing/Art.

- Yoga/Exercise. 

- Gardening. 

- Playing card games. 

- Visiting our local park.

- Cycling. 

Make your fun things free things and you won't have to have a "fun spending" line on your budget. 

Then one can engage in a little fun saving instead.

What are your fun for free favourites?

June 7, 2020

Support The Police - Defund Them

When I met Linda 33 years ago, she was wearing a jean jacket festooned with buttons. One said, "Support The Police". Under that in small letters it continued, "Beat Yourself Up". 

It was love at first button reading.

A few years before our fateful meeting, I was beaten up by a gang of city police. Before they smashed my face into the hood of a police car, one of them told me to, "Shut up you f-ing hippy." 

I hadn't done anything wrong, except for being a teenager in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I had long hair.  But I wasn't wearing bell bottoms, and I didn't have flowers in my hair. And it was the 80s - by that time most ex-hippies were wearing suits and carrying briefcases.

No, the attack on this unlikely f-ing hippy was unprovoked. 

I can't say I was much of a supporter of the police before that incident, but I definitely wasn't after. Ever since then I have had a simple rule: avoid the police at all costs. That means that I have never phoned the police for any reason ever. 

When I was a teacher they were not welcome in my classroom. Strangely enough, no one ever complained about that.

I feel awful for anyone that has been brutalized by the authorities. The sanctioned terrorizing of everyone that isn't wealthy and powerful has gone on far too long. 

I also feel bad for those officers that are publicly dealing with deep seated problems so extreme that they are driven to random and extreme violence against the most peaceful and vulnerable among us. 

If they were children we would interpret their acting out as a loud plea for HELP.

Defunding the police would benefit all of society, the general public and the police. We would be safer, and they could get the help they so desperately need. 

Once deprogrammed and returned to mental health, they could find a more productive, less violent way to support themselves and their families.

Then we can move on to defunding the military, because those returning soldiers are demonstrably messed up, too, after murdering innocent people in the greed wars manufactured by their handlers.

The whole damn system needs a good, cleansing enema, and the state sanctioned perpetrators of violence should be the first to get flushed out.

Imagine what we could do with the combined budgets of the police and the military. Budgets that WE pay for through our taxes.

Now I find myself wondering if Linda still has that button. It could be with one of the other ones from her faded blue lapel that said, 

"Mentally confused and prone to wandering."

Yes, that appealed to me back in the day, and still does. I just want us to be able to wander in peace.

If I had a button maker I would make Linda a new, updated wearable lapel meme that said, 

"Support The Police: Defund Them".

June 5, 2020

Gardening Is Good For Everything

All seeded, including winter squash in the soil pile on the left. Also on the left -
tomatoes. Sticks are to deter cats from leaving deposits on freshly seeded areas.

With food supply chains wobbling along with everything else, there hasn't been a better time in my life I can think of to plant a garden. 

I grew up in the age of the supermarket, and my parents were not gardeners, although their parents most certainly were. As children, my parents spent time in the garden helping the family grow food during the Great Depression. 

A supermarket is not so super if it means that people grow less of their own food and become dependent on industrially produced foods of questionable quality.

The pandemic has focused our attention on what is really important. Things like planting and nurturing seeds. And eating. Plus, who couldn't use a peaceful diversion at this moment?  

A garden provides an essential service. Just like the big box grocers, but closer to home, less expensive, organic, and a whole lot more satisfying.

The pole bean structure doubles as a hummingbird rest area.

Have space? Work the soil, plant some seeds. Not much space? Get some containers and put them where you can. 

Do you live near an empty lot that is good for growing? Grab a shovel, get some seeds, and let your inner guerrilla gardener out to play. Ambush those weeds, and get started on your very own Freedom Garden. 
Or organize and pioneer a community garden.

With a little enjoyable effort you can provide relief on your grocery bill, and become more food self sufficient. Gardening can also lower you health care costs. 

Many studies completed since 2010 have reported a wide range of health outcomes, such as reductions in depression, anxiety, and BMI, as well as increases in life satisfaction, quality of life, and sense of community. 

A gardening and health meta-analysis (a study of studies) concluded,

“This study has provided robust evidence for the positive effects of gardening on health. A regular dose of gardening can improve public health.”

They found significant positive effects of gardening on the health outcomes for all groups studied.

This is second year kale that, as an experiment, I transplanted from our raised bed. They moved well, and
are thriving. We can eat from them, and harvest an abundance of seed. We will plant more when it gets cooler toward the end of summer.

Garden food is medicine food, in its production and consumption. Big Pharma wishes it had something, anything, as effective as this in promoting human health.

The world may be changing around us, but a garden will always be a garden, ready to delight, and nutritionally support a healthy simplified life that is a bit closer to nature.