February 25, 2021

Work Revisited

Someone once told me they thought I was "lazy" for wanting to quit my teaching job to live the simple life. 

They obviously had no idea how much effort it takes to live simply. At the time I didn't, either, but it didn't matter - the world of "work" was not for me.

Cooking all our own food from scratch is not easy. 

Riding a bike instead of driving is not easy.

Growing a garden is not easy.

Being a stay-at-home caregiver is not easy.

Putting up with people that think I am lazy because I don't "have a job" or "do anything useful" is not easy.

The simple life is not as simple as some seem to think. But it is also not work in the conventional sense.

Teaching was a lot of work. Too much work. Sometimes it was enjoyable work, but it was still work.

I quit.

Since then I do things that often take great effort. And yet, they do not feel like work.

Every day I get up and just do the things that need to be done. 

It is not work. 

It is life. 

It is living, like the other animals.

Blissful moment after blissful moment, followed by more blissful moments.

How many of us can say the same about our work, job, or career? 

Devoting our lives to work that is slowly crushing our will to live is "the most ridiculous thing in the world".

Wouldn't it be great if the new normal was living an "easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time"?

That would be wonderful.

February 23, 2021

Beauty In - Beauty Out

Image: Timothy Banks

What goes into the simple living pipeline?


What comes out at the end of the simple living pipeline?


Beauty in - beauty out.

Walking In Beauty - Navajo Prayer


Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me. 

I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body. 

I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me. 

I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me. 

I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me. 

I walk with beauty around me.


My words will be beautiful. 

In beauty all day long may I walk.

May we live simply and walk in beauty today.


February 20, 2021

Simple Living Alert

I have had a search alert set for the term "simple living" for the past few years. It sends simple living related links to my email, and I receive several every day. 

Most of the alerts come from China and India, cultures with an unbroken history and relationship with the benefits and logic of simple living. 

In these places, newspapers regularly run articles on simple living related topics. Often they beautifully state the case for choosing an accumulation-adverse lifestyle. 

Recently an alert from chinadaily.com caught my attention. Consumerism is newer in China, and like everywhere else, not everyone is on board. 

There "more people are realizing the benefits of 'less is more' after cutting  life down to the bare necessities". 

One new minimalist described their previous clothing addiction as "spiritually painful". After years of "buying clothes in bulk", they needed to do something drastic.

Regaining control of their life they cut their wardrobe from over 1,000 pieces to 20. 

This led them to want to continue a "reductive lifestyle" to reduce all possessions to the bare essentials.

"There are too many things that compete for our attention," they concluded, "and if we don't set boundaries, we will be very tired."

"Everyone should find their own minimalist lifestyle. You will discover many interesting things about life while experimenting."

Simple Living Alert! 

Experiment with it now. 

Discover interesting things about life.

Be less tired. 

February 18, 2021

Simplest Home Haircut

Two happy Buddhist nuns giving each other a high five because
they don't have to think about their hair.

Years ago Linda started cutting my hair at home. I haven't paid for a haircut for so long I can't even remember the last time. W
e became hair self-sufficient when I reciprocated and started cutting Linda's hair a while later. 

We both had to be brave and patient with each other at first, and it has paid off.

When we first started home haircutting we studied online resources to try to learn how to cut hair properly. It was fun, but ultimately we swept all that up in the dustpan and tossed it with our locks. 

That is because now we almost exclusively do the easiest home haircut possible. The buzz cut. 

Grab the clippers, set them to #1 setting, and cut away till its all gone. About once every 2 months.

Yes, both of us.

Not only is it the easiest haircut possible, this style (if you can call bristles a style) has all kinds of other fringe benefits.

First of all, it is very liberating to shave your locks because hair is kinda dumb and it feels great to be free of it, even if only for a while. I highly recommend trying it at least once in your lifetime.

Be forewarned, as a shorn friend once told me before my first time, "you will be able to feel a fly fart from across the room". It's true - the scalp, once free of hair, is a highly sensitive air motion detector.

Hair and hair styles are based in vanity, and corporations take full advantage of that. 

They have made us love hair on the head. It is sacred. Everyone must have some, the more the better. 

Allowing hair to grow anywhere else in any quantity is akin to embracing your inner Neanderthal. You will be shunned as such and unceremoniously expelled from the deep, dark cave we know as civilization.

These days they are even trying to strong-arm men into the anti-hair camp with the whole concept of manscaping. 

Eww, and yuck.

It's the classic "create-a-fake-problem-and-offer-a-fake-solution" thing that consumerism does in order to keep us perpetually buying crap we don't need.

That is why the buzz cut is for us. 

It is easy to do with an electric clipper, super easy to maintain with NO PRODUCT required, and best of all, it is a middle finger to the $88 billion dollar per year global hair care industry and their relentless advertising telling us how to look.

We are embracing our inner nun/monk, and removing hair hassles altogether. 

It is the simplest way to go.

Maybe wait for warmer weather before you try it for your first time. Or have a wool hat ready.

February 14, 2021

The Snow Falling

The polar vortex brought falling snow as well as cold temperatures.


I'm here-

the snow falling.” 

― Kobayashi Issa

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) wrote over 20,000 haiku. Always poor, he used the language of the mountain villages where he lived to write his poems. 

Animal tracks everywhere. Poles put in photo for scale. 

His works have a childlike simplicity and celebrated the ordinariness, and the occasional sacredness, in daily life.

Issa always found delight in the little creatures of this world.

There are little creatures in the backyard building tunnels and warm nests under the snow.

February 10, 2021

Sing and Heal

Every morning I get up at 6:00 am. After I get dressed I help Linda, then shuffle out to the cold living room and start a fire in the wood stove.

When the fire is roaring, I move on to the kitchen to do any necessary cleaning, make coffee, then whip up a little something for us to eat.

And almost every morning at some point, I hear a voice soaring out overtop all other sounds. 

I smile, because Linda is singing again. Just about every morning Linda sings. Lovely, joyous singing.

Yes, this is the same Linda that is dealing with the advanced stages of multiple sclerosis. This terrible disease has robbed her of almost everything. 

But she can still sing, and sing she does. 

Leonard Cohen told us to "ring the bells that still ring", and hearing Linda in the morning reminds me of that. 

She has left behind the things she can no longer do, and concentrates on what still works for her. What else can one do?

So she sings, sings, sings until I return to help her. I get her dressed, and manually transfer her to a wheelchair so we can get on with another day already ringing with potential.

I sing with her, if not first thing in the morning, definitely throughout the day. We both love to sing. We sing to each other, we sing to the world, we sing for the world.

Singing is enjoyable, but it is so much more than that. It is also therapeutic with many, many tested and proven benefits both psychological and physical, and it is free.

"A song a day keeps the doctors away". 

That's not really a thing since apples have already cornered that market, but it should be. My guess is singing is more healing than apples, and I love apples.

Remember, the saying is, "I'd like to teach the world to sing", not "I'd like to teach the world to eat apples."

The world needs healing in a bad way right now, and Linda could use a bit herself. So could I. Who couldn't? 

Singing is an important part of our simple health regime, and it can work for the planet, too. 

Linda could lead us all in group sing songs, on a regular basis. Just until things are better. For everyone everywhere.

She could do it from her bed, no problem.

What songs could we cover?

I nominate "You've Got A Friend" by Carole King. 

It was Carole's birthday yesterday, so perhaps we can also add "Happy Birthday" to our set list for her 79th.

“When you’re down and troubled

And you need some love and care

And nothing, nothing is going right

Close your eyes and think of me

And soon I will be there

To brighten up even your darkest night”

February 4, 2021

World Cancer Day

These foods are naturally good medicine.

Although cancer is an ancient disease, its incidence and mortality have skyrocketed in the 20th Century.

Every February 4th we observe World Cancer Day. 

The slogan this year is: 

"Create a future without cancer. The time to act is now."

The IARC, the research arm at the WHO that looks at cancer and its causes, released a list of 116 things that have been proved to cause the disease.

The items on the following list are considered by the IARC to definitely cause cancer. To create a future without cancer, we are going to have to get rid of these.

1. Tobacco smoking
2. Sunlamps and sunbeds
3. Aluminium production
4. Arsenic in drinking water
5. Auramine production
6. Boot and shoe manufacture and repair
7. Chimney sweeping
8. Coal gasification
9. Coal tar distillation
10. Coke (fuel) production
11. Furniture and cabinet making
12. Haematite mining (underground) with exposure to radon
13. Secondhand smoke
14. Iron and steel founding
15. Isopropanol manufacture (strong-acid process)
16. Magenta dye manufacturing
17. Occupational exposure as a painter
18. Paving and roofing with coal-tar pitch
19. Rubber industry
20. Occupational exposure of strong inorganic acid mists containing sulphuric acid
21. Naturally occurring mixtures of aflatoxins (produced by funghi)
22. Alcoholic beverages
23. Areca nut – often chewed with betel leaf
24. Betel quid without tobacco
25. Betel quid with tobacco
26. Coal tar pitches
27. Coal tars
28. Indoor emissions from household combustion of coal
29. Diesel exhaust
30. Mineral oils, untreated and mildly treated
31. Phenacetin, a pain and fever reducing drug
32. Plants containing aristolochic acid (used in Chinese herbal medicine)
33. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – widely used in electrical equipment in the past, banned in many countries in the 1970s
34. Chinese-style salted fish
35. Shale oils
36. Soots
37. Smokeless tobacco products
38. Wood dust
39. Processed meat
40. Acetaldehyde
41. 4-Aminobiphenyl
42. Aristolochic acids and plants containing them
43. Asbestos
44. Arsenic and arsenic compounds
45. Azathioprine
46. Benzene
47. Benzidine
48. Benzo[a]pyrene
49. Beryllium and beryllium compounds
50. Chlornapazine (N,N-Bis(2-chloroethyl)-2-naphthylamine)
51. Bis(chloromethyl)ether
52. Chloromethyl methyl ether
53. 1,3-Butadiene
54. 1,4-Butanediol dimethanesulfonate (Busulphan, Myleran)
55. Cadmium and cadmium compounds
56. Chlorambucil
57. Methyl-CCNU (1-(2-Chloroethyl)-3-(4-methylcyclohexyl)-1-nitrosourea; Semustine)
58. Chromium(VI) compounds
59. Ciclosporin
60. Contraceptives, hormonal, combined forms (those containing both oestrogen and a progestogen)
61. Contraceptives, oral, sequential forms of hormonal contraception (a period of oestrogen-only followed by a period of both oestrogen and a progestogen)
62. Cyclophosphamide
63. Diethylstilboestrol
64. Dyes metabolized to benzidine
65. Epstein-Barr virus
66. Oestrogens, nonsteroidal
67. Oestrogens, steroidal
68. Oestrogen therapy, postmenopausal
69. Ethanol in alcoholic beverages
70. Erionite
71. Ethylene oxide
72. Etoposide alone and in combination with cisplatin and bleomycin
73. Formaldehyde
74. Gallium arsenide
75. Helicobacter pylori (infection with)
76. Hepatitis B virus (chronic infection with)
77. Hepatitis C virus (chronic infection with)
78. Herbal remedies containing plant species of the genus Aristolochia
79. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (infection with)
80. Human papillomavirus type 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 and 66
81. Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type-I
82. Melphalan
83. Methoxsalen (8-Methoxypsoralen) plus ultraviolet A-radiation
84. 4,4′-methylene-bis(2-chloroaniline) (MOCA)
85. MOPP and other combined chemotherapy including alkylating agents
86. Mustard gas (sulphur mustard)
87. 2-Naphthylamine
88. Neutron radiation
89. Nickel compounds
90. 4-(N-Nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK)
91. N-Nitrosonornicotine (NNN)
92. Opisthorchis viverrini (infection with)
93. Outdoor air pollution
94. Particulate matter in outdoor air pollution
95. Phosphorus-32, as phosphate
96. Plutonium-239 and its decay products (may contain plutonium-240 and other isotopes), as aerosols
97. Radioiodines, short-lived isotopes, including iodine-131, from atomic reactor accidents and nuclear weapons detonation (exposure during childhood)
98. Radionuclides, α-particle-emitting, internally deposited
99. Radionuclides, β-particle-emitting, internally deposited
100. Radium-224 and its decay products
101. Radium-226 and its decay products
102. Radium-228 and its decay products
103. Radon-222 and its decay products
104. Schistosoma haematobium (infection with)
105. Silica, crystalline (inhaled in the form of quartz or cristobalite from occupational sources)
106. Solar radiation
107. Talc containing asbestiform fibres
108. Tamoxifen
109. 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin
110. Thiotepa (1,1′,1″-phosphinothioylidynetrisaziridine)
111. Thorium-232 and its decay products, administered intravenously as a colloidal dispersion of thorium-232 dioxide
112. Treosulfan
113. Ortho-toluidine
114. Vinyl chloride
115. Ultraviolet radiation
116. X-radiation and gamma radiation

Wow! Congratulations if you made it all the way down here.

Things like red meat that only "probably cause cancer", are not included in this list. If they were, it would have taken you many more minutes to get through.

A cancer-free future will not be attained until we also get rid of probable cancer causing agents. 

And we will not be able to invent and manufacture new cancer causing agents ever again.

We will need a whole new way of doing things if we are going to get cancer numbers down, because our entire system is cancer causing.

That is why they are focusing on treatment - because we can't really avoid the cancer in the world we presently live in. 

Plus, the profit is in treatment, not prevention. And profit is more important than a bunch of people dying. 

All you have to do to keep the profits pouring in is steer responsibility away from the sick system by blaming people for their "poor lifestyle choices".

But really, shouldn't "capitalism" be on that list of 116 Things That Definitely Cause Cancer?