January 31, 2022

Spiritual Consumerism

Art by Mark Henson

Colorado based artist Adrianne Tamar Arachne brings to our attention a form of consumerism we may not often recognize - that which purports to promote spirituality and self-healing.

She says,

"I’m no longer interested in any forms of spirituality, self mastery programs, success mentors, coaches, healers, spiritual thinkers, or activists that don’t ultimately lead their communities back to responsible association to tending the Earth.


The never ending quest for self-realization, personal brand mastery, self-success “soul”-preneurship all strike me as bypasses that have only served to keep us disassociated from what’s actually going on here.


Which requires us to exit the cult of individual success, whether seen through foggy spiritualized goggles or not, and get our hands dirty in the immediacy of our grounded environmental issues around us.


The world dies while we buy in to yet another charismatic voice telling us how to heal some yet unmastered part of ourselves even more deeply into narcissistic individual “success.”


The world dies while charismatics make millions on their self help platforms.


Sure.. and for that matter, Please: do your personal healing.


But if my healing only keeps looping back to myself, and doesn’t ultimately lead to reassociation with the Earth and my work to be part of it, then I’m just a casualty of healing-themed consumerism.


And still contributing to the problems that are destroying the planet."


Many years ago Henry David Thoreau pointed out that there is not much use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on. 

More recently, Adrianne Tamar Arachne implores us to ask something similar. What good is a spiritual practice if you don't have a tolerable planet to practice it upon?

January 30, 2022


There is a lot of anger and frustration today. We can turn it into peace in one simple way. How? 

The answer is forgiveness, something basic to life that is taught to us from an early age. 

But being taught it, and practicing it are two different things. In practice it is difficult, especially in a self righteous punishment based society that attempts to use our anger to divide and conquer.

I, like many, was raised on "forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing". 

And that is right. Do any of us know? We do not. 

Omniscience, or the ability to know everything, is a skill we normally attribute to the gods. No human possesses it.

If we could understand everything, we would forgive anything. 

But because we can never know the complete picture, we should refrain from passing judgement, and practice kindness and understanding instead.

Jesus taught his followers to forgive infinitely, to love infinitely. He didn't just teach it. More powerfully, he lived it right to the end.  

Buddha did not directly address forgiveness, but asked us to let go of anger because holding on to it is like "grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned". 

To rid ourselves of anger and hate, forgiveness is the way. Forgiving others, and forgiving ourselves.

We have to let it go, for our own health, and the health of our world.

Instead of dividing, the act of forgiveness and ridding ourselves of anger brings us together, and together is the only way we will ever survive as a species.

It is the only way to turn anger into peace.

January 28, 2022

5 Ways Simplicity Prepared Us For The Pandemic

The pandemic has been hard on everyone. But it has been less of a problem for some. 

I do believe that the more simple your life was before the pandemic, the less the response to the virus would have had on your life.

Say you lived in a cave, or remote cabin in the woods. How would you even know it was all going on? But not many people live in caves or remote cabins.

Although the response by governments is difficult for even ordinary simplified folks to avoid, being less hooked into mainstream society certainly provides benefits in dealing with the fallout.

In my home, the impact has been minimal. Here are a few things that have helped.

1. We quit fast food a couple of decades ago, then quit going to restaurants altogether shortly after that. Closures and vax passes have not affected us one bit.

2. We have not traveled internationally since 2001, and quit traveling domestically around 2005. Travel restrictions? No problem.

3. We quit recreational driving in 2005, then gave up car ownership for good in 2018. Good thing - by 2020 there was nowhere to go anyway.

4. Shopping for anything but the basics has been a way of life for us for many years. Now I haven't been in a store for two years... and I love it. I may never go into a store again.

5. When Linda went into a wheelchair in 2011,  we both went into a closer-to-home lifestyle. I chose to retire early to be able to be Linda's full time caregiver. It entailed making some sacrifices, but it suited our desire to live more simply. We voluntarily "locked down" far before it became a thing imposed from above. When stay at home mandates became a thing we hardly noticed.

I think it is fair to say that the more simply one lived before the era of lockdowns and restrictions on movement and everything else, the easier it has been to deal with the past two years.

That has certainly been our experience. 

Now that things have changed so dramatically in the way people are expected to live, simplifying one's life has never been more attractive.

The way things are going, restrictions are unlikely to end soon, or at all.

Increasing simplicity is a great way to lessen their impact.

January 25, 2022

Nature Is Our Everything

Linda practicing her religion on the 72 km West Coast Trail,
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, 1989.

Nature is our religion. 

The forest our cathedral.

Here we worship.

We go out and see non-human congregants,

And our hearts leap.

There is porcupine.

And grouse, spruce and ruffed.

Over there, a family of crows.

And there, the gentle deer have arrived.

Together, we rejoice in this wild place.

Praise Nature!

It is everything,

and we will do anything to protect it.

Thank you,

for this very day.

Without you, 

we are nothing.

January 22, 2022

Thich Nhat Hanh Moves On

Today we read that our favourite living Zen Buddhist monk had moved on from this physical existence.
HANOI, Vietnam -- Thich Nhat Hanh, the revered Zen Buddhist monk who helped spread the practice of mindfulness in the West and socially engaged Buddhism in the East, has died. He was 95. 


What a human, and what a life. He taught us a great deal, and since his teachings survive, he will continue to teach us much, much more in the years to come.

This Zen Master is not dead if he continues to exist in me, in you, and in the Universe. 

And thankfully, he does. No birth, no death.

Rather than being sad, Linda and I celebrated this incredible man's passing with a meditation, and by shaving our heads in a sign of humility and respect.

Thank you Thich Nhat Hanh. We are better, happier, more compassionate people because of you. 

We learned from you that there is no way to happiness, because happiness is the way.

Because of you, we have made it our way.

January 20, 2022

Dr. Mother Nature's Cure

Untracked pristine snow.

When Dr. Mother Nature sends a major storm that dumps 50 cm of snow in the valley behind our house, I interpret it as her prescribing a snowshoe adventure to heal my soul.

I never hesitate to take her medicine, and get my butt out there, pronto.

A deer rode out the storm right here.

After a couple of hours of floating through great heaps of puffy powder I am as good as new once again. This is my Great Reset.

Snow, snow, snow.

This treatment is not experimental. 

Although it has been tested over thousands of years, I have personally been testing Dr. Mother Nature's Cure for many decades and have found it to be 100% safe, and 100% effective.

No nasty side effects.

I often make this peaceful cabin in the woods my destination.

Thumbs up for Dr. Mom, the best doctor around. Another healthful, satisfied patient.

Me, as right as rain... frozen rain that is.

January 17, 2022

Frustrated? What's The Plan?

If you are to believe the corporate media machine (and why would you?) everyone is increasingly frustrated these days. At what you may wonder.

Is it corruption? Bought and paid for politicians? Corporate malfeasance? Environmental degradation? Historical inequality? A disappearing middle class?

Seemingly not.

Is it with people living 4-planet lifestyles? How about billionaires that want to escape Earth and leave behind all the problems they created for the rest of us to deal with?

That's not what is being reported.

Maybe it is with the illusion of democracy that is more theatre than reality?


Surely we are frustrated with endless wars that spend our precious tax dollars and slaughter millions of innocent civilians around the world. 


What about politicians that hesitate to do anything meaningful about all the above issues?

Nope, apparently it isn't that either.

My question is, "Why not?"

Maybe we are being hoodwinked and misdirected from the really important stuff in order for business as usual to proceed. Maybe we are being lied to over and over and over again.

Scapegoating is as old as politics itself, and by now we should be very keen in recognizing it and calling it out.

Maybe everyone should really be frustrated with themselves for allowing all this to go on unchecked and unchallenged.

Or maybe, just maybe, everyone is frustrated with being frustrated.

The cure for frustration is to have a comprehensive plan based on the truth in order to make meaningful changes. 

So my question is, "What's the plan?"

The answer to that will be found in our own hearts, and certainly not in the corporate media machine.

It is time to see beyond the self-serving propaganda, look within, then take action.

Only then will our frustration melt away.

January 14, 2022

The Wise And The Stupid

Do not be concerned with who is 
wise and who is stupid.  
Do not discriminate the 
sharp from the dull. 
To practice whole-heartedly 
is the true endeavor of the way.  
Practice-realization is not 
defiled with specialness; 
it is a matter for every day.
- Dogen (1200-1253)

January 12, 2022

My DIY No Energy Cold Drawer

Imagine having a drawer in the kitchen with absolutely nothing in it. Who has that? 

I did, and I decided to do an experiment with what is a rare commodity in any kitchen, or home - empty space.

Taking an off-grid mindset, I have been experimenting with no energy refrigeration. Storing our garden AND store bought vegetables in our unheated attached garage is one example. 

We keep all our onions, garlic, potatoes, apples, beets and carrots in our garage throughout the fall and winter, and this has been very successful. 

More recently, I turned my attention to the empty kitchen drawer which is in an enclosed and therefore relatively unheated space under our countertop.

I wondered if it would be cool enough to store things that would normally be on our countertop at room temperature, in our garage, pantry, or in the fridge. 

It turns out to be more of a "cool" drawer than a cold drawer, but it still works. 

With the house at about room temperature (20-ish degrees Celsius is where we like it), my cool drawer temperature was only 14 degrees. 

The colder it is outside, the colder the cool drawer is, so like our garage, it will probably only be a two or three season solution. 

So far we have use our cool drawer for short term storage for small servings of apples, garlic, onions, potatoes, and recently a winter squash (that we will use for a lentil curry dish today). 

The under counter cool drawer is more convenient than going into the pantry or garage, and uses less energy than the fridge. It is also better for things we usually keep on our countertop like bananas and tomatoes.

After my experiment I went online to see if there was anything like this done by someone else. I found nothing like it, except for devices I have never seen before.

There are actual, official appliances called cold drawers, or fridge drawers. Who knew? Apparently only architects and rich people with fancy kitchens.

"Real" cold drawers are mini refrigerators that are installed under countertops, and can cost anywhere from 1 - 6 thousand dollars. 

Even though they are nicer looking, larger, colder, and can be used year round, all of them require energy to work.

Mine was free, requires no energy, and I invented it all on my own.

Best of all, it works.

January 7, 2022

Recovery Is Possible

I have often thought about why more people don't pick up the mantel of simple living when we can clearly see that continuing the madness of consumerism leads to ecocide. 

When we see society and the environment breaking down, why don't we join the fight to save it en masse?

Charles Mackay, in his 1841 book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds gives some clues. 

"Humans, it has been said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."

Not so long ago many humans left their simple ways behind and went mad for consumerism. We are reaping the results of that madness now.

Will we recover our senses in time to create a mass movement to save ourselves and our planet from the greed for profit and power that is taking over our lives and ruining the only inhabitable planet in the known Universe?

Only time will tell. 

However, I am deeply thankful to those individuals that recovered their sense one by one, and are speaking out against the horrors we are currently living through.

Or, hopefully living through.

We can thank those that have never left the simple life, as well as the voluntarily simplified that are fighting for all that we hold to be dear and true.

Those people are evidence that recovery from our propaganda-induced madness, whether it propagates consumerism, war, or medical apartheid, is possible, and that a better life awaits us when we don't passively give in to the lies.

"We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it..."

When about 10% of a population moves in a particular direction, that movement starts to attract attention. More of the 90% start to adopt the new way, and as more join, even more are stimulated to move in that direction.

Choosing to see the facts, and changing our behaviour accordingly, can help move us all toward saving ourselves.

Recovery from our illusions is possible.