a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Archive for May, 2008

Popular Topics and Reposts

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

I recently passed the one year anniversary of dedicating my time, thoughts and passions to The Way Of Change, via this blog – over 300 posts…and the amazing thing is that I’m not in danger of running out of news and ideas which can bring us toward a more sustainable and happier life. Change is definitely a’foot, we’re pushing the iceberg and catching the wave. It’s time now to say to ourselves, “It’s not a matter of who is going to let [us] do it, but who is going to stop [us]. (quote compliments of the ever-controversial Ayn Rand.)

I’m still in Minneapolis with family and unable to do the amount of research needed for new posts. Instead, upon special request from my twin sister, I’ve decided to repost some popular topics from the past year. I began yesterday with information on the earth and user-friendly menstrual cups (see below).

I’d love to hear from you regarding topics, ideas or news that you would like to hear about again, so that I can choose my reposts productively as well as address new topics of interest. Please send your thoughts? Thank you!

Remember that you can use the Search bar to read past posts and that you can Subscribe to new posts by email with one click at the right-hand side of the page. At the bottom of every post, there are also options for Permalink, Email to a friend, or Share posts with other networks like Digg or Hugg.

Thanks for Being The Change with me. Tao

Our Bodies, Our Planet, Our Health

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

My mom is still fighting cancer. I’m going back to Minneapolis today. I’ll be posting as regularly as possible over the next week. Stay with me. And please take a moment to read the message below. Thanks for visiting and for all your comments. Tao

Below is an important message sent from Mike Cherubino, who has cancer. He is sharing what he has learned about how what we eat and breathe affects our health. I’ve printed it in partial form, but if you want to see the entire piece, please contact me, since Mike is anxious to help people through his experience. Tao

Fighting Lung Cancer (or helping to prevent it), a “two-step” approach. By Mike Cherubino

(Introduction and disclaimer: What I am presenting is a life-style design that I have developed to battle and to eradicate the lung cancer that has invaded my life. Please recognize three key facts:

• I am not a medical doctor and the goals suggested are based on the theories of a cancer patient not a trained medical provider.
• Each person has a very unique individual chemistry; you must take both your own physiology and (if ill like me) your own specific type of cancer into account.
• I AM NOT a five-year survivor, but am still fighting this disease – this is not a testimony to a successful process.)

Actually, I am writing this to help my three children live a healthier and longer life, as well as to nurture friends from my cancer support group. It’s based on the simple but provocative theory of “paying attention” to two key elements of our lives – the air we breathe and the food we eat. Much of my two-step method is based on this idea. It’s all about protecting your immune system.

The air that you breathe – step one.

1.You cannot under any circumstance – smoke “anything” nor subject yourselves to second hand smoke – period. This means sitting and standing in public (or private) places that allow this un-healthy and deadly activity.
2. You must carefully remove those cleaning agents we all use in our homes and work place that contain deadly ingredients. A visit to a health food store or organic food store will offer many of the alternative cleaning items that are health essential.
3. You should have your home tested for Radon gas. There are many testing methods and they become very important if you are inflicted with lung cancer as I am. We have installed a radon abatement system and a continuous radon monitor in our home.
4. You should spend the money to purchase an air filtering and cleaning system for your home and your work office if possible.

The food that you eat – step two. Mike’s Ten Rules of Healthy Eating.

1. If possible become a vegetarian. If you must eat a little red meat PLEASE make sure it’s organic. And try to reduce your red meat intake to two-three ounces a serving.
2. Eat as many whole grains, nuts, a few raw fruits and many raw vegetables as possible each day – strive for 70% of your food intake to be “raw”. Eat raw foods first –then cooked food second during your meal.
3. Add three meals a week of “cold water” fish – salmon, tuna, halibut, bass, cod, haddock are all great tasting cold water fish.
4. Eat fruit alone – do not eat fruit with meat, starches or vegetables. Start your day with fresh fruit and fruit smoothies.
5. Eat five of the cancer fighting vegetables every day. Choose from these super vegs…beets, spinach, romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, squash, red cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower.
6. Eat as much as you can of these fruits: red cherries, strawberries, blue berries, mangos and blackberries, HOWEVER IF YOU HAVE CANCER –DO NOT EAT BLACKBERRIES AND RASPBERRIES –they have too much sugar.
7. Add some yogurt – low fat organic only – to your breakfast.
8. Drink your smoothies and only tea and water – pure water 40 ounces a day and as much green tea (white if possible) as you can both hot and/or cold. Do not drink diet colas. Do not drink fruit juices – they have too much sugar. Cancer feeds off sugar!
9. Never eat non-fat, low fat foods with substitute fats like margarine.
10. Stay away from processed sugar and processed foods.

Finally, this is a load to think about but it only truly affects the physical side of your life. So much has been written and articulated about the mind-body connection. We ALSO need to do all we can for the intellectional and emotional dimensions. Keeping stress free and at peace is a huge part of total health. PLEASE RIGHT NOW and forever more – forgive every single person who has done you harm or just makes you mad or bitter. And, in addition I personally believe we should nurture our spirituality as well by praying.

Pets More Toxic Than Humans

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Our pets face huge challenges in a toxic world. While we try to drink filtered water and eat organic food, our pets are most often subjected to large amounts of toxins on a daily basis, stressing their immune systems, organs and overall health. Recently reported on Grist, blood and urine samples of cats and dogs showed higher contamination than humans, with evidence of at least 48 chemicals, including pesticides, mercury, fire retardant and those from plastics.

Many toys made with chemicals pose a surprising threat to your pets health, especially to dogs, who chew vigorously and extensively on plastics toys that release toxins into their systems. Although playing fetch with tennis balls and frisbee is fun exercise for your faithful companion, don’t allow prolonged chewing on these items. Better yet, skip the plastics all together and supply your pet with natural or naturally-made toys. Check out

While your at it, stay clear of bedding made with petroleum-based or other toxic materials – splurge on the good stuff made from organic fabrics. You’ll be protecting fido and you while supporting a shift to a safer textile industry.

My herding dogs run a lot and end up drinking from creeks and puddles to rehydrate when we’re hiking. Bringing water along on hot days is helpful, but here’s a tip that really works. Before we go out, I offer a big bowl of “baited” water – with organic raw milk or broth in it. My dogs get pre-hydrated this way and are not as likely to indulge in street puddles or creeks.

Organic and higher quality foods are becoming more readily available and hopefully will become less expensive as demands increase.There’s a lot of information available online since the recent recall of contaminated pet foods that caused the death of many pets. Find the food that fits your needs as well as your dogs. I urge a diet of as much human-grade raw food as manageable – I also use high quality products from Halo, Innova and Solid Gold.

They are worth it.

Healing Happens – and River Runs

Monday, May 12th, 2008

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

As a student and teacher of yoga, I always tell my students that half of what we learn and do in a yoga practice is a result of our efforts. The other half just happens.

I’m compelled to share this story involving my dog, River, because it demonstrates our human potential on all levels. Just like in yoga practice, sometimes we need to tap into something bigger to complete what we do on a conscious level.

Bonnie Illies is an animal medical intuitive and healer. Rather than try to explain that, I’ll tell you River’s story.

River, my Cattle Dog, loves to run – hard and fast. One day, at full speed, she became tangled in a vine and the result was a torn ligament in her back leg – not a hopeful diagnosis for a herding dog. After 4 months of orthopedics visits, supplemental and physical therapy, her condition continued to worsen. Facing a dire prognosis of increased, long-term pain and/or extensive surgery, confinement and rehabilitation, I turned to Bonnie for help.

Bonnie lives 1,000 miles away. On the phone, rather than asking me to explain the problem, Bonnie told me to wait while she “checked in” with River. She came back to the phone and told me that River had pain in a back leg. Surprised but impressed, I didn’t need to hear much more. Bonnie scheduled a healing “session” with River for the next day, asking for a time when she would be quiet and at rest.

I came home that evening filled with curiosity. Although my dog was slightly favoring her bad side, for the first time in 3 months, she was not limping. I called Bonnie, excited and hopeful. She recommended a second session for the next day.

The next night, I returned home to a dog that ran to the door to see me without any visible sign of discomfort. I immediately took her outside and she raced around the yard. I watched nervously. Nothing – just a happy, healthy dog. I called Bonnie, thrilled but hesitant about letting her run too much too soon. But Bonnie said all was well – she was healed. The next day, River and I ran 4 miles through the woods – and has been doing so every day since then.

If your animal is sick, distressed or injured, Bonnie can help. She has been specializing in medical intuitive/healing work since 1998. Visit her website and read other testimonials from across the country at

My own experience has not only helped my dog but helped me have faith in our abilities as human beings to heal each other and the planet.

Kahlil Gibran on being a parent

Friday, May 9th, 2008

By Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet —

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Happy Mother’s Day. Tao

Swap Before We Drop

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Over several years, I’ve been taking big, bold, practical and fun steps out of the death-grip of a consumerist-dependent lifestyle. It feels good and I will not try to tell you why (today), I’ll ask you just to trust me that it does. It has something to do with giving away what you don’t need, wanting what you already have, breaking the ties of conformity that bind us, being creative, being smart and having fun. That’s where SWAPPING comes in.

Thrift-shopping, vintage shops, yard sales and Craig’s List sustain me in most of what I want and need, whether it’s fashion, furniture or recreational supplies. I save a lot of money and always seem to find what I need – always – and am satisfied I’m not dipping into our resource reserves. (And it IS fun – just last month, I reconnected with an old friend when I bought his used bicycle rack on Craig’s list!)

But then there are the books. I know I’m not alone – many people share my bookaholicism. So, I visit used book stores a lot, but get impatient waiting for newly released reads. In fact, I’m perfectly happy to let that oscar-winning film get to dvd, but a book just can’t seem to wait – and Amazon knows it – which my credit card will reveal.

SwapTree is my 12-step program – but in 4 steps or less. At, you can trade books, cds, dvds and video games easily and for free. Your only cost is shipping your items but wait – keep reading – they make is super-easy because they calculate and send a postage label online – you simple print it out. Even better, when using the media mail service rates, you can usually ship for under $2.50.

How does all this work? You list by UPC code what you have and what you want and you receive a list of everything available that you can trade. This saves you time searching for available items. A book junkie like me also loves to read comments and join discussion groups about certain books and topics, so I get my fix and then some. SwapTree will also provide you with latest staff picks and most wanted lists so you can keep up without having to read the NY Times Book Review each week. Ok, maybe I’ll still do that…

Swapping makes sense – less resources making less stuff, less stuff in landfills and sitting unused on shelves. I’m signing up today and I’ll report back soon.

Work For Change

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

A lot of people are addressing a new “green” issue – the “why bother?” question that looms over our daily lives as we try to balance the status quo with needed changes, work with play, fear with faith. We don’t have much time. Change has to happen quickly or – well, big changes will be upon us quickly. Is Change something we learn to do or something that just happens? I say a lot of both.

Life is like a big jigsaw puzzle. We’ve dumped the pieces out “on the table” and at first, it feels overwhelming, even impossible to begin to put things in order. So we spend some time looking at and working with a few pieces and we’ve even fit a few small ones into place. But those few pieces aren’t enough – we have to keep going back to the pile. We are seeing a glimpse of something that is beautiful, even when there’s also something daunting about looking at all that is left in that pile. The work itself keeps us focused on the beauty – and we keep coming back for more. Some days we throw up our hands and walk out the door, but, we know we’ll be back.

We need to approach our efforts towards a more sustainable life just like this puzzle – knowing that we are working on something bigger and that the process itself is all we have. You know, something like “be here now”. It all starts by looking at and working on a few small pieces. Small, continuous work and actions matter because they lead to bigger actions, new ideas and perspective. More importantly, perhaps, is that they give us a feeling of participating in change – of living, if just slightly, outside ourselves. When this happens, we bring our innate qualities to the surface – of compassion, truth and wisdom – in other words, who we are, what we see and what we know. We are able to tap into our intuition, finding a balance between what we see outwardly and what we see outwardly – all tools to get the real work done.

Remember what we are capable of – and these wise words: “If we did all the things we were capable of doing, We would literally astound ourselves.”

Thomas Alva Edison

Ode to the Bandana

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

by Jerry Stifelman, Carrboro, NC

It’s is a classic. Yet not a preppie, establishment classic. It’s an outside classic. A rebel classic. It works for Hell’s Angels, Outward Bound instructors, rock guitarist,s and earthy hipsters.

It can be called upon to be a handkerchief, a napkin, a hat, a headband, a hair tie, a pants tie, a dog leash, an SOS flag — or as an actual bandana.

Carry a bandana everywhere. You’ll never need to harm trees by using paper napkins. Great for bad hair days. You can also use it to disguise yourself or to protect your hands when sliding across a quickly rigged zip line. (All action heroes should carry a bandana.)

THE TAO OF CHANGE [the way of a better world]

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