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

Archive for March, 2010

Go and Do That.

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

A good friend sent this quote out this morning to myself and a few other friends. (Thank you Carter!) It’s another example of going on a search and finding messages everywhere. I’ve been searching for more of this very thing. I believe I’ve always lived this way, but I also believe that that thing inside you changes and evolves over time. It’s important to understand that and pay attention to what the messages are telling us.

Our inner and outer lives move in cycles, just like the rest of nature, so we either go with the flow or get stuck in the mud.

I am committed to and thrilled by the ever-increasing opportunities moving into our world to live more sustainably, more holistically and more happily. And I do believe that one begets the other. But I’ve reached a point when I need to go in my head and heart and hang out for awhile in a creative space that lives separately from the outer work. There’s inner work that provides that aliveness. It’s important for all of us to find it and to “go and do that.”

So, I’m going to talk less directly about being green (for now) and more about being alive. About Inspiration. Motivation. Contemplation. Liberation. What makes you come alive?

Daylight What?

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I’ve been trying to roll with it, but Daylight Savings Time is killin’ me.

On a purely physical level, I’m annoyingly sensitive to my sleep needs – lose sleep and I’ll lose energy and attitude – making parts of the day a struggle. So, I made a deal with my body. I’ll work at sleeping and rising at consistent times and you give me full-on energy during all the other hours. I had to throw in a few extras – like a good diet and exercise, but overall, it works well – I get to operate full-on most days and can even manage late night music shows once/week w/o too much trouble. My body and brain know when to wake up and when to shut down. It’s a pretty good system.

Unfortunately, the craziness of changing the clocks twice/year really messes with it. The well-laid plans, dating back to WWI – of saving fuel/energy, has not panned out. But, we humans don’t like to change or admit that we are wrong, so we keep moving clocks up and back. It turns out, our futile attempts at energy savings actually costs us more in electricity and heating and pollution emissions. These facts are no longer debated – look at this from Grist.

My body knows when to wake up, so when it’s darker and colder and actually an hour earlier, it complains a lot about being pushed from sleep before the restoring process is finished. And, that’s exactly what it feels like – making my whole self feel out of sorts every Spring. Looking at a bigger picture, it’s painful to watch kids standing at the school bus stop in the pitch dark, and I don’t really know what the farmers and other early outdoor workers have to deal with, but it can’t be helpful.

It takes me weeks to adjust, but I eventually will. Of course, then it will be Fall and we’ll do it all over again. Spring Forward? Not me.

Time vs. Timeology

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

I’m having a new relationship with Time this year. I’m no longer going to be intimidated by it. I admit to being a clock-watcher and a waste worrier, and that, I’ve finally come to realize, is a kind of slow torture and death.

Ok, I’m exaggerating a little, but I really don’t want to be a slave to the hands of a clock any longer. Although we all have places we have to be, things we simply have to do, but I’m learning to put time priority on the things i want to do and need to Be. Time that allows my whole-hearted interest and attention. So, this is more about attitude than schedules.

Rob Brezsny of Free Will Astrology recently shared his insight on the matter of Time vs Timeology:

“Last night I had a dream in which I was addressing a crowd of thousands of Cancerians in a large stadium. I was referring to them as dolphins rather than as crabs. “I say unto you, my fellow dolphins,” I proclaimed (I myself was born June 23), “that you have been given a sacred assignment by the great gods of time themselves. And that assignment is to master the art of Timeology.” When I awoke from the dream, I was awash with feelings of deep relaxation and ease, although I wasn’t sure why. I had never before heard that word “timeology,” so I googled it. Here’s how the Urban Dictionary defined it: “spending time doing what you want to do, not accomplishing anything major but also not wasting time.”

With this bit of inspiration, I’m turning my awareness of time upside down. I’m re-prioritizing. First, deciding what is vital to me each day and how I can best spend my time experiencing it and nourishing it. The rest, well, I’ll squeeze it in because those are usually the types of things that can be squeezed.

You don’t want to squeeze “vital”…

I’ve always remembered a quote with the musician, Sting. When asked how he fits daily yoga practice into such a busy schedule, he said something like, “When I practice yoga, I do everything else so much more efficiently, that I get more done.” I think that anything that inspires you, balances and aligns your body/mind can be like this. How do you do Timeology?

Of, or pertaining to, Life.

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

by Tao

“of, or pertaining to, life” …this is the definition of “vital”.

I admit it. Maybe it’s the planets stirring things up, maybe it’s Spring, but I’m starting to feel lured off into a new landscape. And there is not a hemp, organic, or recycled product anywhere. But it holds a part of me I need.

For simplicity, I’ll call it artistic Inspiration, though a musician and friend I came to know recently said it better. It is that pull towards, at all costs, what is “vital” to your very being. It comes in many shapes and forms but always involves our creativity and our passion. And it sometimes creates chaos in an otherwise orderly life.

I’ll tell and show you more about my recent inspirations. But in the meantime….

Share in the joyful chaos of Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere, producing, directing, performing, and documenting the group’s work – “causing scenes of joy and chaos in public places” – for over eight years. He is also a teacher and performer of improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC. This guy has found “vital” and I am inspired.

His missions involve just a couple people or sometimes thousands. There are dozens of videos to watch on his web site and you’ll get the idea. I especially enjoyed, “Invisible Dogs” (2000 of them!!) and “No Pants Subway Ride”.

Larry’s Beans Turns the Caffiene Business Cosmic

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

I’m always looking for inspiration and when I met my now long-time friend, Larry Larson, I hit the motherlode! Larry is founder of Larry’s Beans, which started out as a coffee company and has since evolved into a living, breathing sustainability whirlwind – with coffee at it’s core.

Larry is the perfect role model for sustainability because he understands what it takes to marry his environmental principles with his business ones, and does it with aplomb. The renovated warehouse – the “Bean Plant” – is so eco-smart and fun, he has opened it up for tours – Willy Wonka style. (Really! He is thinking of getting a velvet suit!)

This isn’t someone who has much down time, yet if you sit with him for dinner – like I have – expect a 2 or 3-hour meal with stimulating and far-ranging conversation. He is as good a listener as he is a communicator. Larry is a bon vivant who loves hiking, dancing and wine as much as he loves coffee – and composting.

Are you inspired yet? You should be! Find out more about Larry’s Beans at this recent news story, or visit the website at

photo by  (That’s Larry on the right!)

Treasured Trash for the Feet on The Beach

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

by Tao

We’re starting to shed layers here in NC. My whole body sighs a big Ahhhh, when that happens, but my feet are the most joyful this time of year. I spend yoga time barefoot, of course, but otherwise, I’m a wool socks and boots person for almost half the year. So, when warmth hits, I want to go as naked down, er, there, as possible. My latest pair of sandals came from and are made from hemp and recycled tires. Love ’em, but like most people, I usually gravitate towards the good old flip flops. (BTW – Rocket Dog has partnered with Soles4Souls to provide shoes and other relief supplies to Haiti.)

So, this art installation/shoe recycling project profiled by Oregon really floats my surfboard! Dawn Stetzel, Portland artist/entrepreneur, has been collecting lost beach footwear at beach clean-up events, making art, and now working on a line of “Beach Found Footwear”. Cleaned up and revitalized, this is definitely trash turned to treasure. Contact Dawn at

Optimism, Hope, and Being Positive

Friday, March 12th, 2010

I saw this sticker on the mirror in a restroom at one of my favorite urban coffee houses:

Patience is certainly a virtue, but unfortunately, not one of mine. So, this was a great reminder. I don’t like the fact that change happens slowly, but it’s usually true. Sigh.

So, I’ve been thinking about this for a few days. But what does being positive really mean to me when I wake up each morning?

I think it involves more than simply being hopeful. Desmond Tutu just wrote a book encouraging us to be hopeful, in which he describes hope as, “…being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  Yes. Yin and Yang. I get it. But, then what?

Optimism sounds nice too: “The tendency to expect the best possible outcome.” But some days, that’s not enough for me either.

I like the word positive because it’s more specific. It goes something like this: “Positive thinking is a process of choosing positive emotions from stimuli in the environment and applying them to perceptions and beliefs. The objective is to create an outlook that translates into a new or better chosen reality.”

Now that gives me something to work with! Change Happens Gradually. Stay Positive.

Preserve Products Introduces Gimme 5 (#5s that is)

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Most of us rabid recyclers find great frustration and a healthy dose of guilt when we end up with number 5 plastics (like yogurt tubs and clam-shell containers) that are recyclable, but have no where to go to be recycled. Arrgh! Collection is few and far between in most communities.

Once you’ve converted to all the seedlings pots you can use, how do I keep these out of the landfill where they will sit for something like a gabillion years – ? I cut way back at buying foods in this kind of packaging, but, well, it’s not fun or easy. I like yogurt! (although, I do salute my local co-op for packaging their homemade cream cheese in a single plastic wrap instead of container with lid).

Discovered the great news about one of my fave companies, Preserve Products. They have always rocked recycling when it comes to their own stuff. First it was the recycled, recyclable toothbrush and razors with easy and free mail-back bags included. Now, they’ve implemented Gimme 5 is a program taking all # 5s, as well as Brita filters. Mail back, schmail back – all you gotta do is drop at a Whole Foods Market or one of the other participants. There will still be plenty of us using ground UPS, but if you combine your stash of #5s with friends or neighbors, the cost will be very low.

Impressively, Preserve made sure the equation worked. They did a Life Cycle Assessment to prove that the benefits of keeping #5s out of landfills outweighed the environmental impacts of the shipping. And, it does.

Thanks Preserve,

A Rabid. Relieved. Recycler.

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