the TAO of CHANGE

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

Archive for April, 2010

The Mountain Story

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Like everyone, I try to live in the present moment. But there is plenty of time that I spend wondering about what is next, how to make this or that happen and worry about, what if…? This story reminded me that our future unfolds according to our actions, projections, and energy in each present moment. We get out what we put in. So, put in with all your heart and soul. The rest just happens. Enjoy the story.

Stumbled upon this site:

A son and his father were walking on the mountains.Suddenly, his son falls, and screams:
“AAAhhhhhhhhhhh! !!”
To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain:
“AAAhhhhhhhhhhh! !!”
Curious, he yells: “Who are you?”
He receives the answer: “Who are you?”
And then he screams to the mountain: “I admire you!”
The voice answers: “I admire you!”
Angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!”
He receives the answer: “Coward!”
He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”
The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.”
Again the man screams: “You are a champion!”
The voice answers: “You are a champion!”
The boy is surprised, but does not understand.
Then the father explains: “People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE.
It gives you back everything you say or do.
Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.
If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart.
If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence.
This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life;
Life will give you back everything you have given to it.”
YOUR LIFE IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. IT’S A REFLECTION OF YOU.”

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance – and the beat goes on

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Music. Moonlight. People. Passion.

Music Festivals seem to have a life of their own these days, fed by a culture’s desire for both connection and escape – possibly in equal amounts. I arrived at the Silk Hope grounds (by bio-diesel shuttle) ready to leave it all behind, in order to find it all again.

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, once a bi-annual locally-inspired 4-day event on a rolling 72 country acres in NC, has grown into an internationally-fused tradition of music, community, and the arts. This year’s Spring festival included as many as 50 bands/performers on 4 stages from all over the country and the world. Well-organized and well-run, shows and events ran continuously and on-time, a huge amount of the waste generated was recycled or composted, and solar panels sparkled in the middle of it all.

A shining example of spontaneous and relatively sustainable entertainment and fun, there were impromptu (and sometimes all night) drum circles, poi and fire hooping, poetry jams, and other expressions of energy, including solitary morning yoga. This festival has increased in acclaim and diversity, all while maintaining it’s grassroots appeal and atmosphere, all with a big dose of sustainability.

Music. Moonlight, People. Passion. Pass it on.

Lawns – Less Than Heavenly

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

The below (source unknown) still makes laugh – and sigh. And cry. After all, it was back in 1991 that Michael Pollen, author of Second Nature, declared that lawns are “a symbol of everything that is wrong with our relationship to the land.”

Since then, we’ve realized that back and front yard gardens of vegetables and wild flowers are more both more sustainable and more nourishing than green grass. We’v learned that pesticide companies re-named plants like clover, “weeds” to sell more product and that lawn grass in general is not natural or native in most places.

So, what is our lawn status today? Well, capitalism continues as more green landscape tools, watering systems and businesses emerge, which was a start, but the idea of the “lawn” is still too alive and too well in the U.S.. Despite the fact that we know we kill 7 million birds each year – along with earthworms and other beneficial pests – with pesticides applied to lawns. Despite the fact that as the demand for potable water continues to increase, yet we are using 30% of it to water lawns. Places like Dallas, TX, use 60% – !! And, as landfill space becomes scarce, we now know that 20 – 50 % of that space is filled with yard waste – in plastic bags.

Heard enough?

Enjoy the below and pass it around your neighborhood.

GOD ON LAWNS:

God: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff? I created a perfect no-maintenance garden plan – plants that grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply. The nectar from those long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and birds. All I see now are these green rectangles.

St. Francis: It’s the “Suburbanite” tribes. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass that they go to great lengths to keep green. They begin each spring with fertilizing and poisoning the other plants that show up.

God: Grass? How boring. It’s not colorful, is sensitive to drought and temperatures. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds or bees. Well, the grass does grow fast, that must make these Suburbanites happy.

St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it – sometimes twice a week.

God: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

St. Francis: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up, put it in bags and pay to have it taken away.

God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the Summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. At least that slows the growth and saves them all that work.

St. Francis: Actually, when it rains less, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water the grass so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

God: At least they kept some trees – which provide beauty and shade in Summer, and then provides a natural blanket of fallen leaves in the Fall to keep moisture in the soil and protect the roots. A stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.

St. Francis: You better sit down, Lord. As soon as the leaves Fall, the Suburbanites rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away. Then they go out and buy something they called mulch, which they spread out in place of the leaves.

God: Where do they get this mulch?

St. Francis: They cut down trees and grind them up.

God: I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

St. Catherine: “Dumb and Dumber”, Lord. It’s a story about…

God: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

Mama Earth says, FML

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

You think YOU’RE depressed? Have you resorted to spiking your kombucha?

Think how Mama Earth feels these days. Watch the video on chatroulette.

Let’s not FML along with hers, huh? Tell her it’s not all that bad on Hopensource.org

Music Matters

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

What came first – the music or the muse?

Since the sixties and perhaps earlier, music has been linked to revolution, counterculture, the dawning of a new age. Unlike Hollywood celebrities, musicians are also referred to as artists and you know what they say, Make Love Art. Not War. Todays musical artists are no less restless, enraged and willing to speak and sing out for Change.

Grist lists 15 Green Musicians of 2007 as: Pearl Jam, The Root, Sarah Harmer, Green Day, Jack Johnson, Thom Yorke, Willie Nelson, KT Turnstall, Guster, Perry Farrell, Sheryl Crow, Bare Naked Ladies, Cloud Cult, Bonnie Raitt, Moby. How and why? Go here. This list is only a short version of the many performers playing a new green tune. In fact, late in 2007, Peter Garrett, the former lead singer of rock group Midnight Oil, was named Australia’s environmental minister.

Live Earth spotlighted this voice for change and perhaps tipped other artists into a greener arena. When you live by using your voice, your gift and your passion, it’s only a matter of time before the [CFL] light bulb turns on.

Peace, Love and Rock ‘n Roll.

Epilogue: Above is a post i wrote in 2008. I had just tapped into the idea of how much “Music Matters”. Live Earth had just happened. More and more artists were arriving on the music scene all over the world. Older mainstream artists were resurfacing (some straight out of rehab) with the same passion and energy to share and show the world.

There are still more local music shows and festivals. There is more acceptance and integration of different styles and musical genres. What I think is different is that some of the rage has been transformed to a more authentic love and lightness. Kind of a surrender to the journey. Although the world needed and still needs practical measures to bring change and healing, the music seemed to become the place to go to refuel the sacred activist within. And, I know i needed refueling.

As I said back then, this is not new phenomenon. But it is interesting that what I thought was a peak in the musical world then has risen to higher and more meaningful depths 2 years later. We continue to seek what is transformational – looking for the creative energy in the midst of chaos.

All I can say is thank the Universe.

X-Games on a Vision Quest

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

(Seeing the BMX ramp yesterday reminded me of my friend, Michael May, who I posted about (below) in 2007. Though he’s since weathered a broken wrist, elbow, and nose, he’s still following his riding bliss.)

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

I have a love/hate relationship with sports – you could call me a reformed sports addict. Although strictly amateur, I pushed and pulled myself through many athletic endeavors since puberty. In fact, discovering sports as a teenager is definitely why I survived puberty! I ran, played softball, basketball, tennis, did high jump, some gymnastics, skied and ran some more. Later, I discovered the more extreme sports like windsurfing, water skiing, mountain biking and triathlons. I found and committed to yoga just in time to save my body from injury and overuse and my mind from imploding into a ego-centric mess. We all have our journey, eh?

I’m relieved and satisfied that I moved on, staying active and outdoors-loving but finding a balance I missed earlier. I still have an ongoing admiration for the ambitious passion of most athletes (though I question the purity of professional sports) and I’m especially enamored with the people who play and/or compete with an unadulterated mind/body/nature connection. Windsurfing still mesmerizes me, as does surfing and snowboarding. Not too long ago, I connected with an especially impressive skateboard and BMX enthusiast. A quiet and focussed intensity surrounds him and he continually expresses an inspiring blend of road warrior, artist and buddha. That’s him above.

It’s not a surprise to me that the leaders in the Green movement in sports comes from the professional skateboarding and BMX community. Pierre Andre Senizergues segued from pro-skateboarder to owner of Sole Tech, an athletic shoe company with buildings powered by solar panels, including an extensive recycling progam and waterless urinals that save at least 250,000 gallons of water per year (or 2 1/2 million bottles of beer). Sole Tech is currently launching a line of sustainable footwear and apparel. This guy practices what he preaches, living in an eco-house and becoming a primary backer for Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental film, The 11th Hour.

Skateboard Professional turned guru, Frank Scura, once immersed in the traditional mainstream culture of the action sports, journeyed out (you gotta check out his wolf story!) and back in with a different perspective on himself and the world. Returning to the sport scene with a new set of ideals, he founded AESC (Action Sports Environmental Coalition) in 2001, an organization set on educating its young athletes about how they can contribute to environmental efforts and sustainability through conscious consumption. Read more about Scura’s corporate marketing strategies – “a three-prong attack on business as usual” at Grist.

He’s into “seed-planting”, not preaching, but found young people really want to hear from their heroes – people who embrace their lifestyles yet show them a way to contribute outside themselves. Scura confirms my observation that the yogic nature of what X-athletes do – the ability to be fully present – is a formula for commitment on many levels. He says, “The beauty of it is – it’s exactly what action sports needs. The ultimate punk rock rebellious act to fuck the Man and fuck the system is to be environmentally and socially conscious. That’s exactly what they don’t want you to do.”

What I saw today

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Life is creative chaos and not much is more interesting, thought-provoking and inspiring than that.

For instance, one day you walk past your neighbors driveway and it’s a driveway. The next day, a bmx trick ramp.

The Divine Frenzy of Inspiration

Monday, April 12th, 2010

How do you define Inspiration?

From the WWW:

  • arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity
  • a product of your creative thinking and work; “he had little respect for the inspirations of other artists”; “after years of work his brainchild was a tangible reality”
  • a sudden intuition as part of solving a problem
  • divine guidance: (theology) a special influence of a divinity on the minds of human beings; “they believe that the books of Scripture were written under divine guidance”
  • arousing to a particular emotion or action

Inspired by color, Wearpalettes.com, says it even better:

In Greek thought, inspiration meant that the poet or artist would go into ecstasy or furor poeticus, the divine frenzy or poetic madness. He or she would be transported beyond his own mind and given the gods or goddesses own thoughts to embody.

“Divine Frenzy” – now we’re talking. Indeed, I’m sensing a familiar restlessness that says, “Grow or go, dammit.” I have a long history of “going”, so my supposed-to-be-adult self has put a lot of effort into the growing. But sometimes, you need some of both.

Let’s sum it up like this from Creato-Destructo Imagery:

“BEAUTY IS NOT JUST IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. IT’S EVERYFUCKINGWHERE.”

Where will you go for inspiration?



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