the TAO of CHANGE

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

Archive for the ‘psychology’ Category

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?

Cold, Creative, and Happy

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

With the exception of the location of Winter Olympics, many of us have been in a long, cold Winter. I like to think I’m a tough native Minnesotan. I know how to dress for the cold – inside and out – I keep my thermostat between 55 – 65 degrees most of the time. We also have a wood-burning stove and do our best to huddle around that when possible. But I’m beginning to see the light on this whole heat-cold/comfort thing through some really creative, enduring people of all ages and avocations.

I recently met someone in Vermont who is currently living in a tiny cabin w/o any heat and he shared this story of other cold lovers up North. “Chilled By Choice” profiles people embracing the cold both indoors and out, for reasons ranging from frugality, to environmentalism, to creative inclinations. We’re talking about full-on Winter here, and I admit I’m somewhat astounded and admiring, but also strangely, a little envious – I’m not sure I have what it takes to be in their shoes – or thermals.

I’m mostly drawn in by their matter-of-fact enthusiasm over the whole thing. No heroic claims in the bunch. There’s the 56yo sculptor in NY, who says he could insulate his roof for more warmth, but it would hinder the acoustics of the place and he listens to a lot of music. There’s the 21yo artist and his five roommates who love their unheated warehouse where they live and perform on their own stage. Then there’s the author in Pittsburgh who opened the Cyberpunk Apocalypse Writer’s Co-op and retreat – heat not included. His house has a furnace, but it mostly stays off. Another 53yo woman lives in a stone house at 7,000ft, and embraces the seasonal temps by opening the windows year-round – and dressing right.

Cold House Journal follows the story – and the temps – day and night up in Maine, where a couple humans and a few cats live furnace-free and light the wood stove when necessary. Their thought-provoking and informational blog sheds light on the whole experience, while including a hard look at the cultural and political influences when it comes to heat. This curiously cold guy makes a case for adaptability, acknowledging our “heat addiction” and in general, looking for a way to “dismantle the Home Heating Industrial Complex”.

There seems to be an common thread here – I hear a creative and committed voice in these people – and a kind of detached contentment. Like when one of the roommates in the Baltimore warehouse admits that they sometimes miss a warm Winter house but, “Then we remember how wonderful it is to be living with five other best friends and making art and how it will get warm eventually.”

Can’t argue with that.

Even bin Laden believes in global climate change

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

by Tao, Carrboro, NC

It would be so convenient – a real relief – if I were to simply tell myself that global climate change is not happening, or, at least, that humans are not the cause and we can’t do anything to change it. Then I’d be off the hook and worry a lot less. That would work for me. But, it wouldn’t be the truth.

This is all I can think of to say to the people who insist on denying what is happening to our environment and the role our industrialized lifestyles play in it (George Marshall explores that topic here.) Then again, I could always point out that even Osama Bin Laden believes in the impact of global warming. This from Grist.org, via Agence France-Presse:

“All industrial nations, mainly the big ones, are responsible for the crisis of global warming,” bin Laden said in the message attributed to him by the pan-Arab news channel based in Doha.

In an unusual message possibly timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, he warned of the impact of global warming by saying that “discussing climate change is not an intellectual luxury, but a reality.”

I know – the irony of it all. Especially considering bin Laden’s fortune comes from oil, and, well, terrorists are not usually members of GreenPeace. I’m not trying to bolster his image in any way, but, just sayin’…

It would be so simple to just decide that we don’t need to make changes – big ones. But, as it turns out, denial is built in to our human nature, as described, in part, below. Pay extra attention when you reach the last two lines…..

In 2001, George Marshall wrote a great story about this state of mind. Here’s an exerpt: In, States of Denial, Knowing About Atrocities and Suffering, author Stanley Cohen argues that this capacity to deny a level of awareness is the normal state of affairs for people in an information-saturated society… According to Cohen’s definition, denial involves a fundamental paradox – that in order to deny something it is necessary at some level to recognise its existence and its moral implications. It is, he says, a state of simultaneous ‘knowing and not-knowing’.   Read more here.



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