I believe we can be anyone

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best to make you like everybody else is to fight the hardest battle you can fight--but never stop fighting! E.E. Cummings

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I Love About My Body

What if you could look in the mirror and love what you see?  And I mean, every luscious, curvy and lovely part of you.

What are the things about your body you love?

Sadly, these are sometimes surprisingly difficult things for women to answer.  I have come across this more than once in my classes.  When I ask women to do an exercise around what they love about their bodies, they sometimes struggle with coming up with something.  Some women can find nothing, some can find a couple things, some quite a few things and once in a while I come across someone who says they love everything about themselves. 

How awesome would that be, if we could all get to that point?  What will it take for women to heal this part and love themselves?

A few months ago I came across an article in Shape magazine called "What I Love About My Body".  It was a good article in that it got me thinking a little differently about my own body.  I hope some of the excerpts I'm about to include in this article will help to give you a widened perspective of your own body too!

"The key to a more positive self-image:  make friends with your mirror.  Take a cue from these six women who have learned not only to accept their bodies, but to embrace them - one remarkable part at a time."  (As told to Chryso D'Angelo February 2010 issue of Shape magazine)

"My arms remind me where I came from - and where I'm going." 
Marlo Kovach, 32

"My top lip is brown, like my complexion, and my bottom lip is a mix of pink and brown spots.  My lips aren't perfect, but they're perfect for me." 
Michelle Grace, 42

"When I look at the scars on my belly, I know I can handle anything life throws at me." 
Maggie Vanbuskirk, 25
"While they may never be featured in an ad for lotions or rings, my hands have enabled me to help soothe and calm the people I love." 
Eva Bridget, 48

"My legs have taken me farther than I ever thought I could go." 
Joanne Ambas, 34

"Instead of worrying about how my breasts look in a particular outfit, I consider them a beautiful and integral part of me." 
Mara Bragg, 34

Shifting how we perceive and think about our bodies can help us to love our bodies more.  No matter where we are at in our lives, we can start to love ourselves more each day.  Be grateful for all the things our bodies do for us over the course of our lives.

"I love that my feet take me wherever I need to go.  I feel blessed that I can walk, ride my bike, dance and feel the grass between my toes." 

What do you love about your body?  Would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

She Danced









She was not AFRAID of ALONE



She ASSISTED lives



Author:  Unknown

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself

Below is one of my favourite poems by Patricia Lynn Reilly http://www.imagineawoman.com/home/imagine-a-woman-in-love-with-herself-embracing-your-wisdom-and-wholeness which I have handed out to hundreds of women over the years that have taken my dance classes and workshops.  It's a powerful poem and a beautiful dream that I would love to see manifested for women everywhere.  Just imagine.

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is woman.
A woman who honours her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who has acknowledged the past's influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates her body's rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who embraces her sexuality as her own.
A woman who delights in pleasuring herself.
Who experiences her erotic sensations without shame or guilt.

Imagine a woman who honours the body of the Goddess in her changing body.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her precious life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who has access to the full range of human emotion.
A woman who expresses her feelings clearly and directly.
Who allows them to pass through her as gracefully as a breath.

Imagine a woman who tells the truth.
A woman who trusts her experience of the world and expresses it.
Who refuses to defer to the thoughts, perceptions and responses of others.

Imagine a woman who follows her creative impulses.
A woman who produces original creations.
Who refuses to color inside someone else's lines.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.
A woman who trusts her inner sense of what is right for her.
Who refuses to twist her life out of shape to meet the expectations of others.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine a woman who has grown in knowledge and love of herself.
A woman who has vowed faithfulness to her own life and capacities.
Who remains loyal to herself.  Regardless.

Imagine yourself as this woman.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lessons from a Homeless Man

One of the things that gives me joy is spontaneous interactions with people.  You never know what is going to happen.

I was walking home from getting a couple items from Shoppers Drug Mart the other day.  As I crossed the street, an elderly homeless man with whitish grey hair, a full beard, wearing a bright red kangaroo jacket and I "collided". 

He said, "Excuse me miss, but I'm campaigning for Mayor and am wondering if you could help me out with some fundraising." 

Well, that made me laugh out loud.  What a great and original line!  I said "You have my vote.  But I don't have any cash on me right now."

He says, "That's okay.  I also have a machine."

I laughed again.  We walked together for a block and chatted.  I offered to buy him a tea or something as we were walking by Steeps but he didn't want tea.  He said "Yuck, no thanks.  I'm just interested in booze."   As we parted ways I blew him a kiss adieu.

At least he was honest about what he wanted and what his needs were which is more than I can say for most people, including myself at times.

Sometimes I find it's still difficult to ask for what I need or want.  Why?  Well mostly it's fear.  Maybe I won't get it or maybe the offering will be rejected.  I know it "shouldn't" stop me but it still does at times.  But who knows, maybe someone will say "Yes" so what the hey then!

Is that going to stop this guy from asking?  Probably not.  Nor "should" it you or I.

Sometimes I learn more from interactions with "homeless" or so called "poor" people than anyone else.  Don't discount or judge them just because they are on the street.  You don't know their story or how they got there.  They deserve love, kindness and a listening ear from time to time like anyone else.  And who knows, maybe you will learn something from them!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Meeting with Lynne Twist

I wasn't prepared to be as affected as I was by going to see Lynne Twist on October 5th.  I mean, I "should" really know myself better by now.  My heart was deeply touched by the stories she shared about her life experiences; especially the one about when she met Mother Teresa.

I knew when I got the email about her coming to Calgary that I needed to be there.  I first saw her "speak" on a DVD by the name of "Crude Impact".  On the extras of that particular DVD were interviews with her and her husband Bill Twist.  I was completely blown away by her thought provoking and paradigm shifting philosophy.  To see her live is a completely different experience, being in the presence of her energy.  The DVD was and is powerful though because it was "enough" for me to want to see her speak live.

Below is a trailer for Crude Impact.

Below is a link for the DVD Crude Impact including interviews with Bill and Lynne Twist which you can purchase from their site.

I had expectations of seeing her speak on stage but none of the possibility of actually going up to meet her and speak with her face to face which was a pleasant and exciting surprise.  Along with hearing her speak, we received her book "The Soul of Money" http://www.soulofmoney.org/.  I waited in line to get my book signed.  I was a blubbering mess when it was my turn.  And those of you that know me know, that is just what I do.  When I am moved and touched to the core of my soul, my heart is open and emotions pour out. 

Lynne and I at the book signing.  What a beautiful human being.

Mother Teresa was and is her role model.  I told her yes, she is mine too.  But so is she (Lynne) and I shared that with her.  While there have been a few women role models, there haven't been a lot of them I'm sad to say.  Lynne is such a strong, authentic, grounded, honest, powerful and humble woman. She is someone I would consider being mentored by.  But in the meantime, I would look up to her as a role model of how I would like to be and continue to grow into.

"Be the change you want to see in the world", as Ghandi said.  I really get what this means.  All I can do is continue to make positive changes in my life and hopefully that will inspire others to do the same, just like Lynne has done for me.  I would like to believe that fundamentally people want what is best for themselves, the planet and us a community.  I want to believe that people will wake up and do what is right. 

Lynne and her husband created The Pachamama Alliance http://www.pachamama.org/ which is dedicated to preserving the tropical rainforests.  Lynne shared one of her stories about her trip to the Amazon Rainforest where she met the Pachaur Tribes. 

The Tribes mentioned that we in the West have created a nightmare for ourselves and have veils over our eyes to the truth in our current culture.  It's time to lift those veils and awaken to the truth so that we can make changes to create a sustainable way of living.  This includes living within our means (and not accumulating debt) and not continuing to contribute to the overconsumption of products.  Our way of life in the West has become a place where throwing away things has become the norm.  This has huge repercussions.

A consumer is described as:  an individual who buys products or services for personal use and not for manufacture or resale.  A consumer is someone who can make the decision whether or not to purchase an item at a store and someone who can be influenced by marketing and advertisements.  I would also describe consuming as the act of continuing to fill a hole in our souls that can never be filled with enough stuff.  That hole can be a longing to be a part of something bigger in our lives.  A life filled with purpose, meaning, community and doing things we love and enjoy.

I am not a religious person but I do believe we are spiritual beings that are connected to each other.  What one person does affects another.  I pray that we awaken and realize that how we are living needs to change and that there is a better way.  One that allows us to live sustainably and without harm to each other, ourselves and the planet.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

You Get What You Pay For

I have learnt that you get what you pay for.  I currently have two bikes.  One is my "errand" bike and the other is my "going for long rides" bike.  I consider my "errand" bike "junky".  It really isn't.  It's just I'm not too concerned about leaving it out for an extended period of time.  When I get on to ride it, it feels like a chore in a way.  It's heavy and bigger than my other bike but it gets the job done.  Five to ten years ago, my first and second bikes were too big for me too, but they also got the "job" done and allowed me some sense of freedom which I was truly grateful for.

Then there's my dream bike.  The bike I get on and it feels effortless to ride.  It just glides easily as soon as I hit the pedal.  It's a single speed, no gears at all and it rides like a dream.  Going around the reservoir is fun.  Sure sometimes it's hard going up hills because I need to work at it, but it's still easier than my other bike.  I love passing people who are pushing their bike uphill that are half my age while I'm going up a hill on a single speed, slowly but surely.

I just absolutely love riding that bike but I wouldn't leave it locked up somewhere for extended periods of time.  It's just too darn pretty and tempting for someone to want to take.  I would truly miss this bike.  So let's not even go there. 

Taking a break at the halfway point around the reservoir.

My precious bicycle.  I love it.  It rides like a dream.

This bike is my homage to the Japanese/Asian culture.  My girlfriend called it my "princess bike" which suits me fine.  I guess I probably was royalty in a past life so that makes sense.  Rick picked the perfect bike for me.  He saw it and he knew it had to be mine.

Eight or nine years ago, I went to Sport Swap to buy my first bike in years.  It was only $100 but it got me around and I felt free.  I have since let that bike go.  I have learnt after riding cheaper and clunkier bikes, that riding a bike that costs a little more is well worth the money invested.  Especially if you are going to go for longer rides.  It definitely makes riding a lot more fun if you have the right bike and the right bike that "fits" you. 

If a bike is too big, it's awkward to ride.  And if it's heavy, it's not that fun to ride either.  It makes riding laboursome.  It is well worth the investment for a decent bike and it doesn't necessarily have to cost a fortune.  It's like anything in life.  You pay for a cheap bike, it isn't going to last and it isn't as fun to ride.  I'm going to have this bike for a long time. 

What drives me crazy is people will spend a minimum of $400 and more a month to have a car. They will pay for a car payment, insurance, gas, maintenance and parking and yet they will balk at spending a $1000 on a bike.  Are you kidding me??  I don't have a car payment, don't need insurance or gas (except my own energy), it's very low maintenance and there are no parking costs.  Who is coming out ahead here? 

If I want a car, I go rent one every now and again.  There is freedom in not having a car.  When I say we don't have a car, people just won't get it.  It's like it doesn't compute.  Living in the inner city has its perks.  If we were in suburbia, perhaps it would be a different story.  I would rather ride out to suburbia to visit.  I like the convenience of living in an area where everything you need is right there.

Sure sometimes it sucks when it's freezing out.  But hey, I'm not spending $700 or $800 on a vehicle and I can save that money and put it somewhere else.  Ahh, cycling is freedom in more ways than one.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sometimes Simple is Best

I love a great salad.  The other day I went into COOP and bought butter lettuce.  It's one of my favourite things.  Simple, fresh and good.  Sometimes simplicity is best.

All I did was put some edible flowers on top and it looked so pretty I had to take a shot.  Love the colors!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

20 Reasons to go Veg for Life

I recently started a new part-time job and have been adjusting to that.  Now it's a matter of balancing that with making sure I regularly blog!  Amazing how one thing thrown into the mix has caused me to drop the ball on my blogging.  I miss it and have been just "dying" to write, so here is another entry.  Hope you enjoy it. 

While I am not a complete vegetarian (I still eat fish and eggs on occasion, not everyday), over the last ten years I have shifted the way I eat significantly for a number of reasons.  While this change may not be for everyone, I do feel that most people are eating way too much protein than they need to.  While we do need protein, we only need a small portion everyday.  And there are other sources of protein other than animal flesh. 

People need to be eating more fruits and vegetables and from what I have seen and heard, most people eat far too few of these.  Too much protein and carbs throws people out of balance and I feel causes a number of health concerns.  Start by doing a Meatless Monday once a week (or whatever day of the week you want) and it can significantly reduce the amount of animals we kill on a yearly basis.  It's about baby steps.  After a while, try going two days a week.  It's good for the environment as you will read down below (and for you!)  There are some great vegetarian cookbooks out there which will give you a chance to try some meatless meals and they can be delicious!

This change didn't happen overnight.  My attachment to "meat" eating (although I was mostly eating fish and chicken at the time and I grew up as a child raised on meat, pork and fish on Fridays), has been a process over a number of years, but it doesn't have to take that long.  A big influence was watching "Earthlings".    http://www.earthlings.com/  Once I saw how animals were treated in factory farms (which is only one part of the movie), I decided I would no longer purchase factory farm chicken in grocery stores.  I started to buy free range and organic.  Eventually I lost my "taste" for chicken and haven't eaten chicken in a number of years now.  Even though animals raised on "free range" farms are treated better, once they are transported to slaughtering factories, unfortunately they end up going through traumatization.

If any of you have seen "Food Inc."  http://www.foodincmovie.com/ , this is a Disney movie compared to "Earthlings" as you will see when you watch the "Earthlings" trailer.  Be forewarned that it is a violent movie and it will certainly open your eyes to what is going on.  "Earthlings" willl touch you to the core of your soul if you dare to watch it.  If you can get through watching it, it is a heartwrenching and shocking documentary.

I can happily say I don't really miss eating chicken.  As I mentioned, I still eat fish and eggs on occasion but it's more of a special thing now.  It's not something I do daily and when I do eat it, I really enjoy it.  Perhaps at some point I will make a complete jump to vegetarianism.  At this point, I can feel good about not feeding an industry that does so much damage to the environment and to animals and ultimately ourselves as we are all connected.

Just think about it.  If you believe in the concept that we are all connected, when you watch how these animals suffer and are fearful and scared by how they are being treated in these factory farms, why would you want to ingest all that negative and heavy energy? 

You are what you eat.

The information below is taken from a brochure I found at a local vegetarian restaurant. (Statements made in bold are by me)

From former cattle ranchers to Hollywood celebrities, more and more people from every corner of America are going veg.  Here are just some reasons why:

1.  In the US, "food animals" are not adequately protected from inhumane treatment.

2.  Livestock rearing produces more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined!

3.  A low-fat vegetarian diet can help promote weight loss and prevent obesity.

4.  Over 70% of US grain and 80% of corn is fed to farm animals rather than people.  (Which leads me to another point.  Have you ever eaten corn?  Have you noticed when you go poo, you poo corn out?  Not a very digestable food as yummy as it is!)

5.  Mad cow disease and avian influenza are sickening and killing people worldwide.

6.  Most farm animals are forced to endure confinement, mutilations, abuse and neglect.

7.  Livestock grazing is one of the most ecologically destructive forces of today.

8.  Vegetarians are more likely to avoid heart disease and high blood pressure.

9.  Factory farms are breeding grounds for harmful pathogens like salmonella and e. coli.  (Animals are often sitting in their own bowel and urine secretions for extended periods of time).

10.  Farm animals are usually prevented from engaging in instinctual behaviour and live only a fraction of their natural lives.

11.  Animal agricultural run-off adversely affects water quality across the country.

12.  Vegetarians are less prone to developing adult onset diabetes.

13.  Every year, countless farm animals become so sick or injured they cannot walk.

14.  Vast amounts of water and fossil fuels are squandered for livestock rearing.

15.  Eliminating animal protein from the diet may lower one's risk of osteoporosis.

16.  A recent study by the University of Chicago revealed that a vegetarian diet is more energy efficient.

17.  A high fibre, low fat vegetarian diet may help prevent cancer.

18.  Over 50% of forests worldwide have been cleared to raise or feed livestock.

19.  Approximately 10 billion farm animals needlessly die every year to fuel the food industry.

20.  Vegetarians feel good because they help make the world a better place.

Info taken from a brochure I found at http://www.thecoup.ca/ restaurant.  To learn more about vegetarianism or to order your free Guide to Veg Living, please visit http://www.vegforlife.org/ and email veginfo@farmsantuary.org or call 607 583 2225.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Soul of Money

I first saw Lynne Twist speak on the extras of a video called "Crude Impact".  She is truly a wise, inspiring, insightful and powerful woman.  This video isn't from the movie but is a YouTube video that will give you a taste of what she speaks about. 


I am excited that she is coming to speak in Calgary on October 5th.  I'm looking forward to seeing her!  Below is the link for the information for this event.  https://netcommunity.ucalgary.ca/SSLPage.aspx?pid=2215&chid=20&frcrld=1
If you are interested in purchasing the movie "Crude Impact", there are three different versions on their website.  The link following is the version  that has interviews with both Bill and Lynne Twist.  Well worth the watch!   http://www.crudeimpact.com/page.asp?content_id=9661 
Below is the trailer for Crude Impact.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

Just wanted to share a couple of videos with you.  This is a continuation of "The Curse of Plastic" article I wrote earlier.  I enjoy this woman's videos.  Her first video was "The Story of Stuff" which I have also linked below.  Ban bottled water and help to save the earth.  Use a good filtering system instead like Santevia which not only filters water but also mineralizes as well.

The Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Stuff

Friday, August 27, 2010

Part 2: 10 Easy and Simple Ways To Go Green

So what can you do if I have inspired you to care for yourself, your earth family and the environment?  Below are some simple and easy tips to help you get started in implementing changes in your life.

1. Start recycling. Get a big bin and start recycling paper, plastic, cans and glass. If you have a recycling service, use it! If not, you may need to go to a depot to drop it off. Bins in Calgary allow you to dump everything in now, so no more sorting! We don't have a recycling service because we live in an apartment building but we still go to the depot and recycle. Community Natural Foods has small recycling boxes too.  I simply bring a load with me when I'm off to get some groceries and accomplish two goals.  http://www.communitynaturalfoods.com/  You will be amazed at how much less garbage you will have just by recycling all that stuff you would normally throw out.

2. Bathroom recycling. Put a small bin in your bathroom for plastics and your empty toilet rolls and tissue boxes. By the way, Shopper’s Drug Mart has 3 ply tissues, their brand, a box of 90 for .99 cents. Stay away from Kleenex brand. Sure they have pretty boxes but as I priced out a box of 90 of their brand, it was $3.49 for a box of their tissue! $3.49 is a ridiculous price. Shopper's also has recycled toilet paper for $5.99.  If only their tissues were recycled.

You can find many nice looking containers to put your recycling in around various rooms in your house if you like.  Perhaps one in your office too for all that shredding!


3. Buy green vegetable bags. Go to a natural food store and buy those green vegetable and fruit bags. Or you can buy hemp or cotton mesh bags. If you have the time and sew, you can make homemade terry or cotton bags. They breathe better, are environmentally friendly and you can reuse them, even the green bags. Bring them with you to the grocery store and stop bringing home those plastic bags from the vegetable and fruit section. You will be amazed at how many bags you will save that way. Fruits and vegetables that don't need to be in bags are: apples, bananas, avocados, onions, potatoes (all kinds including squashes), garlic, ginger, tomatoes and oranges.

Green bags work great but other alternatives are hemp mesh bags or you can sew and make your own terry or cotton bags.


4. Buy reusable shopping bags. Stop using plastic grocery bags. Demand that your grocery store stop using them. If enough people complain, they may do something about it. Community Natural Foods banned plastic bags a few years ago. They will give you a .05 cent bag credit for every bag you bring on your own. Also, if you happen to forget your shopping bag one day, you can purchase one of their recycled paper bags for .25 cents. COOP will also give you a .03 cent bag credit but they sometimes forget to give a credit so you may need to remind them. Make it a habit to bring at least one bag with you whenever you go out for those spur of the moment shops. Keep it in your purse, backpack or briefcase. They don't take up that much room and it will stop you from bringing more bags home.

There's a wide variety and nice assortment of reusable shopping bags that you can buy nowadays.

5. Use a reusable shopping bag to store plastic bags. These bags have all kinds of uses. Keep a reusable shopping bag in your cupboard or closet (I have mine in the hall closet) for all those plastic bags that you end up collecting from toilet paper, paper towels, tea lights, bagged vegetables etc. (as I mentioned above). You can take these in and recycle them too. You will be surprised at how these accumulate even after cutting down on grocery bags and vegetable bags! Every little bit counts!

A photo of one of my reusable bags used to store plastic bags.

6. Make it a habit to bring your own "to go" cup with you. If you think you will be going out for coffee and will likely take it "to go", bring your own "to go" cup with you. No matter what size your "to go" cup is, Good Earth Cafe http://www.goodearthcafes.com/ will only charge you for a small size rather than the regular medium or large because you aren't using their cup. It saves them money and helps the environment. The deal is nice but just bringing your own mug will save thousands going into the landfills.


7. Insist on a real coffee mug if you are staying in. If you don't ask, you won't get. If a company refuses to give you a real cup when you want to stay in to have coffee or tea, you can make the choice to walk out and take your business elsewhere. Let them know you are environmentally conscious and don't want the cup ending up in the landfill. Better yet, write or email the company directly and make some suggestions. A tea shop that I love is Steeps.  They have old fashioned tea cups when you stay in.   http://www.steepstea.com/

8. Notice the environment around you. Start noticing how many plastic bags are on the ground, grass, parks, etc. when you are out.  I'm amazed at how much garbage I see when I am walking or riding my bike. Now I realize that maybe you didn't throw it on the ground, but just because it isn't yours doesn't mean you can't pick it up and throw it in the garbage yourself from time to time. I do draw the line at really icky stuff though unless I happen to have plastic gloves or a garbage bag on me. This is our planet. Not yours or mine, ours. Help to beautify the space and pick up garbage when you can. If you see a plastic bag flying around, help the environment by not allowing that bag to fly in the wind eventually ending up in our oceans. Imagine if one person picked up one piece of garbage everyday!  I can dream, can't I?

Top photo, a plastic bag in a tree.
Bottom, a photo I took of a baggie on the ground while I was out riding my bike on the bike path.


9. Stop buying bottled water. A lot of these companies are making a mint off of water that isn't actually filtered. Bottled water generally isn't monitored for safety so there is no way of knowing whether bottled is better than tap. Apparently some of these companies are putting tap water into bottles and charging a mint for them. It's a scam. Check your sources as some companies are more reputable than others but you would be surprised at what you may find. 

Check out the trailer for the documentary Flow below.

Bottled water has become big corporate business. Stop buying bottled and save money and the environment.  Big corporations (and government) are now attempting to own water that is a resource that belongs to everyone.  Use your power with the money you earn to stop supporting these companies.  Money talks.


10. Buy a good water filtration system. Brita is a good start but there are better ones out there. It's worth the investment and is cheaper in the long run than continually buying bottled water, plus it helps the environment.

Santevia's water system purifies, mineralizes, alkalines and vitalizes the water. Community Natural Foods sells them for $169.99 and occasionally they will go on sale. "While water filtration is important to yield clean, contaminant reduced water, it is merely one element of organically complete water. Unlike many high-tech water filters, Santevia cleans your water without using chemicals, artificial filter media, water pressure or electricity. Santevia uses all-natural and effective compounds such as earthenware ceramic, coconut carbon charcoal, volcanic Zeolite and silica sand."  http://www.santevia.com/

Below is an example of the Santevia water filtration system countertop model.

I'm planning on purchasing one of these soon. Again, do your research in regards to water systems, bottled water and water service companies. Water is the "in" thing now so many companies will capitalize on this by making a lot of money and destroying the environment in the process. Check your sources, be informed and do your research, go by word of mouth and then trust yourself to make the best decision. 

I recently read an article about some areas in the US where it is now illegal to have rain barrels. The government and corporations are now trying to put ownership on rain!! This is insane. Will they also one day say they own the air we breathe and the fire when we have a firepit or are camping?? People need to become proactive and stop this bullshit from happening. Governments and corporations don't own the air or water for that matter.  They are earth resources for everyone and it is our right to have clean and safe water.

Unbeknownst to a lot of us, our freedoms are slowly being taken away and unless we do and say something it may be too late at some point. Use your voice. Speak with your dollars. Sign petitions. Be aware of what's going on. Spread the word.  Thank goodness that there are people out there lobbying for the average Joe but we, as a society, need to be proactive to the best of our abilities. Start educating yourself and stay informed. Knowledge is power. The government is our employee, not the other way around. We pay with our tax dollars and we can choose to support businesses that support the environment and are ethical.

Well, there it is, 10 easy and simple ways to get started.  Hope you enjoyed it!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ahhh, Summertime!

Ahhh, summer.  My favourite time of year!  A time of year when I can finally let go of my fall, spring and winter (haha) shoes, boots and clothes and wear less!!  I have the type of body that gets cold easily so I really look forward to the freedom of summer; feeling warm and wearing dresses and sexy and slinky clothes.

I love the smells early in the morning.  There's a freshness in the air.  I walk out onto our balcony and I can now enjoy the fruits of my labour; all the flowers and plants that I have planted earlier on.  I can easily smell them from the freshness of the morning and also in the later evening.

The fruits of my labour.

I have started to ride my bike more again.  I enjoy riding in the early evening.  Nature comes alive again and the I can smell all the scents of nature as everything is getting ready to go to sleep.  Those two times of the day are magical for me; there's a quietness to them.

A ride around Weaselhead Park with a field of purple flowers.

Nights are getting shorter now and I feel an urgency to get out as much as I can before winter comes again and I'm cocooned.  Even though it hasn't been the hottest summer this year, every nice day that comes along feels precious now.  Perhaps it's teaching me to seize the moment because tomorrow might be raining or cold.  Ironically as I write this, it's a cool, cloudy August day.  It's not long before lying on the warm grass looking at the sky will be another memory until next year.

One day, my dream is to live and be somewhere where it is warm all the time.  Well, maybe even to live for part of the year where I can get away from the cold winter months and spend my days soaking up the sun, riding my bike or dancing barefoot in the grass.  Maybe I will spend part of my day writing to you from my computer sitting on the beach.   Who knows?  I can dream, can't I?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Part 1: The Curse of Plastic

I have been watching a lot of documentaries lately.  I never used to.  Over the last ten years I have been awakening to what is going on in the world.  Ignorance was bliss in a way.  But ignorance gets me into trouble too.  It gets us, as a society, into trouble.  And so, as I started my journey of awakening ten years ago, (and I mean, really awakening), it has been quite an eye opening, informative, frightening, frustrating and enlightening journey.  I decided to take the Red Pill.  I realize that going in this direction may turn some people off because some people want to stay asleep.  So be it.  I'm speaking to those of you that want to take the Red Pill.

Part of my journey lately has been in the form of watching documentaries and becoming aware of social, political and environmental issues.  Documentaries are amazing pieces of work.  People will argue that it's always about a person's own personal viewpoint.  But isn't everything?  So what?  Who would I rather believe at this point: corporations, religion and government?  I think not.  Their track record hasn't exactly been stellar for centuries now. 

What I like about documentaries is they inform, awaken and enlighten us to the truth; that is, if we are willing to be open to hearing and seeing the truth.  It can be quite a jolt at first.  Some of us, after seeing or hearing the truth, go into a state of denial; sometimes temporarily, sometimes forever but hopefully making their way back to reality.  I was asleep for a long, long time.  I was like the walking dead in a way.  Thank goodness for personal growth courses.  It shook me awake and now there is no going back.  Everyone needs to wake up to what is going on around us.  Whether or not they do is their choice.  That's what free will is about.

I recently watched a documentary called "Addicted to Plastic".  See it here.

This movie ties into an email I got a few years ago.  This email had photos of the ocean and all its sea life and how the throwing away of plastic bags and plastic in general does extreme harmful damage to this environment.  I still have those pictures engrained in my brain.  Ever since I saw that, I swore I would be more conscious about how I use those bags and how many I would bring home.   It's been a work in progress like everything else in my life.  And it can be for you too, if it isn't already.

On the left, a sea turtle unknowingly having plastic for lunch. 
On the right, a dissected bird.   Many birds like these scour for food in the oceans and end up eating all kinds of plastic items instead because they look like food.  This ends up killing them in the end.

It's amazing how many plastic bags I can collect in a month.  I have purchased reusable shopping bags as well as those green reusable vegetable and fruit bags but plastic bags still creep into my life.  Thank goodness for recycling because that does help to alleviate the guilt I sometimes feel.  The odd time I forget to bring my shopping bag I end up taking a couple bags home again which I then promptly use for the kitchen as garbage bags.  Even though I am pretty good at bringing shopping bags with me, I still have a collection of plastic bags that accumulate. 

Below is one of my reusable shopping bags filled with plastic bags.  Yikes!

For example, I buy a bag of organic carrots and voila, they are in a plastic bag!  Bread is in a plastic bag.  Toilet paper, paper towels, tea lights, cotton balls, socks and underwear, dry cleaning and on and on it goes.  At this point, it's really difficult to get away from it completely in our society.  And that's what I loved about that movie; despite the gloom, the movie still left me with some hope because there are people out there that are doing amazing things. 

At this point, how we have set things up as a society, it would be difficult to have no plastic at all.  It's in almost everything.  But plastic has also allowed us to create all kinds of products that we wouldn't have been able to create because of its pliability.  I just don't think it is safe to combine food and drink with plastic materials anymore as more and more research is showing.   But that's another topic for another day.  I just know I'm starting to use more glass and stainless steel whenever possible.

The other thing they discussed in the movie is how plastic affects sea life and the oceans.  It's really quite unbelievable how much garbage and plastic travels to our water systems.  And guess what?  Some of the plastic that has been broken down into tiny bits looks like fish food.  And so, fish eat it.  And then guess what?  We go fishing and eat that fish that has ingested all that plastic and then we eat it.  Neither of which is good for the fish or us!  It's toxic.  The very thing that we have created, plastic, is wreaking havoc on our environment, nature and ourselves and all in the name of convenience. 

Below, a beautiful Hawaiian beach strewn with garbage.

We have become a "throwaway" society.  Rick and I went for a bike ride the other day and stopped into Starbucks (I have to say I love their green tea matcha lattes).  I noticed a couple of things while on our ride and at Starbucks.  First, I can't believe how much garbage I see on the streets and in nature.  Is this what some of us have become to believe:  that it's okay to use the earth as a dumping ground?  What happened to putting things in garbage cans?  Now I realize that sometimes there isn't a garbage can around, but couldn't a person just carry it until they found one?

On the left, a scene I have seen more than once:  plastic bags in trees.
On the right, the shoreline of a city that is covered in plastic garbage.  Unbelievable.


After seeing that movie and seeing what plastic bags do to sea life, I cannot in all good conscious walk by a plastic bag on the ground anymore.  I need to pick it up and find a garbage can because I have seen where this bag could potentially end up.  I wish that everyone would just ban making bags period like they have in some cities. 

What I noticed while we were in Starbucks.  I'm not sure if this happens in other coffee shops.  But we decided to stay in and have our beverages.  I had to ask for a real coffee mug.  I didn't want a "to go" cup because we were staying in.  Rick on the other hand asked for an iced coffee and they put it in a plastic "to go" cup because they weren't "allowed" or didn't have a cup to put his iced coffee in.  Really?   I found that strange.  They couldn't just put it in the same kind of cup I had apparently. 

Everyone that was in Starbucks sitting down had "to go" cups, yet they weren't going anywhere.  What the heck is going on with that?  Is it because it's cheaper for companies to put drinks in "to go" cups than it is to wash real cups and glasses?  Good lord!  What is the reasoning behind this logic?  Is this what the world is about now; continually cutting costs at the expense of the environment?  Does it cost that much more for someone to wash dishes?  It's ridiculous.  Demand a real cup when you go for coffee and plan on staying in! 

Go Green and have your coffee or tea in a real cup.  Or plan ahead and bring your own "to go" cup with you if you don't plan on staying in the coffee shop!


It's a sad state of affairs when we think everything is disposable.  It's not.  Plastic does not disintegrate, it lasts forever.   And the more we can shift our thinking about that, the more things will shift.  We as consumers have more power than we think.  We choose and speak with our dollars.  What would happen if all of us stopped supporting businesses and corporations that didn't have our planet's best interests at heart?  This is where we live.  What are we going to do when our planet runs out of resources after we have used and abused it to no end?  Throw the earth away and move to another planet?  I don't think so.  It's time to get with the program.

How cute is this face?  Remember, sea life and animals were here first.  Let's help them.


Let's do our part to shift our thinking and help keep ourselves, our oceans, forests and planet healthy and green.  It doesn't matter what race we are because we all have something in common:  each of us is a human being living on this planet.  Let's help to keep our planet beautiful. 


Stay tuned for Part 2:  10 Easy and Simple Ways to Go Green