The Good – The Bad – The Possible

Over the years, I’ve written about Peak Oil, Community Exchanges, Shop Local, Campaign Finance Reform, Education Reform, Alternative Healthcare, Big Pharma, Corporate Monoculture Farming, Sustainable Living, Renewable Energy, Self-Healing and Spirituality.

I’ve read, listened and researched.

I’ve talked, argued and thrown my hands up in despair.

I’ve ranted, I’ve raved, tried sharing information through humor and How – Not – Too.

I’ve been on fire with enthusiasm and sick with despair when I believed that my passion for these subjects had no interested audience.

I’ve dreamed, I’ve hoped, I’ve struggled to make a difference through my lifestyle choices, purchasing decisions, writing topic choices and personal belief system improvements.

And now, all that experience has been encapsulated into one extraordinary two-hour film, “Thrive: What on Earth Will It Take?”, which I discovered this morning via a post by recOveryhealth.

(I embedded the film below – yes, it’s that important – I don’t want you to even have to click twice to start watching it  –  *You can donate to the producers here.)

So instead of digging through my archives, you can now glean all that info with the simple investment of a couple hours of your time – you can even watch in increments if you like…

The Good

From the beginning to about 33 minutes – the film highlights the creator’s background and reason for researching.  His quest for truth and the form he found it in echoes the conclusions found throughout the history of the spiritual, the religious and the scientific.  It has been postulated by the prophets, the holy men, the gurus, metaphysicists, cosmologists, cellular bioligists and quantum theorists:

There is a code to the Universe – to Life

If we  figure it out, we can work in harmony with it,

Instead of paddling upstream all the while…

And though I’ve had my crisis of faith moments and believed the Universe to be one big Chaotic mess, bent on destroying me – – I’ve found the only way for me to continue in this life with any semblance of happiness is to embrace the Code story in it’s many variations.

The Bad

Around 33 minutes, you enter the Bad phase – the phase that examines the problems facing our world and the inter-connected,  complex structures  that are contributing to or causing-on-purpose the disasters we fear and seek refuge from.    It digs deep into systems and mind-sets that contribute to the misery of our lives –

You may not agree with all the viewpoints referenced as causing our global problems, but only the truly oblivious could say we have no challenges regarding our continued existence given our present course.

It’s not always a pleasant or comforting place to be, confronting our fears – though I believe this film does it’s best to present the information within a space of hope – – which brings us to…

The Possible

At around 1 hour, 38 minutes – after you’ve delved into a story you really hope isn’t true -but suspect is –  you get to watch the What’s Possible portion.

(If you’re already worried and depressed about the state of things and you feel powerless in being able to do anything about it – skip from :33 to 1:38 on the film.

Choosing not to wallow in the problems portion will not keep you from being inspired by the Possible section; however, if you’re one of those who must know Why? before you do – best just take your lumps and confront your fears.  Watch with a friend and the lights on if it helps – – )

The Possible portion will inspire you – it will show you easy-to-integrate ways to make a difference, right now, today, with what you already know and  have, with who you already are.  To quit contributing to the problems and instead, become part of the solution – you don’t have to do them all – – any forays you make into your favorite arenas makes a difference – just pick one and start.

Without further ado – here’s “Thrive: What on Earth will it Take?”:

For myself, I’m continuing on through my day ‘off’ by meandering through the ThriveMovement website – – – they sound like my kind of folks….

Yes, I’m Listening….

The last few weeks of my life involved a move to my new home and gearing up my new business.  Sometime in early January, I was tiring of 16-hour work days in front of the computer, using drag and drop technology to build my website and event registration instead of reinventing the wheel and doing it all myself.

(Thank the Universe for those who build plug-ins for use via donation – you’ve saved my bacon once again for a price my new business can afford!)

And about 10 days ago, my blood pressure sky-rocketed, the excruciating pain and heart palpitations started up again and I thought,

Uh – Oh.

Now, I’m a Creative Workaholic – loosely translated, this means I go through intense periods of work-work-work and just as intense periods of I’m-so-tired-I-can’t-move-and-need-to-rest.

In the past, I silently waited for permission from those around me as to when I was allowed to rest and recoup from my latest creative period (or 36 hour work stint – your choice).

Trust me, those around you rarely, if ever, give you that permission.  If they love you, they will ask you to please quit trying to save the world, pace yourself and get a boring 2-4 hours a day job that consistently brings you a paycheck.

In short, they’ll ask you to be someone other than who you are.

If they make money off your contributions, they will assure you a rest period….just as soon as you finish this and that for them…and qualify for two-weeks vacation.

Either way, even though I’ve had glimmers of the truth over the years and felt like I really tried to live my life in tune with my natural talent and personality, I never really got the message until the stroke.

Instead, I acknowledged the message with a, “Oh yes, doing what you love and works with your own personality is the way to go and just as soon as I can afford to, I’ll try it.”

Not now – post-stroke means any time I deny my body what it needs, it shuts me down and in a hurry, I might add.    I cannot stray far from the path the Universe is urging me towards before I am very obviously jerked back to the reality of what my current limitations (gifts?) are.

So after a grueling month of computer grunt work (it is grunt work – necessary for what I want to do and yes, I can do it fair to middlin’ – but grunt work  nonetheless….), emailing to those who said, “Let me know the minute you start your classes, so I can sign up” and hanging flyers everywhere within a 30 mile radius of my location, I waited…

and waited…

and nada.  No interest, no sign-ups, no glimmer of even a speck of difference in the Universe. (I forgot to mention, I’m big on what I do making a difference, even if it’s only for one person for one nano second in time…)

Then I log in to delete my old blog, reconsider and instead write 4 posts and wouldn’t ya know – more followers signed up that day than ever, got some comments and some “Likes” (thank you very much) and was in turn gently nudged over to the blogs of others who are creative and smart, which I’m gathering is the Universe’s way of getting me to come out from my hermit’s hole and try being around humans again.

Three hours of “Hey, this is fun, I could do this all day without breaking a sweat” netted more feedback, expanded horizons (new people to get to know) and glimpses of beauty (new creative blogs to follow) than weeks of intense, purposeful, “productive” work.

(“Productive work” is a phrase that sticks in my craw – anyone who uses it invariably does not understand or approve you or your work)

Yes, Universe, I’m listening – – and I vowed to take more frequent breaks, concentrate on finishing my book, blogging and let the Universe lead me where it will.

*****

Because I chose to participate in the non-productive this morning -writing- instead of diving into website building and class presentations, the “Let’s go for coffee” phone invitation this morning was greeted with,

“Hey, that sounds good.  Meet you there at 10:00?”

instead of ,

“Oh, I’d love to, but I have to* get some boring geek stuff done today.”

By noon, I’m back at home, loading up a new event registration (guess the grunt work paid off somewhat).   The idea that has been brewing within me for nearly 8 years is coming to fruition, simply because I tossed it out as something I’m passionate about at my coffee date.

I’ll be giving a lecture on Rebuilding Community Resiliency on February 18th.   With plans for other future lectures.  And building a platform for others to lecture and share their special talents, while allowing businesses and organizations to put their real estate to profitable use when they aren’t using it themselves.

(My chatty-Kathy personality simply loves making income from talking, my sustainable heart is pleased at putting local resources to good use and I love providing opportunities for others.   Could it have gotten any better?)

Thank you body and Universe for reminding me to keep on track – – and to be good to myself.   To follow my own work patterns and contribute my special gifts to the community, not just offer what I can do, but don’t necessarily love.

Only took a stroke and a few close calls to train me….

*have to – If this phrase is regularly in your vocabulary, do your best to get rid of as many instances of it as you can.  Of course, phrases like, “I have to roll in the dirt, because my clothes are on fire.” are exempt from deletion.

Adjustment 101

Okay, I’ve got to confess to someone and since I don’t go to church, You’re It.

I failed miserably this week in practicing what I preach….

Here goes:

I’m at my local store that yes, does get in some of it’s merchandise via truck, but also carries eggs (duck and chicken) from local producers, the gluten-free baked goodies of a local gal, etc., etc.   The owner, who knows me and my world views, asks me, “Hey!  Have you tried some of the goat cheese yet?”

Seems they now carry goat cheese made by a family down in Canon City.   Not true local (like I can walk there) but still in my neck of the woods, a fellow citizen who believes in the things I do, a fellow Coloradoan that is making a living providing the useful (food.)

“Ummm….No…..”

I sort of stammer around, and I’ll tell you why.

When I was growing up, we had goats.  I cared for and milked them.  The milk was good.   I was too young and Mom wasn’t too interested in making cheese – but I remember how good the milk tasted.

Over the past 3 years, the goat’s milk I have tried via purchasing raw milk shares has been…well….it’s been “goaty” – – I can’t really describe it, but it doesn’t taste like I remember it Should taste.

So I’ve become wary…

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I’m somewhat ashamed.    Here I tout “Buy Local!  Support your Local Producers!”  and I’m unwilling to try a local, product made by a family farm, because I’m afraid my taste buds won’t be satisfied?   It would have to be pretty durn rank before I could truly justify purchasing  the raw milk cheddar produced in Wisconsin and shipped to the local store before this goat’s cheese.

(All based on what I state my intent, ideals and goals are…..)

So this coming week, I’m going down and buying the local goat cheese.   And I’m going to give it a really good try, because you see, I love cheese.   And it’s my job to make sure those who are close to me and know how to make it,  stay in business, long term.    No, it may not be just exactly what I want, but if  I’m going to walk the talk, I need to learn to love goat cheese, for now.

And if they’re successful, who knows?  Maybe they’ll start making cow cheese, or perhaps, there will be such a demand for local, artisan cheeses, our local appetites will be the inspiration to an even more local-to-us cheese maker opening up shop.

In short, I’m putting my short-term taste-bud gratification aside for investing in what I feel has to happen for us to see a return to health, wealth and happiness in our communities.

So sorry I forgot for a moment that’s what I committed to….

Thanks for hearing my confession.  I feel loads better now….

Feed, Nourish and Protect

Late summer and early fall mean I’m really busy with food.   Fruit to dry, storerooms rearranged to accommodate new supplies and freezers prepared to store this year’s bounty of meat and poultry keep me hopping from July through November.

Cooler weather also means a return to my favorite cooking venue – The Crockpot.

Although I’ve finally found some viable chilled soup recipes for summer, winter  remains my favorite time to cook.   Nothing calms me or brings greater joy than to move about the house accompanied by the smell of simmering soup and raising bread.

(Adding artificial heat to an already hot day makes me cranky…)

And while I like to eat good and have learned how necessary good nutrition is to my health and well-being, I really don’t like spending all day, everyday, in the kitchen.

There are so many other grand adventures to partake in!

So, the Crockpot is my best friend.

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I’ve spent the last few years immersing myself in the subject of food – sources, how it’s grown, how it’s prepared, how to get the greatest nutrition out of your food choices.

I’ve also immersed myself in research of how we heal – what promotes healing and what doesn’t – what works and why.

Food is more than just a way to feed our tummy.    Done properly, food nourishes our soul, both during preparation and ingestion.   And purchased properly, our food choices contribute to our local resiliency and  protects our local economies.

Sorry, but you just can’t get that kind of bang for your buck outta 4 for $5 frozen dinners.

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At some point in my own journey through healing and food, I started wondering how much healing value comes from the actual food and how much is a return of the energy we have invested in food.    May sound nuts, but if you follow quantum physics, mind/body research or studies regarding the placebo effect, then you would be pondering this thought, too.

Though my ears have not heard this phrase for over 3 years, my mind can still conjure up my Dad’s voice, intoning:

“Thank you for this food;  bless it to the nourishment of our bodies and bless the hands that prepared it.”

He didn’t leave out anyone in the chain of what put good food in front of him.

Reminds me of various practices in hunter/gatherer cultures – the before hunting dance/prayer – the after hunting dance/prayer – the small tokens offered to the various gods recognized as being responsible for us living and eating for one more day.

Stories of  guests honored by food – first dibs and they were expected to take the choicest, largest portion.

Food was a big deal and honored.

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What if focused, peaceful intent actually changes the benefits of the energy you ingest?   What If?!?

Then a leisurely 15 minutes spent chopping veggies and slicing meat in the morning to be dumped into simmering home-made broth, when I’m well-rested and still wildly enthusiastic about the fact I woke up (again) means the soup I start for supper is so super loaded with nutrition, my family should look like the Incredibles by now.

It surely has to have more nutrition than the frozen pizza I slap in the oven after returning home late, with my mind still off in the never-never land of cranky bosses, uncompleted projects and moron drivers.   I’m convinced that’s one of the top reasons why ‘fast food’ doesn’t satisfy us as it should.  I didn’t ‘super-inject’ it with Good Intent!

According to some ancient cultural practices and modern medicine, my family’s digestion processes work better too, when I’m in a good mood at the supper table…

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Taken a step further, if I do happen to think about who made the frozen pizza, I don’t put out peaceful intent.

I understand that frozen pizza was probably compiled by either a machine or some poor minimum wage factory worker who wonders when a machine will replace him/her.    I also think about the commodity system, how farmers, ranchers and dairymen get less than the cost of production for their wares and how even with subsidies, that one pizza represents a world where small family farms can’t compete, monoculture mindset reigns and super companies have a five-year plan of patenting and owning all the food seed in the world.  I also think about how much money goes to those who process, package and transport the food and how much goes to the people who actually grew/raised it.

(It’s very skewed – if you don’t believe me, and you live in eastern Colorado, then ask any of your neighboring wheat farmers what they get per bushel of wheat from the wholesale broker, when it has, gasp, sprouted and then go to your local “Health Nut” food store and see what you pay for wheat grass or sprouted wheat flour)

On the other hand, when I make soup, and think about how it traveled to me, I put out lots of good energy:

I’m thankful for the wheat farmer, the rancher and the two 4-h girls who are willing to raise an extra pig for me.   I think about friends and neighbors who called or emailed and said, “Help!   I got a bumper crop of (insert veggie/fruit).  Come get some!”    I think of them, their life, their children and I feel such a warm glow of gratitude for all they do for me.

I think about my local Farmer’s Market and how much I enjoy wandering up and down the aisles, buying veggies that were cared for by the hands that are now giving me my change.

It’s just two completely different states of mind – solely dependent on what I choose to prepare for supper.

Even if you don’t buy into the whole ‘divine matrix and intention theory’,  ya gotta admit, having peaceful thoughts while fixing supper has its’ advantages.

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I’d like to see a Real Food revolution.   I’d like to have it be the main topic of conversation anywhere I go.   Where to find it, purchase it.   How to store, preserve, properly prepare it.   I would like to see the  mainstream media headlines splashed with bio’s about those who raise, care and produce Real Food.

Won’t happen anytime soon – I can’t even imagine, “nightclub”, “drugs” and “local farmer” ever being in the same headline.

Nobody wants to read about the rancher who gets up at 2:00 a.m. and checks her herd, because cows and heifers have this funny way of doing things – they like to go into labor whenever a good blizzard moves in…Every rancher knows this and they choose to remove themselves from comfort, just in case that first-time momma runs into some snags….

When will that be seen as hero status in our culture?

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Becoming a Real Foodie means more than just ‘eating good’.   It’s impossible to enter that world and not take the journey from your individual survival all the way up to the health of the biosphere.

During his RSA lecture, Empathic Civilisation, Jeremy Rifkin states,

“All economics depend on photosynthesis.”

He’s right, ya know.

And your Food Choices Really Are That Important!

Legal Blackmail

Okay, I had logged off of everything, ready to call it a day, but Yahoo conveniently shows me top news stories when I sign out from my inbox….

How Race to the Top is re-writing US Education caught my eye.

Scanned the article.   Seems some kind of legislation allowed schools around the country to compete in a ‘contest-like-arena’ for funds.   Okay…I’m okay with tax dollars supporting free public education (even though just registering my son for school this coming week is going to cost me a minimum of $150 even before he signs up for extracurricular activities….)

But the following quote by Representative George Miller , D- Calif. , chairman of the House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee, set my teeth on edge:

“These are my best hopes,” he said in May. “You see people doing things that a year ago they said they would never, ever agree to.”

States starved for funds and unable to have control over their local economies are prime targets for legal blackmail, also known as ‘federal funding requirements’.

If you don’t believe me, revisit the legislation passed in 1984 concerning legal drinking ages and being able to receive highway infrastructure funds.  My memory is that Montana and Wyoming held out…at least for awhile.  Wikipedia informs me South Dakota tried (unsuccessfully) suing under the spirit of the 10th Amendment.

My thoughts at the time were, “Okay, we’re old enough and responsible enough to vote, join the army, drive or fly billion dollar military equipment and die for our country, but not old enough to have a beer?”

My thoughts on the matter have not changed much.

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I, for one, am investigating and supporting activities that inform and educate folks on the topics of local resilience, community exchange systems and individual rights and free markets.

Cuz when we don’t need your greenbacks, we regain our freedom of choice.