About what matters

Writing about what really matters

Month: April, 2015

Have you made an Earth Day resolution?

Earth Day OK, maybe they’re not quite as famous as the resolutions made at New Year’s–it’s even possible they’re something I completely made up–but nonetheless, I think Earth Day resolutions are much more useful. Think of it as a Mother’s Day card for Mother Earth, who’s done so much for you. This year, my Earth Day resolution is to choose my next car for its eco-friendliness rather than its personality. My current car is a sub-compact, but I could still get double the mileage from a Toyota Prius. One of my prior Earth Day resolutions was to lower my highway cruise control speed. I’ve considered doing this again, but I’m a bit afraid of getting run over! Getting a significantly more efficient car will be much more effective. Perhaps you already have something you know you should do in the back of your mind, but here are 10 Earth Day resolution ideas to get you started …

  1. Resolve that each time you buy something, you’ll choose carefully (no “starter” items, temporary solutions, or stop-gap measures), maintain it, and use it till it wears out.
  2. Resolve to eliminate disposables from your life whenever possible. Use rags instead of paper towels. Instead of using Styrofoam, plastic, or paper at work, keep a mug, glass, plate, fork, and spoon (or whatever you need) at your desk. I keep a sponge and Mrs. Meyers dishwashing liquid in the kitchen at work.
  3. Resolve to limit your clothing purchases. (I guess this is a gender-related thing–I don’t know any men with overflowing closets.) I buy a maximum of 10 good quality items a year (not including scarves, loungewear, etc.). Shoes go to the cobbler and clothes to the tailor when they need repairs, and I get rid of things only when they can be worn no more. This, it turns out, is more than enough.
  4. Resolve to buy some items vintage or antique rather than new. This works for furniture, art, rugs, china, glassware, and much more. Options range from Thrift Town to Sotheby’s. Quality is likely to be better, and since the item has already lasted for some time, it’s likely to keep right on doing so.
  5. Resolve to support an organization that’s making a difference for the environment (such as the Natural Resources Defense Council) with a donation, or even regular support.
  6. Resolve to recycle everything that can be recycled–not just the items picked up from your curb, but the items you have to make an effort to recycle, like light bulbs and batteries. And not just when a recycling bin is convenient, but when you have to carry the item for awhile to get to one. Resolve that if you acquire or use something, you’ll dispose of it properly.
  7. Resolve to close the recycling loop by buying recycled paper, plastic, or glass products–or all three. I resisted giving up conventional paper products for awhile, but I finally realized that I am plenty pampered enough–I don’t need to blow my nose on the paper equivalent of silk.
  8. Resolve to switch to 100% wind electricity.
  9. Resolve that every new appliance purchase will be energy efficient. (In the US, just look for the Energy Star label.)
  10. Resolve to eliminate conventional cotton, perhaps the dirtiest crop on earth, whenever possible. Buy linen, bamboo, or organic cotton instead. Try bamboo towels, and you’ll never go back to plain cotton. Their silky texture and ability to stay fresh (due to bamboo’s natural anti-bacterial properties) are unmatched. Linen sheets and slipcovers are also lovely.

If you’re making an Earth Day resolution this year, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage® card We have the wisdom.

SoulCollage cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

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We have the wisdom

Earth Day

This is the SoulCollage® card I made in honor of Earth Day in response to this challenge. I’ve called it We have the wisdom because I truly believe that we humans, who are in the process of destroying this planet as a habitat suitable for our own species–as well as many others–have the wisdom to reverse that process. We know what doesn’t work, and therefore what we need to do. I believe love and wisdom are stronger than greed and machismo, but there can be no doubt that decisive action is needed to ensure they win.

Pictured on the card are several environmental activists. Dr. Jane Goodall is well known for her work as a primatologist. Today, at 80, she travels 300 days a year advocating for her beloved chimpanzees and the environment. Her Roots & Shoots program aims to educate the youngest generation about the environment.

The women in the middle are Pershlie Ami, a Hopi elder, and Mary Lyons, an Ojibwe elder, at the 2014 People’s Climate March, where 400,000 people participated. It seems pretty clear to me that had we American settlers followed the aboriginal example in only one respect, considering the seventh generation in every decision, it’s unlikely we would be facing a climate crisis today.

On the right is Tim DeChristopher, 33, who served 21 months in prison for bidding $1.8 million he didn’t have on 14 parcels of land around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah in a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction. He attended the auction as a protester, not planning to bid, and was inspired to bid as the auction proceeded. The leases were later canceled, and the 14 parcels of land remain unexploited. While in prison, he was accepted to Harvard Divinity School. His website, bidder70.org, is named for his paddle number.

At the bottom of the card is a Spirit Bear in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia.

SoulCollage cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

Creating something new

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This weekend’s dark of the moon–when this month’s unusually powerful New Moon sheds little to no illumination on the night sky–is the perfect time to reiterate your intentions for 2015, to reinforce all that you intend to create but have not yet fully brought forth.

As I do this myself, I’m reminded of the two SoulCollage® cards I made at the New Year to represent what I believed the year would bring. This year, my cards (below) were about mastery and a leap forward in my professional life, and heart expansion in the personal realm.

Thoroughbred     Heart 2

I’m seeing clear and very hopeful indications of both coming to fruition, and this weekend, I’m taking the opportunity to reiterate my intentions in both areas, as well as setting down in my journal new intentions for both, specific to the unfolding that’s going on right now.

It seems to me that right now is an amazing time for the fulfillment of dreams, so I hope you’ll join me in taking some time to bring focus to what you want to bring forth next!

I like to create a specific set of intentions for each goal I want to manifest. For me, being a words person, this is usually a list in my journal–but as you can see, I use my right brain to create visual representations as well. A collage or vision board might feel more natural for you, but no doubt there are many other options too–a video, a voice recording, a painting, etc. You can describe the characteristics of a new job, partner, a new house, or whatever it is you want to manifest, or you can take an alternative approach, such as describing how you would like to feel in a new job, with a new partner, living in a new house, and so on. For example …

  • I want to feel protected in the shelter of my home.
  • I want my hard work to be consistently appreciated and rewarded.
  • I want to feel truly known by my partner, and fully accepted just as I am.

For goals that take some time to bring into being, occasionally it feels right to me to start fresh, restating the goal in today’s fresh language or images or voice. That is what I’m doing today, and I hope you’ll join me! I believe we’re just on the cusp of a wonderful time.

This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage cards Unfolding of consciousness, Thoroughbred racer, and Heart expansion.

SoulCollage cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder

I recently came across a passage from the Buddhist tradition that reminded me so much of this Rumi quote, and I wanted to share it …

“May I be a guard for those who are protectorless,
A guide for those who journey on the road,
For those who wish to go across the water,
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.”
–The Way of the Bodhisattva 3.18

About what matters

Rumi

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. –Rumi

On New Year’s Eve, I was asked if I’d made any New Year’s resolutions, and I mentioned this quote from Rumi that I’d recently seen and loved.

I think that mostly I’m a lamp, and sometimes a ladder or a lifeboat–but it’s difficult to accurately assess your own contribution, or anyone else’s, for that matter. It’s often impossible to know what impact we’re having, or will have. But it is possible to know whether I’m creating light, or darkness … that much I can tell.

I remember a coworker from years ago who told me she volunteered at a suicide prevention hotline. I’m not sure whether it occurred to me then, but it certainly does now, that she must have had a very particular reason for choosing that volunteer opportunity. She was a lifeboat.

We can, though, be lifeboats without…

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Making way for the new

Receive

Today I’ve been conscious of the need to clear out the old, all that no longer serves me, to make way for the new.

I was waiting for an important phone call this morning; I’d suggested 11 am, but that hour came and went, and no phone call. My instinct was to clear some clutter in order to create some space.

Recently I scheduled a book exchange and dinner with friends, and I’ve slowly been working through my stack of “maybe these can go” books. (Those that can definitely go are pretty much already gone.) Each of us will bring a dozen books or so, and take home books we’re interested in reading. I plan to donate the unclaimed books to either my neighborhood’s Little Free Library, or a nearby community library.

Our last exchange, of unwanted Christmas presents, was lots of fun. We all offloaded our unwanted stuff (and unwanted presents from family can have some weight to them), and came home with a few things we did want. I’ve also attended a clothing exchange in the past, where I was able to see others appreciate my clothes that seemed too good to just drop in a donation bin, and pick up a couple of things myself, including a t-shirt and new-with-tag pajamas that are still in rotation.

I wanted something faster, though, and I thought of my basket of catalogs. I grabbed my recycling basket, and tossed in virtually everything I’d received prior to January of this year. I filled it three or four times, and dumped the old catalogs in my recycling cart. I began emptying my wastebaskets to take the trash out as well, and in the midst of doing that, shortly after 1 pm–the phone rang. It was good news, and a good conversation.

I put out fresh towels, did laundry, ran the dishwasher, and cleaned the bath. Next up is a good spring clean of the flowerbeds.

I’d love to hear some of your favorite ways to clear clutter and make way for something new to emerge in your life!

This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage® card Ready to receive.

SoulCollage cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

 

You are a precious jewel

Jewel

You are a precious jewel. –lady at Lenscrafters

Our true nature is like a precious jewel: although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected. We simply have to uncover it. –Pema Chödrön

Recently I visited my optometrist, and then went to Lenscrafters to get new lenses for my glasses made–with fabulous results! I can see much more clearly now. That little touch of prism correction is making all the difference.

I had to wait for a bit, and the woman who helped me thanked me for my patience. (This happens fairly regularly now, but I’m pretty sure that no one ever thanked me for my patience before I started meditating.)

We discussed various lens options, and I made my selections. She had me look directly into her eyes so she could measure the location of my retinas, so that my prescription could be exactly aligned with them. We were talking along about Lenscrafter kinds of things, and suddenly she said, “You are a precious jewel.” I thanked her, privately thinking this was a bit over the top, but keeping that opinion strictly to myself!

Back at home, mission accomplished, I sat down with a mug of hot green acai tea, put my feet up, and opened a magazine. The literal transaction of the Tibetan Buddhist honorific Rinpoche, I read, is “precious jewel.”

There it was, the very same phrase again. Perhaps I should pay attention! It crossed my mind that it must be interesting to have a job that requires you to gaze into the windows of others’ souls.

It’s true, you know … I am a precious jewel. We all are. And since you may not be going to Lenscrafters soon yourself, I’ll tell you right now … You are a precious jewel.

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I finished tonight, You are a precious jewel.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

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