Money and Life Press Screening

I just got home from a press screening in Columbus, Ohio where we viewed and discussed the film Money and Life. Please watch this movie and encourage those you know to watch it, if you haven’t already! Here’s a brief description of the film as quoted on the site:

“Money & Life is a passionate and inspirational essay-style documentary that that asks a provocative question: can we see the economic crisis not as a disaster, but as a tremendous opportunity?  This cinematic odyssey connects the dots on our current economic pains and offers a new story of money based on an emerging paradigm of planetary well-being that understands all of life as profoundly interconnected.”

Community Support

The best part of the night was seeing the community come together for such a heartfelt, open discussion. It has never been more clear that this is the time to change our perspectives, stop buying from large corporations, stop consuming so much stuff, stop participating in the system as it stands… so we can rediscover our personal values, reconnect with nature, and reconnect with one another. Tonight addressed all of the questions I’ve been asking myself and then some… including how to be more active and involved. While I’m feeling flooded with a sense of optimism toward one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the world… right now.. I haven’t even begun to organize an essay or structured blog post. However, I would like to post a link to the MOVE TO AMEND petition and invite you to consider closely what it stands for.

People are out there working so hard, doing amazing things for one another. Many of these people and efforts are right in our own backyards in need of more participants. They’re out there, and you can be a part of it… We all can!

“I Miss You.” (and nostalgia)

Three powerful words, indeed. Walking out of work today, I noticed I had received a text from a friend who is away on vacation with her family.

“I miss you!”

It read, as I opened up my high-tech Razr flip phone (haha), while simultaneously digging for keys and nearly dropping the purse I was carrying. It brought a smile to my face.

 

“I miss you.”

Such a nice thing to hear! The feeling of being missed, such a comfort.
This was a nice reminder to me… the caring gesture of communicating the feeling of missing to people — right when we feel it. Otherwise, they won’t know we were feeling it.
Suddenly I’m sitting here thinking of people and moments that I miss, old friends, loved ones, family.
A time like this is cause to pick up “The Four Loves” by C.S. Lewis and read a few pages. Such a great read.
A time like this is cause to let someone know they are missed.
A time like this  is cause to reflect on how much my son has grown. One of many memories shown above in the photo.

Nostalgia.  

Pain as Nourishment

While I’m currently working on another essay post, as well as an inspirational piece for the blog… this issue is more present-tense. I wanted to write briefly about pain and working with negative emotions.

Vulnerability

While positive thinking is a good quality to have, it becomes counterproductive when we fail to fully accept the pains we experience, restricting ourselves from working through associated emotions. Open expression of pain and emotions can foster healthy intimacy among relationships. Showing vulnerability can strengthen oneself and one’s relationships with others.

When we let emotions build and then cover them up with a positive attitude, it only clogs the soul. This past week, for the sake of protecting someone else’s emotions, I tried the “positive attitude” approach, but in doing so ignored the not-so-positive feelings altogehter; This only masked my truer, deeper feelings.  I finally allowed the heavier emotions to flow, and shared them with someone who remarked: “It is an honor to be trusted with someone else’s tears. It makes my own pain seem more significant.”

Fluidity

Both meditation and yoga practices teach the importance of fluid breathing to center one’s awareness. A few minutes of slow, cleansing breaths and focused inner awareness each day increases one’s capacity for mindful, intentional living. Through mindful living one can open up to embrace each emotion as it happens. Emotions are gateways to ascension if we allow them to be.

I listened to a beautiful guided meditation by Anara Kashna earlier today… she uses the word “allowing” again and again throughout her message. Allowing is key in developing fluidity in our lives — acceptance of the yin and yang… raising vibration through the developing harmony between our darkness and our light.

 

Wishing you all a beautiful week.

 

 

Purging = Love

Wow! After spending another weekend in the forest, I’ve been compelled to get rid of even more “belongings.” Attachment has been a theme this week, along with more discussions about intentional living.  The closet will be left with 5 pairs of pants, 5-10 long sleeved shirts/sweaters, 5 short sleeved shirts, a few “comfy” items for bed/yoga, and 10 – 15 dresses. A coworker just gifted me with a bag of shoes (we wear the same size) so it’s time to get rid of shoes, too. While I’m not totally where I want to be just yet,  I admitted to myself just this morning that there are still some little silly attachments I’ve needed to let go of.

Less Choices = More Time

Not only will a tiny wardrobe mean less time to think about what to wear to work, it will also mean more time to spend enjoying the morning hours — the most peaceful time of day! In truth, all anyone really needs is a clean outfit or two.

Attachment

That special dress to wear on that special occasion, those perfect shoes to have tucked away just incase… these things are just unnecessary attachments, taking up space in the home and in the mind. It feels so good to let go!

Charity

While many of us already do take items to our local charity after we’ve grown bored with them, it’s worth mentioning again, just in case you’re on one of those cleaning sprees where the trash can is more convenient. Giving clothes to charity is an act of love toward the Earth (recycling), helps those in need, and is a nice reminder that we have enough to go around. Local homeless shelters,  shelters for battered women/children, and local community centers are a few of the best places to donate your clothing items.

 

Happy purging!:)

 

Some Other Inspiring Articles on Getting Rid of Clothes

becomingminimalist.com – How to Let Go Of Clothes

The Very Small Closet – Learning to Let Go

The Minimalists – Less Clothes, More Routines

Essay: Fidelity & Fragility

Inside the minds of most human beings lives the idea that a life-mate exists out there in the world. Some of us have found that person, some of us have not, and some of us do not believe in the concept at all. Love is the simplest, yet most complex of all emotions. So many factors go into what makes a relationship healthy, and as many factors go into why once-vibrant-romances become stagnant. I think about the movie March of the Penguins and am so moved by that level of commitment among wild birds in such extreme conditions. I’m equally moved by the idea of committing one’s life to spiritual growth and abstaining from a romantic partnership altogether. This is currently a period of self-exploration, reconsidering what fidelity means for me.  I know I’m fully committed to being a good mother, a good friend, learning and growing from my mistakes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and other existential and spiritual specifics. But when it comes to romantic matters of the heart, I’m a little slow. There have been a couple of painful endings, but very necessary endings. Right now, I’m pleased to have the opportunity to take time determining which direction to go (as far as what it could mean to move toward a deeper long-term commitment, or what it could mean to remain romantically uninvolved… while continuing to surround myself with other meaningful pursuits).

Fully Blossoming

Most of us want to love, but sometimes we aren’t sure what we want to do with the love once it finds us. Sometimes both people don’t think through the emotion, but continue to follow the emotion simply because both enjoy the feelings and associated experiences.

Pleasant discussions with some very wise human beings have led me to the conclusion that romantic feelings can (potentially) be a terrible distraction: unless both parties have growth in mind, help one another achieve individual growth, and enhance one another’s contributions to The Greater Good. Certainly not the first time romance is being likened to distraction, but this expression feels different once it resonates within. It simply cannot be love if there are feelings of possessiveness, irrational jealousy, or desperation.  This extends further to friendship as well; it cannot be a true friendship if there are feelings of possessiveness, irrational jealousy, or desperation.

Universal Care

Studying Metta has helped me understand that it is more important to have the capacity to extend loving kindness to all beings, rather than to allow one’s capacity for loving to be stifled by looming pains of a romantic-relationship-gone-wrong. (Not to say that commitments won’t have their disruptions, but when romantic love distracts one from his or her full potential… this illustrates an unhealthy dysfunction in one or even both partners).

I’ve witnessed healthy relationships and have also witnessed highly dysfunctional relationships. I’ve also been part of each. The key for me personally has been focusing on the growth that takes place following loss, and not allowing the loss of any relationship to drown my ideals or aspirations.

Faithfulness

Faithfulness toward oneself is a pertinent characteristic for contribution to The Greater Good; commitment to The Greater Good is essential to bring one’s purpose to fruition. Combine the two, [faithfulness toward oneself + commitment to The Greater Good] and you’re on a path toward Enlightenment. The word Enlightenment is sometimes viewed as an absolute state of being. In the context of growth, my own definition of ‘enlightenment‘ would be:

ENLIGHTENMENT
the continuous evolution of pure awareness that facilitates growth, knowledge, and integrity to the degree that mind, body, spirit, and communication are each strengthened.

I don’t think it is possible to become perfectly Enlightened, but I do think it is possible to exist in a continuously Enlightened state where one is cognizant of  intention, choice, and growth (and even aware of the state of being aware). Deepak Chopra explains the higher self as separate from thought, emotion, and action; we can learn to be more intentional along our journeys simply by taking the time to observe ourselves. A romantic commitment or friendship that distracts from the development of faithfulness to one’s self-awareness will only cause both partners to stray from each’s truest purpose.

To Be Free

Whether alone, or committed to another soul, the quality of being free to pursue growth is essential to everyone’s happiness. Everyone on the Planet. If we aren’t working on becoming more virtuous, the rest of our experience turns fragile, and sometimes fragile enough to break. I feel very blessed to have such deep connections in my life that allow me to explore, discuss, and grow from these ideas. Thank you:)

5,000 + Year Old Tree

 

This article over on Planet Permaculture made me smile this morning, as I paused to ponder the many seasons this tree has endured… the many people who may have taken shade beneath its branches. A pleasant, gentle reminder about endurance. Endings and new beginnings are inevitable, yet life endures. I hiked deep into a caved area yesterday and noticed that, even in pools as shallow as 12″, there was an abundance of water-life. Little fish just bursting with energy in the smallest, most hidden pools of water. Life just can’t contain itself here on the planet:)

Connections

Where I’ve been the last 2 days. New commitments in life are happening. This is a time of entirely new lessons that I didn’t even see coming… a time of strength and strengthening of bonds. The connection that happens in the mind and soul when the body comes together with Earth is so strong. This weekend, I experienced yoga looking down onto treetops as the sun came up. Forever changed, and feeling less and less distracted by the illusions currently surrounding us all. Incorporating yoga into my life has been a total game changer…

I’ve been working on a book of gratitude with someone very close to me the last month or so, and while we’ve talked about sharing it one day, I’m not sure sharing is always necessary. Sometimes sentiment is more important than that. I do want to share what I’ve learned from the experience of putting together this little handwritten book though… It’s the experiencing and the doing and all the things you learn along the way that speak the loudest.

Inner Awakening: Whole Brain Activation

Image by Mateu (Brazil based artist)

This week in the classroom at work, our team of hypnotists is educating clients about the benefits of whole brain activation, as opposed to left-brain vs. right-brain separation (or labeling oneself as one or the other). At our wellness center, we use Audio-Visual Entrainment to stimulate this process, in addition to hypnotic suggestions that merge both left and right brain approaches to change. Many people, even after just one session, report sensations of inspiration and increased awareness. Meditation, hypnosis, and focused awareness in general can help achieve whole brain activation, but routinely exercising the brain and increasing its capacity through intentional learning is what truly yields long-term benefits. (If any of my co-workers are reading this, you’ve been incredible in the classroom so far this week!)

 

Embrace Your Inner Genius

As soon as we begin to learn, we’re influenced by a left-brain-dominant society that teaches reliance on repetition, fact, and logic to achieve success. While using left-brain attributes  is important, merging the characteristics of both brain hemispheres is what helps us grow into a more enlightened state. The fusion of imagination and logic can be applied toward any intention. Tony Buzan identifies the following steps toward the achievement of whole brain activation:

  1. Recognize the potential of your brain
  2. Make your brain your hobby (read, go to the library, immerse yourself in what interests you!)
  3. Use both hemispheres of the brain
  4. Daydream BIG.
  5. Have the attitude that you can do anything

I would add three steps: 

  1. Commitment to daily focused awareness or spiritual practice (meditation, prayer, hypnosis/self-hypnosis, etc)
  2. Eat life-giving foods to get those fresh enzymes, vitamins, and minerals (raw fruits and vegetables)
  3. Spend time in nature regularly… experience oneness with the Universe : )

 

An Invitation to Self-Care

Making self-care a priority is sometimes mistaken as an act of selfishness. I speak with many clients who report that before joining one of our programs, they felt guilty about taking time out for themselves. The reality is, if we aspire to be effective in helping others or making contributions to the world (even in the smallest ways) it is important to care for yourself; It doesn’t mean that cultivating self-love is more important than loving others, but it is certainly of equal importance. Making the time to work through any barriers that you’ve built up in the past clears your heartspace, allowing the flower of self-love to blossom. (Tip: Regular chakra balancing can help as you move through the emotional process of letting go. There’s a really nice 7 minute tune-up I use regularly here). Maybe there are attachments to things that have been holding you back from experiencing your full spiritual, mental, and physical potential… but the moment you recognize what those attachments are, the process of growth has already begun!

 

Much love this Wednesday…

Michelle (Aurora)

The Land of the Free: Living off the Grid…. Illegal?

We’re healthier. We’re learning how to simplify. And we cannot be denied the right to do so.

Or can we? 

Not too far down the road from now, I have plans to make living off the grid a reality. With a few different options in place, I’ve gained a good deal of insight and inspiration from others who have already begun their self-sustained lifestyle. Intentional living / self-sustainability has truly been picking up over the years! I was fortunate to have been exposed, partly, to this lifestyle growing up in the forward-thinking, community-driven, environmentally-conscious little town of Athens, Ohio, and spent time at friends’ homes whose families were already living this way back in the early 90′s; skylights in almost every room to allow more natural light, beds built as mini-lofts to save space, and ladders in place of staircases to make smaller living spaces function more efficiently. As I’ve grown more serious about these plans for the future, I continue to research and educate myself on issues related to living off the grid. Some of the things happening in recent years are downright shocking. Yes, it is actually illegal now in Florida to “live off the grid” (click link for full article), and states are getting stricter on their zoning policies as the interest in self-sustainability continues to increase.

Well, we have faith in us. We will continue to  increase our capacity to create fuller, simpler, healthier lives. I celebrate those who have made this change, or are transitioning into a simpler lifestyle. Thank you. You inspire the rest of us! Happy Independence Day [early].

 

Here is a list of valuable links on the subject of sustainability / intentional living.

Going off the Grid: Why It’s Good For You
http://annamcohen.com/2014/05/20/going-off-the-grid-why-its-good-for-you/

Solar Cooking
https://www.solarcookers.org/
http://pedalpapasacto.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/solar-cooking-yet-another-way-to-cut-you-carbon-footprint/

Costa Rica’s Eco-Village
http://sustainablelivingincostarica.com/2014/06/17/affordable-tiny-houses-now-offered-at-osa-mountain-eco-village-serenity-gardens-eco-village/

Living Income Guaranteed
http://livingincome.me/wiki/The_Living_Income_Guaranteed_Proposal 

Living off the Grid Can Be Illegal
http://michiganradio.org/post/living-grid-can-be-illegal 

Single Mom Builds Off-Grid Lakeside Cabin Near Columbus, Ohio
http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/tag/off-grid/  

Do You Live in a Constitution Free Zone? 
http://www.offthegridnews.com/2013/08/24/do-you-live-in-a-constitution-free-zone-many-americans-do/ 

Ultimate Off the Grid Guides
http://www.simplesolarhomesteading.com/ 

Free Campsites in the USA
http://freecampsites.net/usa/ 

“Workamping” Opportunities
http://www.work-camping.com/
http://www.workamper.com/
http://www.camphost.org/ 

 Government Steals Couple’s Private Backcountry Land & Cabin
http://offgridsurvival.com/government-steals-private-backcountry-land/

Activist Post: New Study Promotes Agenda 21-Style “Land Grabs”
http://www.activistpost.com/2014/06/new-study-promotes-agenda-21-style-land.html 

“Future Earth” 
http://www.thedailysheeple.com/future-earth-re-branding-agenda-21-for-environmental-control_062014

 Canary Island the First In World to be Powered by Just Wind and Water
http://planetpermaculture.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/canary-island-the-first-in-world-to-be-powered-by-just-wind-and-water/ 

 

 

 

exploration

A visit to Sheldon Church Ruins, SC. © 2012

 

Change of scenery offers inspiration to further explore the scenery of Soul within.
Click here for more info on this landmark.