Being Green – Seeing the Light

Hi Folks:

Well, Friday is upon us and that means I’m turning my attention to ‘being green’ once again.  I labeled this post ‘Seeing the Light’ for two reasons.  On one hand, with the plethora of information that’s coming online today in all aspects of being ‘green’, sustainability, corporate responsibility, etc. it seems that more and more people are indeed ‘seeing the light’.  Further to that, as I type this I’m listening to the TEDxSOMA live and the focus of this series of talks is on interconnection/ interactivity, sharing ideas and communication.  We all share this little blue marble, and we all need to work together to find a better way to live on it.  In the book ‘The Sacred Balance‘, David Suzuki used this analogy (allowing for my memory here):  take a basketball, and overlay a sheet of tissue paper onto this ball.  The basketball represents the earth (yes, the earth is an oblate spheroid, but stay with it).  All life on earth exists in a layer comparatively similar to that layer of tissue paper.  Visualizing that changes how one sees the world.

Seeing the light also means something completely different because artificial light has revolutionized how we exist in the world.  Whereas we once operated largely from sunrise to sunset, artificial light changed that forever.  We shifted from torches to candles to oil lamps, and in about 1809 Humphry Davy invented the first electric light.  This idea was latched onto by others, and Thomas Edison finally perfected the idea for the vacuum bulb that we know today as the incandescent light bulb.  They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, some have gases inside the bulb, but by and large the idea hasn’t changed.  I’m not going to try to guess the impact of the electric light on the industrial revolution, but it was nothing short of revolutionary.  The biggest problem with the incandescent bulb however, is that it’s horribly inefficient.  Any child who ever used an ‘Easy Bake Oven‘ could tell you that an incandescent bulb is primarily a heat source that also gives off some light.  Somewhere around 80% of the energy used by an incandescent bulb is lost in giving off heat.  Halogen lamps are a type of incandecent that were first used in the movie projection industry in the 1960s.  They’re now used in car headlamps as well as in residential and commercial use.  Halogen bulbs use less energy and last longer than typical incandescent bulbs, but still generate a lot of heat. Continue Reading →

Becoming a Better Photographer

Hi Folks:

I actually wrote and posted this yesterday, but I’ve felt compelled to come back and add an introduction to it (perhaps solely for my own edification) as to why I wrote it in the first place.  In a way it began when I read a comment on a photography forum by someone who said s/he could never use ‘Camera A’ because it doesn’t have ‘Live View’.  Now s/he has a valid point in how s/he sees photography and how it works for him/her, but it got me thinking… if you went back in time 10 years and said to the people at any of the major camera manufacturers that you wouldn’t buy their camera because it doesn’t have live view, they’d look at you funny and ask, “Live what?”  Now live view certainly has value and I’m not trying to demean it by any means, but it brings back to the surface the question of, “Is is the camera or the photographer that matters?”  Asking that question among any group of photographers will cause either discussion or riots depending on the group, and I’m not going to pick one side or the other because I think they’re both important.  On one hand, one can’t expect to make the same images with a Holga as with a Hasselblad.  That’s not to say that one can or cannot make good pictures with either a Holga or a Hasselbad, only that the type of images made with each will be quite different.  A photographer is not bound by his or her tools.  At the same time, if someone starting out were to drop $50K on camera equipment with no understanding of photography, s/he’d probably find it a frustrating experience getting the images s/he imagined making with this equipment.  Continue Reading →

Poetry Corner – Poetry as Play

Hello Dear Ones!

Been doing some research on poetry to add to the scope of this post from your perspective – as a reader. My goodness, the number of poets who come into this medium with a heavy heart is dis-heartening.

Thought to lighten things up for you a bit today! Here’s a cute poem by Wendy Morton:

Streaming Flamingoes

Poems are everywhere;
starry, ephemeral, delicious,
for the eating.
Take for instance,
the cyclist
with a pink flamingo aloft,
streaming with iridescent ribbons,
a sunlit metaphor.
Or the skateboard guy
with a suit and flowering tie,
all grace and light,
simply on his way to work.
Or the gift of a recipe for pumpkin soup:
take a pumpkin,
fill it with broth,
potatoes, carrots, thyme.
Bake it.
Eat this poem.

Poetry can be fun! Take any topic. Add humour. Rhyme or no rhyme, matters not. Put sentences together that match, or mix lines up a bit for added flavour.

One afternoon when my son was four and a half years old, he wandered out from doing his thing in the bathroom and his trousers were down around his ankles. Here’s the poem that surfaced in my mind and onto the page:

Oh little boy at half past four
with trousers dragging on the floor
the bathroom may now be a chore
yet every day I love you more.

Haiku poems are simple three line poems and can be fun ways of capturing emotions more expressive than a mere sentence. Cinquain poems are five-lines. Click here for a few examples of other easy styles to use.  Check out the List poem style. Here’s one of my own personal five line favourites (though it’s not a cinquain as the syllable and word count don’t match the formal style):

Sunset symphony
scents of cedar
and fresh mown grass
titillate the senses.
I’m smiling!

There was a day when I had a poetic inspiration to write a poem about writing poems and, yikes! a writer’s worst nightmare – no working pen in my purse to capture the thoughts before they dissipated like fog at sun’s rise. Anyone watching me would have wondered what possessed me – I was quite frantically attempting to find something in my purse that I could use as a writing tool. I was ready to use my lipstick tube when I recalled having been to an art store a few weeks before to purchase a turquoise pen.  No turquoise pens were there to be found. What they had were artist brush pens in different shades of blue than what I had in mind, yet I was moved to buy one and put it in a zippered compartment that I never normally use. With a huge feeling of relief at finally finding a creative tool, this was the resulting poem recorded that day:

Poem as Art

What is this?
A poet without a pen?
Glad tidings be
That fancy marker
Grace my person
And my purse
To allow the artistry
Of words
The creation of phrase
The lyric of tongue
To unfold in indian ink
Peacock blue
Upon lined page
As yet empty
Awaiting breathlessly
The touch
Of the artist’s stroke.

No topic is too simple or foolish or too often written about by others to be written about by you if you are inspried to do so from a creative and playful bent. If you find magic in the world around you, anything and everything can be your inspiration!

Clouds

White clouds growing
changing in the east
building
expanding
as though the Ghostbuster’s
Marshmallow Man
was very slowly
arising
stretching
up and out
from a long held
crouch.

Here’s an exercise for you if you’re so inspired to indulge:

Below I’m going to give you the description of someone I saw one day last summer. I would encourage you to write a poem – or several poems if inclined – about this individual. Be playful. Be inventive. Trust the words that come to your mind. Write them down no matter how foolish!

Don’t edit what words you hear in your head before you write them out, and don’t edit them once they’re on the page. Never use an eraser! Never use the delete key! Once words have been removed, you can’t get those thoughts and inspirations back. And trust me, some of my worst phrases or sentences may have been inappropriate for the piece I was working on at the time, yet – lo and behold – I found them to be modifiable and ideal for something else along the way!

Here’s the description:

*an 80 something woman with long ringletted hair, wearing a  sun-faded yellow, broad brimmed hat with wilted blue silk flowers. She sports an aged gingham print summer dress hiked to her knees, showing off her rolled-down support hose while riding a rust-red bicycle. She hums a tune that has her smiling. Though you do not recognize the tune,  imagine it to be … any tune you choose.  Possibly: K-K-K-Katie, Beautiful Katie, You’re the only G-G-G-Girl that I adore … Or maybe: Barney Google, with the goo-goo-googly eyes, Barney Google with a wife who’s twice his size … ( yes, those really were songs that were popular in her day!)

Now, make a poem from the above as it inspires you. Make it playful, fanciful, light, loving. Yes, you can make it sad if you are so moved … yet my hope for your expansion today would be to show you how easy it can be to become poetic – in every aspect of your life, from the frying pan’s sizzle to the awe of dew drops on the first crocuses of Spring – and to do it playfully as a child might.

Here are a few examples from my own inspiration:

The yellow hat brim flapped and flapped
Against her cheek it slapped and slapped
The bicycle chain it tapped and tapped
As the old woman hummed a tune.

Or how about?

The blue flower wilted, drooping sadly
Rolled support hose retracting badly
Little old lady peddling madly
Humming gladly.

Or this one?

Yellow hat and wilted flower
Hair in ringlets a winded mess
Support hose rolled beneath the knees
Above the knees a gingham dress.

I’ll leave you now with, hopefully, inspirations floating around in your own mind. Go find that pen and some paper or open up your word processor and have fun!

Once done, if you care to send your results on to me through our comments option below, I’d love to read them! Let me know if it would be okay for me to publish here what you send me – I will honour your request – even if it means publishing it anonymously or with your first name only!

Happy poeming!!!!!

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia

The Dangers of Planting Bulbs

Hi Folks:

I thought that subject heading might cause a few people to scratch their heads in wonder, so permit me a moment to explain.  First of all, I’ve had a love affair with the earth since I was a boy living in the woods in Quebec.  I’d come home from school, drop my books on the kitchen counter, yell a quick hello and I was gone until dark.  To this day, the ‘woods’ is my true home.  As such I’ve loved gardening for a long time too, both indoors and out.  The first apartment Marcia and I had together was above the double garage, attached to the main house.  We had a large picture window in the living room and we had so many plants that several visitors to our landlady asked her if she had a greenhouse!

Marcia’s often said that all of my plants want to be trees.  In one home we had a 15-foot cathedral ceiling and we had 4 plants over 10-feet tall, including FRED, our Christmas tree.  In our guest bedroom we had a hibiscus plant that was basically an 8-foot diameter ball that took up half the room.  We planted a Brugmansia in a pot, expecting it (as per the image that came with it) to grow about 2-feet high and have a number of white flowers.  Ours grew 6 feet in a couple of months and had one flower that was nearly 2-feet long.  It was a night bloomer, and every evening all four floors of the house were filled with the most amazing scent.  In our last place together we had two poinsettias that re-bloomed 14 months after we got them.  One of them put out 24 blossoms!  So, where’s  the danger in all of this you ask?  Ah, I was just getting to that. Continue Reading →

Marcia’s Meanderings – Light & Joy

Hello Dear Ones! Glad you stopped by…

The past two posts: Poetry Corner and He Says/She Says have focused on the topics of Light & Joy and Being the Light. This mind of mine was enjoying the energy from these inspirational topics. As a result my meanderings today are still being directed to the subject. Perusing my book shelf for something solid to consider and discuss had me opening texts at random. Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth was the hands down winner.

Rather than attempting to paraphrase Tolle’s work, I thought to inspire you from the master himself. (Please note the italics are mine.)

When you say, I enjoy doing this or that, it is really a misperception. It makes it appear that the joy comes from what you do, but that is not the case. Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into this world from deep within you. The misperception that joy comes from what you do is normal, and it is also dangerous, because it creates the belief that joy is something that can be derived from something else, such as an activity or thing. You then look to the world to bring you joy, happiness. But it cannot do that. This is why many people live in constant frustration. The world is not giving them what they think they need.

Then what is the relationship between something that you do and the state of joy? You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present, any activity that is not just a means to an end. It isn’t the action you perform that you really enjoy, but the deep sense of aliveness that flows into it. That aliveness is one with who you are. This means that when you enjoy doing something, you are really experiencing the joy of Being in its dynamic aspect. That’s why anything you enjoy doing connects you with the power behind all creation.

The majority of my days and the hours within those days are filled to overflowing with joy in all I do, those with whom I interact and in all encounters wherever I am in any and every given moment. It is exciting, then, when I see Tolle describing the feelings I have, that the joy is coming from within me – rather than me looking to find joy from those around me and the things that I do. It explains so much. Source fills me with the gift of joy, the light of my being radiates out, touched with the joy of Source and illuminates me, those I interact with, and the chosen corner of this physical world we are experiencing. Rather than looking to find joy outside of myself and to soak it into me as a sponge would draw in water, the joy comes from inside of me – and it is unlimited. A sponge is limited in its ability to absorb. Excess dribbles out ineffectually. Joy radiating out from within is unlimited and reaches out to all within its scope. The gift of knowing the joy within, of watching the effect it has on those with whom I connect, fills me to overflowing with the greatest and deepest sense of rightness. The more I live my life in this fashion, the deeper the sense of joy – the richer the gift that I and those around me are blessed to experience.

Selfish? Not entirely – though there is that aspect to it. The more joy I allow in, the greater the joy I feel. The greater the joy I feel, the more I am able to share. The more I share, the happier I am and the richer my relationships and life experiences. It becomes a cyclical spiral of energy feeding in upon itself and moving the spiral upwards, higher and higher into the furtherence of more and more joy.

I stated above that the majority of my days and the hours within those days are lived from this place of joy lived outward into my reality. I’m not perfect at it. Better and stronger and more at ease with the connection to this way of being, yet not perfect. It is now easier and easier, though, to recognize those moments when I am not living life from a place of joy – of concious choice to be happy and to fill myself up from within with the power of Source – God, the Universe, All That Is. I get a gnawing feeling within my being – it feels like fear – that antsy, restless, nervous sensation that something’s not right. I get this odd churning near my solar plexus that is trying to convince me that I should be afraid of something. When I look at it, I realize there is no logical reasoning for such an emotion to be filling me up with trepidation. There is no anger inside me. Anger, for me, is a misguided response to the deeper and truer emotion of fear. It is almost as though I’m a little girl and I have an angry parent near me. Not knowing what I may have done wrong to cause them to be angry, I have a sense that I am about to be spanked or punished for something in which I took no part. It is the frightened little girl feeling that tells me that I am not connected to Source, not living from a place of joy.

Holding on to this feeling only feeds the feeling and leaves me weak and vulnerable and of no use to myself, let alone anyone outside of me. I get jittery, begin to question whatever I’m doing in the moment and have even second guessed myself to the point of immobility. It has taken many years of trial and error, questioning and listening to myself, and my Self, to help me to be aware of this feeling and to know what it is I can do to let it go.

What is it that works for me? I smile. I smile at myself. I smile at my Self. Knowing myself to be a perfect child of the Universe – not a human child with baggage carried into adulthood – is what has me remembering that I am a being of light. My inner light – like the light of a single candle – is perfect in its unique beauty. My inner light, like that of a candle, dances and flickers with its own personal response to the world around it. Put two or more candles together in the same room and none of them responds the same way as the others. Each dances and undulates and flickers to a beat, a flow, a reality of its own. So too does the light within each of us. We dance our own joyous dances moved by the music, the flow of the Source of Universal energy bubbling up from within us as we allow it to fill us and to radiate out to the world.

Knowing how amazingly wonderful I feel when I am connected to Source, how could I possibly want to return to the feelings of human weakness of fear and insecurity? Yet it does happen – the return to those yucky feelings. Oddly it can sometimes take hours for me to recognize that I’ve returned to this place of emptiness and restless lacking. Though I seldom go back to my past  in thought – it may be helpful now in the sharing to tell you it used to take me months to get beyond this feeling of fear and restlessness. There was even a time when I spent years living in this zombie-like state. I shudder at the remembered life before this one.

Today, the joy I feel in the knowing that I now have it within my ability to release that restricting series of limiting emotions adds to the joy of my days and the minutes and hours of those days! The source of that power, that ability is not mine. It is in drawing the joy, the light and the love of Source, of God, of the universal love of All That Is up from within myself and allowing it to first fill me and then to radiate out through my eyes, my words, my actions.

Light and Joy. What a way to live!

In Light and Laughter and Love,

Marcia

He Says, She Says…

Greetings:

A long time ago Marcia and Mike lived in a world where they both believed there were positive and negative forces in the Universe.  In that world it was common to practice (and to teach others) than when doing any meditative or astral work one should create a bubble of white light around him or herself in order to protect the meditator from those dark forces.  This idea came into focus for them one night at a talk given by a very interesting gentleman.  His talk had all of the right words, but the underlying energy behind them was really not good.  Mike’s response to this was to create a circle of loving energy surrounding all those present; although he had his eyes closed at the time, Marcia saw the speaker’s response to this was to step outside of the circle, remove some herbs from his bag, and with  few words…well, you get the idea.  When Marcia and Mike went home that night everything was fine, but the next day Mike woke up with a high fever, delerious.  He couldn’t walk, could barely stand, and he spent the next few days in bed while Marcia ministered to him.

It was shortly after this event that Marcia and Mike received some teaching on a New Way of Being.  Rather than surrounding themselves with a loving white light, or drawing it in from above or below as others had suggested, they were told simply to imagine a candle in the center of their bodies.  They were to simply allow the light of this candle to flow out from them, gently, in all directions.  They were then to allow this loving light to grow and spread until they literally ‘became’ the candle, and this loving light was flowing out from their entire being.  A candle doesn’t reach out to touch others with its light, it simply is itself, and in being itself its light spreads and illuminates.  In this way the light comes from within, not from without, and rather than being a bubble of protection to keep away those dark energies, it simply transforms them into that same loving light.  As the saying goes, “All of the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of one small candle.”

Well, time went by, their knowledge grew and their understandings of the nature of All That Is changed, and they began to see the world and the universe in which they lived as much bigger, more open and more dynamic than they had once imagined.  As a part of this process they were able both to see the role they had once played in the event above and how their own beliefs had created it.  Furthermore they were able to surrender their beliefs in those negative forces.  As such, the idea of ‘being the candle’ no longer held the same significance for them.

Until one day, several years later, they came up with a different idea about ‘Being the Candle’.

Follow these links to read what He Says/She Says: Marcia’s View / Mike’s View

Being Green – Good News?!?!?!

Hi Folks:  Well, Friday has come around once again and that means it’s ‘green day’ here for us.  Without question the biggest news in the world this week is the aftermath following the earthquake in Haiti.  If you’re interested you can find links to disaster relief sites here.  It’s events like this that bring the words ‘climate change’ into real focus.  It’s wonderful that so many millions of dollars and thousands of hours of effort have been offered in assisting the people of Haiti deal with what’s happened on their island; as Marcia said to me though, where were the funds to help them upgrade their infrastructure BEFORE this happened?

Ah well.  The title of this blog post is ‘Good News’ and all evidence to the contrary, there is good news to be found.  Last week’s post focused on what I see as the somewhat bewildering plethora of green building standards and certifications, but even that is good news in a way.  It wasn’t that many years ago that none of this existed.  One article I came across this week is titled ‘A Very Brief History of Sustainability‘.  These ideas continue to spread beyond building construction as well.  On the Sustainable Sites Initiative website you can find information on “The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009” (.pdf), which includes “all stages of the site development process from site selection to landscape maintenance”.  There’s also a companion guide called “The Case for Sustainable Landscapes” (.pdf)  It brings a different slant to the idea of being ‘green’.  Another site I came across talks about greening up building operations and maintenance.  In the US these guidelines fall under the USGBC LEED for Existing Buildings – Operations and Maintenance Guide.  The article I read is titled, “LEED Cleaning – Why Not?”  Consider for a moment the wide range of chemicals used in traditional cleaning products and their effects on both the people using them and everyone else occupying the building after their use.  I certainly applaud less toxic alternatives!  Continue Reading →

Telling Tales – The Walk is Part of the Gift

Hi Folks:  As a writer and a storyteller, I collect stories the way others might collect stamps or record albums or…  I collect them because they give me pleasure, and because it gives me pleasure to share them with others.  Wherever I can I give credit to the person or people who authored a given story, but sometimes one comes across a story that is listed simply as ‘Author Unknown’.  The following stort story is one of those.  So to whomever authored this story, my gratitude!

Mike.

_____

An old Cree woman decided one day to present a priest she knew and loved with a sample of her embroidery.  She left the house early, and began her journey to the town far away.  The ground was hard and her feet were sore, but she continued on her quest.

As the day progressed, the sun beat down on her and baked her skin.  The stones on the path cut her feet, and by the time she arrived at her destination, she was exhausted, her lips were cracked, and her feet were bleeding.  Nonetheless, when the priest answered the door she held her embroidery up with great pride.

The priest’s eyes were filled with tears as he took the delicate embroidery from her hands, but his gaze was filled with the question ‘Why?’.

Looking up at him, the woman said, “Father, you don’t understand.  The walk is part of the gift.”

Author Unknown.

Poetry Corner – Being the Light

This week Mike and I have been discussing the subject of being the light – radiating our own inner light out to the world around us. It may, or may not, become a topic for our next He Says/She Says post … yet it sparked my search for poetry related to light and joy in life. I was quickly successful when I picked up a recent ‘find’ at my very favourite Victoria book store – Russell Books.

From Gifts from a Course in Miracles:

Light and Joy

You are the light of the world.

The light is in you.
Darkness can cover it,
but cannot put it out.

Why wait for Heaven?
Those who seek the light
are merely covering their eyes.
The light is in them now.
Enlightenment is but a recognition,
not a change at all.

There is no difference
between love and joy.

Joy has no cost.
It is your sacred right.

You can exchange all suffering
for joy this very day.
Practice in earnest,
and the gift is yours.

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia

Marcia’s Meanderings – Synchronicity and Inspirational Guidance

Well, dear folks, Sunday’s She Says post on the topic of ‘Destiny or Choice – A Matter of Beliefs?’ got my mind meandering back to past events and to synchronicities in my life. So many to contemplate, yet in addition to the one I shared in that post, the following synchronicity is one I often use when giving an example of the magic of life when one listens to inspirational guidance.

A few years back I was at home doing the much needed laundry and other housekeeping chores. From the start of my morning I had a niggling thought to go downtown to the indoor mall. There was nothing I needed to buy; I just had a sense to go. Now keep in mind that I abhor shopping of any kind. When I have a need to purchase something – groceries, clothes – I head to the store, get what I want and get out. No doddling and certainly no window shopping or browsing. So for me to get a thought to go shopping with no intention is – to say the least – unusual.

I let the thought pass and continued with my housework. The morning passed into afternoon and the thought kept resurfacing with a greater and greater sense of urgency. This was really odd. The kids were away till after dinner and once I had completed the day’s chores I had no reason to ignore the impulse. What would it hurt to go? I could always stop in at the bookstore for a gander at the latest titles.

So off I went to the mall and straight to the bookstore on the lower floor. I stood for a moment in the entranceway of the store glancing at the books on the display stand. Then I had the feeling that there might be something of interest toward the back of the store. I headed there.

It was summer and I was not wearing a coat, so when I approached the woman who was mumbling to herself she likely mistook me for a clerk.

“May I help you?” I asked her.

“I’m looking for a specific book my friend told me I absolutely had to read,” she stated with a very frustrated expression on her unhappy face. “And I can’t remember either the title of the book or even the name of the author,” she added with a very deep sigh.

In the passing of a mere second I stretched out my arm and, with my hand out and palm up, I curled all my fingers, except one, into my palm. I then bent my index finger toward myself a few times motioning her to follow me. She did.

I led her from the back to the front of the store, over to a particular shelf. I then pointed to one specific book and asked her if this was the one she was looking for. She looked amazed that I had found exactly the book she had come to buy!

“How did you know?” she asked with the widest of eyes.

I smiled and said, “Once you’ve finished reading this book, I want you to remember this encounter.”

With those words, I turned around and walked out of the store and headed back home. I knew I could leave as the earlier niggly feeling had been replaced with a sense of successful completion.

This example of synchronicity and inspiration is common in my life. Most often a daily occurrence, though I tend to see expressions of this in simpler ways now. Even in the simplest of synchronicities there is such a sense of awe and delight.

The above story I have told many times through the years and will probably continue to do so when its example is appropriate. Likely so is the woman in the bookstore still telling this tale! If you are reading this, dear lady, let me know! I’d love to hear where your life’s journey has led you!

Oh, by the way, the book she was looking for was The Celestine Prophecy.

In Light and Laughter,

Marcia