Saturday, 03 September 2016 00:00

I don't use social media as often as some people do. I think one reason for this is that I often have so much other computer-related work to do that I don't want to expend extra energy staring at a computer or other device screens. Another reason is that some of the media "traps" I click are often disappointing, or even at times disturbing.

I quit watching the news on TV years ago because it seemed to concentrate on things that I really didn't want to know about. With modern social media, the news is everywhere. You have to be aware of where you click or you land on misinformation sites, waste-of-time sites, or news that you would have rather not heard about. My not wanting to see the extra junk that could get stuck in my thoughts for the day is one reason that I don't carry a cell phone.

My dilemma is this: because I run a non-profit organization and am starting a new business, I need to increase my use of social media to bring more attention to my websites. So, I am asking myself, can I increase my use of business social media and at the same time decrease the amount of clicking on junk links? If I can do this, then I will be more efficient with my time on social media, and the outcome would be that I don't actually increase the amount of time spend on media sites.

I am going to challenge myself with a "don't-click" diet. I won't click anything that is in the trending column, is an ad, is not directly posted by a friend, or is not on a channel that I subscribe to. I will let you know how it all works out later. Did I increase my social media time? Did I waste less time? Was I able to spend more time in my garden?

P.S. You can follow all of my adventures by clicking on my name at the top of this article.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 00:00

I love giving tours of the ecovillage to students. Students are always so eager to learn, and come to the tours with eyes wide open. Angelica da Costa, an ESL instructor at Portland State University, came with her second-language students. They were such a polite group, and were shy to speak. I was delighted when a few of them laughed quietly at my subtle jokes. I made a short video with some scenes from the tour.


Monday, 29 August 2016 00:00

I sometimes don't like waiting. It seems to make life go more slowly. It wasn't until I started taking public transit that I began to appreciate taking things slowly in life. I used to rush here and rush there, especially while driving. I would try to make as many stops as I could in the direction I was driving in to get all of my errands done. Now, I simply do fewer errands and make fewer stops. I usually try to consolidate my shopping to just one location; I choose the place where I shop by how many items I can buy from that location in one trip. I do this especially with grocery shopping, as this covers most of what I buy anyway.

I enjoy life more now that I have slowed things down. Life seems less stressful when you are less busy, and that is healthy. I am delighted with my friend's short film, as it highlights waiting, but makes it seem calm and normal. While waiting, you never know what you might find to brighten up your day. If you are curious and think you can stand "Waiting," then try watching it below.

Edited by Lisa Charles, MPH


Friday, 19 August 2016 00:00

Nonviolent Communication, also known as Compassionate Communication, is well known for its use in communication with others. I've taken several classes, and have learned something new every time. I've found it hard to learn to use the concepts in everyday situations. What I have learned so far is to be aware of feelings, needs, and requests, in others and in myself.

I think that being aware of one's own feelings and needs is the first step to good communication. If you are having trouble identifying your own feelings and needs, then how would you be able to identify them in others? Practicing the feelings and needs exercises on myself is easier than with others, as I can take all the time I need to come up with my own answers.

The first thing I learned was to recognize and own my own feelings. We tend to say the word "feeling" in a sentence without taking responsibility for the actual feeling, and sometimes without naming something that is a feeling or emotion. For example, someone might say, "When he yelled at me, he made me feel small." This statement says, "he made me" which does not take responsibility for your own feelings. No one can make you feel a certain way. Someone may have taken an action that triggered something in you, but it is you who is feeling the emotion. The second part of that says "feel small," but "small" is not an emotional feeling. One might change this around to say, "I am feeling vulnerable because my needs for connection and companionship were not met."

While at home, I can go through the list of feelings, identify what feelings I am having, and then get in touch with why I am feeling this way by identifying what needs of mine are not being met. Only after identifying your feelings and needs can you make an effective request. Only after also identifying the other person's feelings and needs can you work out a strategy that will work for both of you.

The other person is not always a willing participant in these exercises, but I find it calming to identify my own feelings and needs. This is where you can be at peace with yourself and with what goes on around you. By identifying your own triggers and emotions, you can find a strategy that works for you that manages the state of your daily thoughts.

Here is the 3rd edition of the original book by Marshall Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships (Nonviolent Communication Guides)


Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00

Alpha Farm is a commune that has been around since 1972. It was started by Caroline Estes who has traveled the country to teach Consensus decision making. Here are some photos from my visit in May of 2015.

Here are some links for more information on Alpha Farm:

Sunday, 03 January 2016 00:00

After the holidays this year, I got the holiday blues—a greenish blue, from observing all the wastefulness behind the holiday cheer. There is a holiday daze that surfaces when people are with family that they only see once a year. Their focus is not on recycling or noticing their environment. I got caught up in the daze. I have so many receipts that I am seriously trying to find a way to upcycle them.  From shopping for the perfect gifts, to following my mother’s idea of using just paper plates and plastic cups for the holiday dinner to reduce clean-up, I lost my sustainable focus. I just went along, like most of us do, as a way to reduce conflict with our families to try to make the best of our little time together.

My holiday travel involved flying to Phoenix to be with my family and dad, who is in a skilled nursing facility. While at the airport, I ordered a latte at Starbucks, and specifically requested no cardboard sleeve. What did I get instead? Two cups! I handed the extra cup back to the barista, and saw him throw it away. I also requested no receipt, but it still printed out anyway, and the barista crumpled it up and threw it away. I could have done that or reused the receipt as a bubblegum wrapper. Throwing it away is not “no receipt.” Starbucks serves 60 million customers each week. That puts into perspective just how much paper costs are involved with my little coffee addiction. I try to remember to bring my own cup, but sometimes (like at the airport) I tend to not have it with me.

Visiting with family and seeing my dad made it difficult to be attuned to much of anything else except making the holiday season memorable for my dad. With the daze of the holiday at full speed, and my emotions running low after seeing my dad’s health decline, it was easy to ignore my daily conscious sustainable living habits. Even the nursing facility itself had only plastic cups available for patients. Another concern was that when we went to eat at restaurants, all the to-go cups and boxes were made of styrofoam. I therefore sacrificed some wonderful leftovers. While waiting in the car for 15 minutes for my mother to leave the grocery store, I observed not one single customer leaving the grocery store with reusable bags—they all had the plastic grocery store bags. I was hoping that one person would come out with a reusable bag, and if they did, I would have gotten out of the car and cheered for them. Or, as I was in the daze, maybe not.

The last holiday regret leading to the blues was using Christmas wrapping paper, which I recently learned is not recyclable. I used at least one roll of wrapping paper; multiply that by the population of the Metro Phoenix area, at 4.2 million. If everyone averaged a roll of wrapping paper, that is a painful amount of paper that was wasted.

So, my New Year's resolution for this year is to have a sustainable travel plan for the holidays. I plan to have a list that includes traveling sustainably. For starters, one thing on that list is to bring my own to-go cup with me that I can use for the whole trip. The next things on my list—and I will check it twice—are to use recyclable wrapping paper, and to be assertive with retailers that when I say no receipt, I mean no receipt! May your new year be a mindful and merry one!