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Like everything else in our lives, Larry and I are in the process of redefining health care according to lifely principles. This post is an overview of our current viewpoint on health care, which is continuing to evolve.
As I am writing this, my body is almost 65 years old. I’ve studied a lot about health and have survived several major health crises in my life, so I know a thing or two about the industrial medical system and the alternative health care system.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the best healthcare we can give ourselves is really good selfcare.
While writing Moving Forward to a Lifely Way of Life and This Very Short History of the Oil Industry Explains Why We Have Toxic Products Today I was looking at things that happened at various points in history. And I had a realization.
Our work here at Lifely isn’t something radically new…it is actually a continuation of the direct human participation in Nature that was occurring prior to industrialization. And this return to Nature will naturally occur after industrialization ends, because Nature is the ongoing foundation of Life.
This Very Short History of the Oil Industry Explains Why We Have Toxic Products Today And Why We Need to Move Away From Industrialization
As I explore the subject of this blog, there are certain questions I have and hold in my mind. Occasionally information passes by that answer these questions perfectly.
Such was the case the other night when Larry and I were watching television. We don’t watch “industrial TV” where the whole point is to sell you things via commercials so the TV shows are designed around what will attract the largest audience to watch the commercials. No, we watch movies and archived television shows without the commercials, and we are finding some very interesting things.
Currently, we are watching episodes of the History Channel show Modern Marvels, which goes back to 1995. There are about 185 episodes to watch, but they are fascinating because they basically show how and why our industrial world came to be. They are, of course, presenting these stories from the viewpoint of glorifying the industrial creations of man, but we see just how and why things went wrong that led us to where we are today.
So we have been watching one episode every evening, and the next episode in the lineup was Oil
After writing posts about lifely products last week, it occurred to me that I should also write about about what what we mean when we say we are moving forward to “A Lifelstyle Based in Life”
Our underlying directive is to be “oriented to Nature.” To us, this means that Nature is the center of our lives and our intent is to understand Nature and live by its ways as part of the whole of Life, just like every other species.
We are, after all, a species of Nature—Homo sapiens—not industrial consumers. As they say, “When in Rome do as the Romans do,” so therefore, being of Nature, we should do as Nature does, not as materialistic industrialists dictate.
A couple of weeks ago I receive an email from Kyrgies, because I am on their mailing list.
I discovered them when I was doing Debra’s List (as Debra Lynn Dadd) and loved their wooly shoes. So much so I bought several pairs for myself and a pair for Larry and his Mom. And a lot of my readers loved them too.
Basically Kyrgies are “house shoes” made of 100% wool (with or without more sturdy soles). My favorites are the all-wool shoes which I happily wear around the house all day and outdoors (unless it’s raining) and even out-and-about (though they provide no protection if you step on something sharp. The only drawback is they do wear out, but I don’t mind purchasing a new pair every year or so.
“When you build a thing, you cannot merely build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, and within it, so that the large world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it.”
— Christopher Alexander,
A Pattern Language
an architectural design text that applies to design of anything and everything
The big difference between lifely products and all industrial products is that they go beyond the whole idea of industrialization and take a leap into Nature.
As I stated in The Lifecycle of a Product, products are multi-faceted and may be better or worse across their universe of materials, manufacture, use, and disposal. But then, products also fall within market sector categories that can indicate how they may affect health and the environment.
Recently I discovered that all products actually fall into a continuum that moves in degrees from the worst industrial products that harm health and the environment to the best lifely products that sustain health and the environment.
I this post I am going to outline this continuum as a reference point for evaluating and sorting products, and eventually making a decision to chose and use a product.
After we gave up our reserved cabin at the campground because it just wasn’t right, we then needed to find accommodations on the fly.
We started driving down Highway One, stopping in each town to see what was available. These are very tiny towns and all accommodations are privately-owned. Many are $300 or more per night.
As we approached Point Arena, suddenly our cell phone internet reception kicked in and we were able to use an online service to find a hotel. There was only one hotel. But it was right on the ocean! Just what we wanted!
The impetus for coming on this particular trip was to explore the very tiny town of Westport.
We had driven through for the first time just about a month ago as we were taking an alternate route home from our Utopia.
As we drove through we were charmed by the small village of Victorian-era houses and buildings and wanted to know more.
So when it was time for Larry to choose a birthday present, to explore Westport was what he asked for. How could I refuse? I wanted to know more about Westport too.
One of the things Larry wanted to do for his birthday was spend a lot of time walking on and exploring beaches, so our rule was at least one beach walk per day.
After driving all day on the first day, we hadn’t had our beach walk and we were in Fort Bragg, so we went to Glass Beach.
Glass Beach is famous because in times past it was the garbage dump at the edge of town. Decades later the beach is filled with colorful bits of glass from broken bottles, tumbled smooth by years of ocean waves.
But what delighted me about this beach was driftwood carvings of animals that are part of the habitat of the beach.
For Larry’s birthday, I had reserved a “cabin” in a campground/RV park.
This was the first time I had ever reserved a cabin and chose the deluxe cabin with a deck around it because it was Larry’s birthday.
When we arrived we found that the cabin was simply a box with a roof and two beds inside.
There was electricity but no water.
Toilets and coin-operated showers were “nearby” but when we went to investigate we found that the facility for our cabin was being remodeled. There was no shower at all, the toilet was a porta-potty and the sink was a hose. There was no hot water available to wash our hands after using the porta-potty.
There was a working facility on the property but it was so far from our cabin we would have to drive there to use it.
This is not what we were expecting.
While driving to Westport for Larry’s birthday, we took a shorter inland route going north rather than driving slower Highway 1 both ways.
Highway 128 is very scenic with many vineyards.
I wanted to go that route because there is a store in the town of Boonvile that I love called Farmhouse Mercantile. They don’t sell online, but they might ship. Their purpose is to sell to their locals and to the weekend tourists who are wine tasting.
The reason I am writing this post is because when I walked up to the register to make my purchase, the covid shield wasn’t plexiglas…it was an old glass window.
Last week we spent three days on the road celebrating Larry’s 67th birthday.
Along the way we had some lifely experiences we want to share, so we are posting each one as a separate post.
I first wrote about the lifecycle of a product in 1990 (see below). Not much had been written then, but I was co-founder of a new company that was making some of the first green products and I needed some way to assess the environmental impacts of a product, so I developed my own Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that showed how the product was connected to the Earth.
Today I want to give you this concept in a more personal context.
Two nights ago Larry and I found and watched the documentary The Gardener on Amazon Prime. It was just a perfect example of what Lifely is all about.
Single-handedly, this man envisioned and installed a number of intertwined gardens integrated into the natural ecosystem where he lived, enhancing the beauty and functionality of the place instead of damaging it.
The creator, Francis Higginson Cabot loved gardens and had the advantage of inheriting the land and wealth with which he could create whatever he could imagine. But that’s not the point. Anything he did can be done on a small scale any place by anyone.
It is clear to me that the problem with industrialization is that is based in materialism, which has no soul. And so industrialized man can only think in terms of the material. But Mr. Cabot clearly is living as a soul, bringing his creativity to enhance the ecosystem in which he lives, exalting it and making it more beautiful in every direction.
One aspect f lifely products is to make them yourself. In fact, to make the stuff of everyday life from materials obtained in your own ecosystem is the most preferable way to get whatever you need for your life. That was the way it was done for millennia before industrialization.
By making what we need ourselves, we have complete control over the design, the materials and the methods us to make it, and we are in direct contact and interaction with Nature, in which we dwell.
Larry and I spent this past weekend clearing away the remains of last year’s garden and the weeds that had grown over the winter, in preparation for planting our new garden.
People cannot live apart from nature…And yet, people cannot live in nature without changing it. What we call nature is, in a sense, the sum of the changes made by all the various creatures and natural forces in their intricate actions and influences upon each other and upon their places. The making of these differences is the making of the world…
And so it can hardly be expected that humans would not change nature. Humans, like all other creatures, must make a difference; otherwise, they cannot live. But unlike other creatures, humans must make a choice as to the kind and scale of the difference they make. If they choose to make too small a difference, they diminish their humanity. If they choose to make too great a difference, they diminish nature, and narrow their subsequent choices; ultimately, they diminish or destroy themselves. Nature, then, is not only our source but also our limit and measure.
— Wendell Berry
How much should we humans “interfere” in Nature?
As Wendell Berry so beautifully pointed out, no species, including man, can live without changing its surrounding environment. It just is impossible. So the real question is not DO we change Nature or not, but HOW do we change Nature?
One of the people in the world that I most admire is chef and restaurateur Robert Irvine.
I love watching him on his Food Network TV show Restaurant: Impossible because he takes failing restaurants and in a weekend turns them around and puts them on the road to success. After his whirlwind visit, it’s up to the restaurant owners to continue the successful actions Robert has taught them and established. When they do, the restaurants go on to thrive, when they don’t, their restaurants continue to fail and eventually die.
What interests me about this show is not the restaurant, it’s the turnaround from failure to success. Because the same steps Robert takes to rescue restaurants can also be used to turn around any failing enterprise.
What we need now is “Planet: Impossible.” It’s clear that the actions of industrial society are leading to failure in many directions. We need to turn things around and operate on successful actions.
The way it goes in Life is when we decide we want to be something—like a student at a particular school, or a mother or a ballet dancer or a chef—we embark upon a course and things begin to happen in that direction as a result of walking that particular path. As we take each step and learn more and more, we gain new abilities and understandings. We go, for example, from not being able to read music notation or knowing what the keys are on a piano, to having the ability to read music effortlessly and being able to play a complex piece of music flawlessly.
As Larry and I walk our Lifely path, things have been changing for us.
But this past month—and especially this past week—things have been changing very rapidly, more rapidly than I have ever experienced before.
So I just want to catch everyone up here with what has happened. Because things have progressed.
I just wanted to mark today as the first day of our new intentionally-created Lifely life.
The life I had that was based in the industrial world is over.
Though we have been working on this for a long time, and it’s not complete by any means, today is the “first day” because we have moved everything from the space where we had been living before, and now we need to create our living space entirely anew.
Larry and I have just returned from spending two weeks in our Utopia.
It is very wild and rugged there on the Northern California coast. The mountains literally rise right out of the ocean.
This was our third trip there and each time we explore new areas.
On Saturday we explored a park that we thought just had a lighthouse, but we found a wooden stairway down a cliff to a rocky beach with many tidepools.
We’re leaving our housesitting house this morning after a two-week stay.
One day while we were here, Larry had nothing to do while I was writing, so he just started cleaning the stove. He noticed that the light in the range hood was grimy, so he took it apart and cleaned it. And then he cleaned the burners.
In the bathroom, clean towels had been left for us, but also there were unwashed towels on the rack, so we washed all the towels last night.
This reminded me of something I noticed in Larry when we first met. Larry always wants to leave a place in better condition than he found it.
There are words in our language, which describe qualities of Nature, that we don’t often use, I believe, because we don’t understand the meaning of these words and we don’t see ourselves as part of Nature. “Lusty” is one of those words.
But since everything about our being alive has to do with the fact that we are beings of Spirit dwelling in the physical world of Nature, one of our natural, innate qualities is lustiness.
When we think of “lusty” we immediately make an association with the word “lust.” While in our culture we generally take a negative view of “lust” as “usually intense or unbridled sexual desire,” in fact, there are other definitions than this in my dictionary. Definition #1, which is obsolete, is about pleasure and delight, and definition #3 is about enthusiasm and eagerness.
Today is the Spring Equinox, the halfway point between the shortest day on Winter Solstice and the longest day on Summer Solstice. Today the number of daylight hours equals the number of hours of darkness. But it is also the day when Life begins to emerge in all its glory. I’ve heard Spring Equinox referred to as “the birthday of the Earth” because the plants and animals that have been hiding and hibernating begin to come out and show themselves. New flowers, new leaves, eggs, baby animals all arrive now becuase there is light and heat, and food to support them.
Today is the first day of spring, according to the placement of the sun. I know our calendars say that March 21st is the first day of spring, but ancient calendars based on celestial events have a different pattern.
Instead of the winter and summer solstices and spring and fall equinoxes being the beginning of a season (as they are on our calendars), the solstices and equinoxes mark the mid-point of the season. In old language, summer solstice is midsummer and winter solstice is midwinter.
Debra and I have been housesitting up on the rugged Northern California coast since the beginning of last week. It is very remote with only a general store, so those who live there periodically have to drive over the mountain to Eureka for supplies.
Near Eureka is a small rural town called Ferndale, which has a well-preserved four-block Victorian downtown with shops and restaurants.
We decided to drive to Ferndale to get some hand-forged iron hardware for our tiny house and have lunch, then spend the afternoon exploring Eureka, and drive home before dark.
We went to Ferndale, driving our 2005 hybrid Prius over the famous Ferndale Bridge, through the farmlands and into town. We went to the blacksmith shop, bought some wall hooks, and stopped for lunch at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.
After an excellent meal, we went to the car to continue our drive to Eureka for some shopping for the week.
But the car wouldn’t start. This was odd because it had been running perfectly. In fact we had been commenting to each other on how well the car had been running.
A reader wrote to me asking for help making a decision as to whether or not to get the coronavirus vaccine.
So I thought I would share an edited version of my response to her here.
My personal position on this since the beginning has been to support my immune system and wear a mask, etc. Larry and I pretty much stay within a very small circle in our community and don’t go to gatherings with unknown people. Every day we go to a our small produce stand down the street, and I go to a chiropractor now and physical therapy. We occasionally go buy lumber or something as we build our tiny house, but that’s it. We have very little exposure to others. When we do have to be out and about, we wear our masks.
So far so good.
On Sunday morning I woke up and realized I didn’t need to know CLOCK time—I could observe the morning light to know that night was ending and morning was beginning.
But last Sunday morning civil manmade clock time had shifted so it was no longer aligned with natural time. I woke up to darkness at 6:30 Sunday morning where on Saturday there was approaching light of morning.
Daylight Saving Time interrupts the continuum.
The chart below clearly shows this (thank you Disney). Note from March through November the line block of daylight hours makes a big leap in the sunrise and sunset time. The block shows the actual daylight plotted against the manmade time. Our human lives run on the natural time, but we are forced into government imposed manmade time.
Our human bodies are aligned to natural time. So too should be our activities.
Tonight is the night when we all need to reset our clocks to “spring forward” one hour for Daylight Saving Time.
But I don’t think this is a good idea.
What I don’t like about it is that it takes us off the natural order of time. It’s a man-made convention.
To make matters worse, this past week a group of bipartisan senators reintroduced a the Sunshine Protection Act that would make “enjoying Daylight Savings Time” a year-round occurrence. The bill has already passed on the state level in Florida (2018) California (2018) and Washington (2019) but requires change at the federal level to go into effect.
It may seem like we are individual bodies wandering randomly through our earthly environment, but in fact, our bodies are closely regulated by an inner clock taking cues from the cosmos.
The results of this cosmic connection are “circadian rhythms,” the 24-hour cycle of biological processes that have been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi, and even cyanobacteria.
This natural, internal process regulates the sleep–wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours. It synchronizes the body of the organism with the daily cycle of the sun and can refer to any of the 24-hour rhythms that are driven by the circadian clock.
We’re so excited to announce that we’ve moved into our new home!
Well, “moved in” is a relative term. We’ve moved out of our bedroom in Larry’s mom’s house and have moved our things into the new space on her property, but it all still needs to be organized.
And “home” is also a relative term. It’s a home in that where we are living now is our home where we have control over everything that happens there instead of living in someone else’s home. and part of it we actually own.
We are now in a new phase of our transition from living in a regular house to living in a tiny house. Three years ago we intended to come here to minimize Larry’s belongings and then decide where we wanted to live. But when we arrived, it was clear we needed to stay and now it’s been three years instead of three months.
Now we have purchased a motorhome to convert into a tiny house we have done the demolition of most of the interior, and, as of last Saturday (full moon) we have been sleeping in our tiny house! read more about our tiny house adventure at Tiny House Toxic Free.
On Thursday evening at twilight I was sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of the house where Larry and I have been living for the past three years. I was sitting there because I was waiting and watching while the technicians were transferring my computer-phone-television service from the main house to my office in another building Across the courtyard.
I was just peacefully sitting there as the day was ending and all my communication tools were leaving one place and being installed in another, and what came to mind was a poem by Robert Frost called Choose Something Like a Star.
I had my cell phone in my hand and I looked it up. I once knew this poem by heart because I sang this poem set to music when I was in a choir, but that was many years ago.
But then I was interrupted. When I finally read the poem later that evening, I was astonished at how relevant this poem is for today and decided to write a post about it.
When I awoke the next morning it, it was clear I needed to post not one, but three poems by Robert Frost. So here they are.
I have been having this idea come up over and over and yesterday it came up three times in different ways, so I thought I had better write about it.
The first time this came up recently was a couple of months ago.
Larry and I were standing in a parking lot that had a range of hills on one side and a lot of sky above. He had his back to the hills and I was facing the hills talking with him. And then I looked up and suddenly I was no longer aware of the parking lot, I was aware of being in Nature. And I began to see the sky and the birds and the trees and feel the warmth of the sun on my body and the gentle breeze. One minute I was standing in an industrial parking lot and the next I was standing in Nature.
It was just a shift of awareness, but that shift gave me a whole different viewpoint. I could see the backdrop of Nature that is there all the time, but we often aren’t aware even exists.
Last night it was very windy here. Larry and I were lying in bed commenting on how windy it was. We checked a local news show to get the weather report, but they really didn’t give any information about our particular place.
So we turned to the Beauford Wind Scale, which allows you to estimate wind speed by observing the effects of the wind on trees.
There is a magazine called Yes! that has been around for many years. It began in 1996, exploring positive things we can do in our daily lives that help social and environmental issues. They have articles by many writers with various viewpoints. I don’t always agree with everyone about the solutions, but I keep an eye on them as part of keeping informed about what is going on in the world related to what we do.
The Spring 2021 issue is What an Ecological Civilization Looks Like.
They say, “The path toward an ecological civilization moves us from an uncivilized society based on selfish wealth accumulation to one that is community-oriented and life-affirming.”
Hmmm. That sound like just what we are doing with Lifely.
From time to time I take a break from my regularly scheduled programming to write a post about a shift that has occurred in my own personal life, as a result of my journey from industrialization to nature. Read about other shifts that have occurred since I started the Lifely blog in Jun 2019 here.
This past week there have been some big changes in my life, since completing the metamorphosis of my website into a new design.
This past week there have been some big changes in my life, since completing the metamorphosis of my website into a new design.
I want to tell you about the changes because this Lifely blog is, for me, as much about sharing with you a process of change from industrialization to nature as it is to orient you to Life itself.
But before I tell you what happened this week, I need to tell you what has come before.
* * *
Larry and I have been together for thirty-three years.
We have had our ups and downs as all couples do. What is perhaps different about us is that we have been married twice and divorced twice to each other and are still together, making our way through life.
In 2013 we were living in Florida. We had divorced for the second time, and were living apart. Then Larry fell out of a tree while doing some tree work. He fell some twenty feet and broke his back and right leg. After several surgeries and months in the hospital it was time for him to go “home,” but my home was no longer his. And I could not take care of him 24 hours a day and also work to earn income. So it was decided he would go live in California with his parents and two siblings, where there were plenty of people to take care of him while he recovered. His last words to me as he was wheeled out the door were, “When I can walk, i’ll be back.”
It’s coming up on Valentine’s Day this Sunday so we wanted to write about love.
First, though, we want to say that we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in the usual industrial way. Roses from the industrial floral industry and industrial chocolates are not important. For more than thirty years we have celebrated Valentine’s Day by spending the day together celebrating our love. The most important thing to us is to give each other time and attention doing a shared activity we both enjoy.
For us, love goes beyond physical attraction or intellectual agreement. It is a spiritual connection that truly is infinite and eternal. We really do live in love from day to day. We have loved each other for thirty-three years and expect to love each other for the rest of our existence. We just go through daily life in the context of the love we share.
Over the last several years, and particularly recently, there seems to be an escalation of hate going on in America, and indeed, in the world. So we want to say a few words about hate and many more words about love.
The dictionary definition of hate is
intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.
Certainly, the actions of some people recently have come from fear, anger, or sense of injury.
Our definition of hate is
intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from the absence of love.
There is no hate in Nature.
Love is our natural state as human beings, in fact, the very essence of humanity is love.
Last week the New York Times reported that, collectively, the oil industry lost tens of billions of dollars in 2020 due to…covid-19. A virus has brought the most powerful and most polluting industry to its knees.
“The pandemic was largely to blame,” said the article. “It sapped demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as countries and states locked down and people stayed home. But such painful years could become more commonplace as growing concerns about climate change, tighter regulations, and the rise of electric cars and trucks force a reckoning for an industry that has dominated the global economy over much of the last century.”
To make matter worse for the oil industry, General Motors also announced that they aim to do away with internal combustion engines altogether and sell only electric cars and trucks by 2035.
Larry and I have mixed feelings about Netflix. There are times when we can’t find anything of interest to watch and other times we find some of the best programs we’ve ever seen.
One of the best programs is a Netflix original documentary David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet in which the iconic broadcaster recounts the 93 years of his life as he watched the degradation of the planet over his lifetime. As always there are many clips of gorgeous footage of the natural world. But by the end of the documentary, Larry and I could see through our own eyes how rapidly the planet has been being destroy even in our own lifetimes of 65 years.
Attenborough established without question that the cause of this degradation is the industrial lifestyle and production methods of industrialization. He makes the case for Lifely very clearly.
In the circle of natural time, today is what is known as a “cross quarter day” in the Celtic tradition. Though each part of the world has it’s own traditions around natural time, being half English and Scot, I use the Celtic tradition as part of my heritage.
So today is the halfway point between Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and Spring Equinox, the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice, when the day and night are equal in length.
Though our industrial civil calendar won’t say “First Day of Spring” until 21 March, today marks the point where Life is beginning to come out from underground, with a seedling or two, or with a groundhog coming up to check the conditions.
A couple of weeks ago Larry found a film on amazon prime called Intelligent Trees. [This link goes to amazon prime, but I see it is also available elsewhere].
It contains the findings of German forester Peter Wohlleben and Canadian scientist Suzanne Simard , who have been observing and investigating communication between trees for decades. Yes, communication between trees.
They have scientifically observed that trees do not stand alone, but have “friendships” and form “families” in their natural forest habitat. “Mother” trees help “child” trees grow.
And trees of different species help each other as well.
Wow Wow Wow Wow Wow
What I am about to tell you is so amazingly lifely that I don’t even know where to begin.
This may be the most important post I ever write because it addresses the biggest threat to life on Earth and the solution requires a leap out of industrialization and into nature…the very point of our work. Once again a huge confirmation that we are moving in the right direction.
Nature herself has the solution to global warming. But of course she would.
A couple of nights ago Larry and I were just clicking around Netflix and found Kiss the Ground, a so above-and-beyond documentary that shows how Nature has the power to reverse global warming. All we need to do is learn about the process and cooperate with it.
What I have seen confirms me in the belief I have had for a long time:
that we are going to win on this problem.
It relates to working out a plan of co-operation with nature
instead of going along with what we’ve been in the past trying to buck nature.
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt
When Franklin Roosevelt took office as President in 1933, he faced many of the same challenges we are facing today. His response showed that we could come back from a disaster as drastic as the Dust Bowl by combining scientific research, community engagement, business incentives, and proven environmental policies including soil and water conservation programs.
A new dawn looms as we free it,
For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it,
If only we are brave enough to be it.
— Amanda Gorman
At the Inauguration of President Biden today, inaugural poet Amanda Gorman read her stunning poem “The Hill We Climb.”
I am not describing her age here nor the color of her skin because they are irrelevant to the genius of her words.
It is a Law of Nature that the leader of any endeavor sets the intention for that endeavor, whether it is a country, a family, a business, and organization, the Earth, the universe, or an individual human life.
Today President Biden gave us his intention for the United States of America.
Democracy has been challenged, but it rises again as our natural state of governance.
Read and watch President Biden’s Inaugural address here…
When I began to work on the new design for my websites, my professional graphic designer asked me about my “design style.” Having never worked with a professional graphic designer before on a project from beginning to end, I didn’t know what to say. I have preferences, but I had never thought of it as a foundation to work with, from which a design emerged.
After drawing a blank, the next day I did start thinking of things, like the design of my home, the clothing I choose and the basic guidelines I have chosen for my life.
And I started scribbling…
When I first became interested in orienting my life to Nature back in 1987, the first thing I started learning about was natural time.
In our industrial consumer material world we are oriented to clocks and calendars that are part of the industrial system. In the material world time is divided into standardized lengths—each minute has 60 second, each hour has 60 minutes, each day has 24 hours, each week has 7 days…
But in Nature, time is determined by the movement of the sun, the moon, and the stars, which are not so standard, but are actually what is occurring in life.
When Larry and I decided to upgrade The Lifely Group websites, one of the first things on the list was to have professional photographs taken. For the most part we were using miscellaneous photographs that were taken with cell phone cameras in different times and places. It was all we had at the time.
But then with covid shutdowns I thought I would not be able to hire a photographer.
I was trying to figure out what to do when I received an email from Groupon, offering photographic services. The services being offered were in Florida, where I used to live, but it gave me the idea that perhaps photographers were available and I could get the photographs I wanted.
So I went online and searched for local photographers and a site came up.
The first listing was for Natural Portraits and Events. After describing what they do there was a little graphic that said
The past six weeks has been such a metamorphosis, I want to tell you what happened. I truly feel like I have gone from being a caterpillar to a butterfly.
After working on this website for almost a year and a half, I got to a point where I started to feel ready to put my ideas out in the world. But I wasn’t happy with the way the websites looked. I wanted to make a better first impression. So I just started considering this and what I needed and wanted.
Then all of a sudden someone contacted me to record a podcast that would air in February. This really made me want to upgrade the site.
And then one of my readers wanted to give me a donation. So suddenly I had enough money to hire the professional graphic designer and photographer that I needed. I knew who I wanted for the graphic design and easily found the perfect photographer.
Over the holiday, Larry and I have been working diligently on website upgrades and “background” content that explains some of the fundamentals on which our Lifely work is based.
We’re still in the process of doing that work and still need a couple more weeks. It’s an appropriate activity for winter, while all life is underground, doing the predatory work for bursting into view as spring begins to emerge at the beginning of February.
We can tell we are past the Winter Solstice now because on Saturday we saw so many geese we realized they are migrating north, back to their homes.
We expect to resume regular posting on this blog after the Inauguration, as our country begins a whole new cycle with a new President. We have an opportunity in this coming year to build our country anew on good foundations. We are happy to be ready to contribute to rebuilding efforts offering our ideas about living based in Life.
THere’s much much more to come this year.
See you soon!
The first year I celebrated Winter Solstice was 1987. I had experienced a huge awakening to Nature in July of that year and by Winter Solstice I had already begun to learn about aligning with Nature by celebrating the seasons.
I knew I wanted to celebrate Winter Solstice but I didn’t know what to do. So I did nothing beyond deciding to acknowledge the day as the start of the new solar year that supports all life on Earth.
The next year as December came around, I realized that I no longer wanted to sing Christmas carols. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to sing, it was that I wanted to sing something appropriate to Winter Solstice.
So I began to research the history of carols and found to my surprise that some of our most popular “Christmas” carols existed originally as Winter Solstice carols.
Today is Winter Solstice, which makes tonight the longest night of the year.
This year the Winter Solstice is especially special because on this very day there is a “great conjunction” of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the sky. Tthe two planets will almost touch in the sky. Both planets will be at 0 degrees Aquarius from 20 through 24 December. Larry and I plan to go out tonight to see this.
On Saturday night I watched a new holiday movie on the Hallmark Channel.
Larry and I have watched a lot of Hallmark holiday movies over the years, but this one was different in a way that really related to what we are doing here with Lifely.
Love, Lights, Hanukkah is the story of an adopted Christian woman whose loses her adoptive mother and then meets her birth mother, who is Jewish. The theme of the movie is about the problems and rewards of this woman integrating into her new family, who has a completely different culture.
Many holidays are celebrated at this time of year—each culture, it seems has it’s own traditional celebrations.
But there is one day that I believe can be celebrated by everyone, regardless of religion, race, creed, ancestry, sexual preference, or any other difference we may have.
And that is Winter Solstice.
This post is about a Christmas more than ten years ago, when Larry and I were living in Florida and had decided to opt-out of the industrial consumer Christmas. It’s from an earlier blog I had about Nature.
I realize that what I am about to describe here may seem sparse to some of you, however, keep in mind that where I am today is the result of about twenty-five years of inching away from commercial Christmas and moving closer to Nature. The original title was “Chrismas Debriefing” because I wrote it after Christmas.
I didn’t buy a Christmas tree this year, but one appeared on Christmas Eve. Larry went down to Home Depot to buy some hardware parts and came back with a Christmas tree! “They were just giving them away for free,” he said. He set it up and we put little white lights on it and the gold star on the top and it was perfect.
While Larry and I practice our lifely principles every day in every way we can think of and actually do, for us this extends to gift-giving too.
And while we no longer participate in “obligatory” gifts, we do give meaningful gifts to a small group of people close to us, and when we do give gifts we take the opportunity to give gifts that are “life-giving.”
A life-giving gift is one that contributes positively to the life of the recipient and also to all Life.
One year, long ago, for example, I gave everyone a bag of organically-grown oranges. They were new at the time and I had just had a life-changing experience of actually tasting an orange for the first time that didn’t have chemicals sprayed on the skin to retard mildew. It was actually one of the contributing factors for me in my switch to organic food and I wanted everyone I knew to taste the difference. I attached a little note making it clear these were organic oranges and explained why they were special. Everyone loved them. It provided a pleasure for the recipients and supported the life of the Earth. I still like to give food as gifts, particularly foods I’ve handmade myself from organic ingredients. It just encourages recipients to eat in a more life-giving way.
It’s now less than two weeks before Christmas and the other day I asked Larry’s Mom if she wanted a Christmas tree. She said yes.
I thought Larry and I would need to go buy a Christmas tree. But then this morning when I woke up I went outside and there was a potted Christmas tree just sitting there on the front porch.
I told Larry it was there and he said, “It’s our Christmas tree from last year.” I had completely forgotten our whole adventure about this tree!
Here’s what happened…
After our dramatic transformation as a result of spending two whole weeks living in an intact ecosystem near the Pacific Ocean, Larry and I made a decision to spend every Friday at a local beach we like. We’ve been going there off and on over the past few months to be in a different environment and breathe the clean oxygenated air while we work on a book project we’re in the middle of, so it just felt right to schedule every Friday at the beach.
This beach is very different from the one we had been spending time at during those two weeks away. There, the beach was very rugged with crashing waves. Though it is right near the mighty Pacific Ocean, it is in a little bay, protected from the pounding surf to the west by a wall of hills. So we get the very clean air, but quiet water. There’s aa sandy beach with waves lapping at our toes. People bring their boats and kayaks out to fish. Right now it’s crab season, so we see crab cages hoping to catch the prized Dungeness crabs.
Yesterday when I walked in the door at Carter & Co and saw the sprouting paperwhite bulbs pushing out to become flowers, I was reminded it is time to plant my paper white bulbs.
This is something I have been doing for so many years, I’ve forgotten when I started or why.
But I just love watching the paperwhite bulbs grow and present their flowers, even in the cold days of winter. It reminds me that no matter how cold and bare the world may seem at this moment, life is continuing on and new growth is on its way.
Yesterday Larry and I needed to go to the small town of St. Helena, California, to pick up my medical records from the hospital where I went to the emergency room after I fell and broke a kneecap last July.
It gave me an opportunity to visit, for the second time, a small shop called Carter & Co, which is on the main shopping street. I first found this shop last June, when we visited St. Helena to celebrate my birthday.
When I walked into the store yesterday, The first thing I saw was a table with a large—I think wood, I wasn’t paying attention to the details—flat bowl with an abundance of paperwhite narcissus bulbs, each one showing its aliveness by just spouting an inch or two. Next to them were several bulbs in containers that were already forced and showing their flowers, so you could see the end result of these sprouting bulbs. Without using any signage, you could see what you would get in the future if you purchased these bulbs and grew them yourself.
I have been writing a journal for…hmmm almost thirty-five years now. I started just before Larry and I met. I write it in almost every day.
I use a 8 1/2 x 11 spiral bound artists sketch book because I like the big blank pages, and it will hold a printed page or a cutout from a magazine or the internet. Now I’m drawing too, but for many years only words.
Every few months I need to buy a new journal and since I started using the spiral bound artists’ sketch book, I’ve also been buying a beautiful card to hide the logo on the front cover. And I always choose one that calls to me and reflects what is going on with me internally or in my life in some way.
For the past two weeks, Larry and I have been housesitting for our friend Joseph and taking care of his cat “Kitty” while he is away. This post is about the second week. Read about the first week at Re-creation on the Rugged California Coast – Part 1
Here’s more about what it’s like to live in this place out on the rugged edge of the California coast and also tell you some experiences we are having.
We are living amazingly close to a beach that is unlike any beach I have ever experienced.
This is not like “going to the beach” where you pack up your things and drive somewhere to a nice gentle beach where you can take off your shoes and have the waves kiss your toes. Or like the beach we used to go to in Florida where the waters of the Gulf of Mexico were so warm we could easily go play in the shallow water.
First, this beach is with me 24 hours a day…
Yesterday when I stepped on to the beach, I looked around and suddenly saw how the Earth was constantly being changed by the water and the wind.
And immediately I thought. “Oh, the land is being sculpted into an art form by the elements.”
Great geologic forces had pushed land to the surface through great earthquakes, but then the wind and the water comes along andsmooths and softens the edges, and sculpts the land into forms.
Just as a human sculptor fashions a lump of clay into a vase or a bowl with artistic beauty, so too is the Creator of Life sculpting the planet into forms of artistic beauty with wind and water.
On the day before Thanksgiving, Larry and I were walking along the beach down the hill from our house when we noticed a man and a woman building a tower of rocks and then taking photographs of it.
We walked over and applauded to acknowledge their work and they smiled and waved. They invited us to take photos too, if we wanted to.
Further down the beach we found another arrangement of rocks in front of a spectacular piece of driftwood…
This week Larry and I have been housesitting for our friend Joseph and taking care of his cat “Kitty” while he is away. I wrote about visiting Joseph a few months ago in [Seven Dramtic Validations of Our Lifely Viewpoint: Finding My Own Utopia}= [Utopia]=https://lifelyforlife.com/pause-seven-dramatic-validations-of-our-lifely-viewpoint/#finding and now we are back in this wonderful place.
I just wanted to give you some idea about what it’s like to live in this place out on the rugged edge of the California coast and also tell you some experiences we are having.
A thing to be simple need only to be true to itself in an organic sense.
— Frank Lloyd Wright
Much has been written about simplicity as a guiding concept for life. In our consumer world, which is focused on the material, much advice has been given on how we should and can make do with less, which makes the idea of simplicity sound like deprivation. But there is another way to look at it.
I am specifically posting this today, on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, when every retailer is enticing us to buy, buy, buy material goods.
1. To lose physical substance; become immaterial
2. To reduce the amount of material required for (a product or process)
3. To convert (records, for example) from paper to digital or electronic form
and, I would add, to change one’s viewpoint to value non-material existences—such as thoughts, feelings, ideas, creating, and the like—over material items.
While looking for something else, I found this piece that I wrote in 2002, but I think was never published. I want to give it to you now because one of the things I have on my list to write about is the the need to overcome the rampant materialism of our industrial culture. Here were my thoughts in 2002, which are still true today.
Yesterday while I was writing How I Got What I Needed This Morning By Using Cooperation I typed the word nobody.
I looked at it and suddenly realized that the word was “no body.”
I had an unexpected and difficult situation yesterday afternoon when I went to my community credit union to open an new business account.
I was told nobody was available. And the people that could help me with that were all booked for the day. And the first day someone would be available would be next Wednesday, 23 November.
I was surprised and confused and upset. In my entire 65 years of life I have never not been able to walk into a bank and open an account on the spot.
But these are different times.
Larry and I are taking off on Saturday to our [Utopia]= to housesit for almost three weeks.
I’ve been emailing back and forth this week about arrangements and things I might need to bring.
Yesterday I emailed that I wanted to set up my computer in the room with the wood stove and view of the forest. And I wanted to know if it was possible to get the internet connection in that room with my ethernet cable. If not, would there be wi-fi.
This morning I received the reply:
This week I had a deep realization about the true nature of satisfaction.
It occurred while I was testing a recipe for my Wholefood Cuisine blog so I wrote the story there, but I want to share it here with you because it applies to all areas of life.
Here’s what I learned.
There are two levels of satisfaction.
This past week has been extraordinary in terms of the number of kindnesses that have come my way. Not that people are not generally kind towards me, but there was just a general increase in the number of kindnesses inflowing to me…well, now that I am observing what happening, there was a general increase in the kindness naturally outflowing from me as well.
But it was more than just the number of kindnesses, it was also the magnitude of the kindnesses. Yesterday, for example, two people offered to send me money in advance of when I was expecting it from them, without my even asking.
When I awoke this morning, the first thing I thought was “actions speak louder than words.” It’s an old saying but it’s true. And my realization about this, this morning, was that actions are a form of communication, and I hadn’t been paying attention to it as a form of communication.
Here in Sonoma County, California, we have a lot of trees. We have natural forests and many trees that have been planted.
I live at the end of a lane where some trees are native and some have been planted, but regardless of their origins, during the autumn season I have noticed a parade of color through October and November as the leave come to the end of their cycle and begin to fall to the ground.
This morning the red trees began to show their color. As we were driving home from our morning errands, I was noticing the trees (how could I not—they were so doing their best to attract my attention!).
And suddenly I said to Larry, “What is the name of that tree?”
The Night a Tree Didn’t Fall on Us, the Day a Hurricane Didn’t Hit Our House, and Other Times We Were Safe When the World Around Us Was Not
I was prompted to write this by a conversation I had this morning, with a friend I have known for many years.
She remembered something I had written years ago when I was living in Florida, about redirecting hurricanes. Which Larry and I did. During one of the hurricanes we experienced while living there, a powerful hurricane was forecast to hit us directly. We were ordered to evacuate but decided the best place for us was right in our own home. Many other local residents evacuated to a county to the east. We sat and watched the hurricane approach on TV, and just at the last minute it veered east and hit all our neighbors who had evacuated.
She asked me about rerouting other natural disasters and specifically, could I reroute an earthquake, which was her greatest concern since she lives in San Francisco and a once-every-100-years magnitude earthquake was now 15 years overdue.
With the increase of covid cases and deaths, and a new President, there is an increase now in the recommendation to “wear a mask.” So I wanted to pass along a posts about masks that I received this past week.
With all the problems we have been having in our nation this past year, I have had a lot of attention on what “laws of Life” I can offer that would improve our social relations. I am working on this subject, and today I want to give you a first piece.
It has to do with dependence.
Dependence has to do with whether or not something is determined by itself or by another. There are actually three levels of dependence.
DEPENDENCE is about relying on another for support.
INDEPENDENCE is having your own ability to rely on oneself for support.
INTERDEPENDENCE is having your own ability to cooperate with others so everyone is supported.
As we progress through our lives, there is a natural evolution through these three levels…
To be, or not to be, that is the question…
When Prince Hamlet asked this question in the famous soliloquy, he was contemplating whether he should continue to live or take his own life.
That is NOT the subject of this post.
Here I am asking what it means to BE or not BE while we live our daily lives. This question came up for me while I was writing Thoughts on Being an American Citizen.
What does it mean to BE?
On Sunday night a week ago it was very windy in the middle of the night. Big changes often occur in my life when there is a lot of wind.
I woke up and was thinking about something I said in my post Voting for America. After voting intelligently and intentionally for the first time in my life, I wrote, “This feels so good to vote. I feel like a citizen now instead of just a resident. I hadn’t thought about writing those words, they just popped out.
And since, I’ve been wanting to know the difference between a resident and a citizen.
Then I happened to come across a passage in a book that said there was a difference between a member of a society that only paid their dues but didn’t participate and a member who paid their dues and studied the materials of the society and applied what they learned in their lives.
I came to a conclusion that a resident is simply someone who lives in America for some length of time and a citizen is someone who is native-born or naturalized, who owes allegiance to the government and participates in the activities of the nation, and therefore is entitled to benefits and protection from it. A citizen actually participates in the country and doesn’t just go along for the ride.
From this I realized that to be a citizen means some very specific things, and I had no idea what they were.
I mentioned this study a few days ago at the end of It’s Up to Us to Protect Ourselves From Covid and End the Pandemic
but then I saw the graph above and wanted to show it to you too. I had to click through several links to get this, so didn’t want to assume you found it.
It’s kind of hard to read this graph, but see there is a red line and a blue line. The red line goes up and up while at the same time, the blue line levels out over time.
White House Announces They are Focusing on Therapeutics and Vaccines so Americans Don’t Die From the Virus, Rather Than Taking Measures to Control It
Over the weekend, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on CNN, “We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas.” minute 1:54 on this video
This has given us a perfect opportunity to compare an industrial response to a situation with a lifely response.
In the process of writing the Lifely post E Pluribus Unum—Of Many One , I was led to an old book called De Officiis (Of Duties or On Obligations) which was written by Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero in the year 44 BC. It was Cicero’s gift to humanity, to define ideals of how men should behave in society in order to achieve lasting and happy relations.
I found a free copy online and started reading it.
It’s an amazing, amazing, amazing book that explains how humans can live together co-operatively and productively quite simply, within our lifely context, of course.
Some weeks ago I wrote a post about the phrase E Pluribus Unum but didn’t publish it. It just seemed like it wasn’t the whole story. I’m happy I waited because there was more to come.
Then a couple of weeks ago I was watching the national news and the head of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Michael Curry—who presided over the marriage of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry—was interviewed about his new book Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times [I haven’t read this book]. He is a descendant of enslaved people and the first Black man to lead his church.
A few weeks ago I made a purchase on Etsy. I just received it a few days ago and am so happy with it, I wanted to tell you about it.
I’ve been shopping more online lately because I just can’t find anything I want in stores. More often than not I come home frustrated and empty-handed, and then I order it online and it comes right to my PO Box. It didn’t used to be this way, but it’s the way it is now with the pandemic. I have to buy things sight-unseen and I have to wait, but I have been getting what I need and want…eventually.
I had been wanting a linen robe to wear around the house since I moved here three years ago. Just a simple kimono robe with a tie and patch pockets.
Since Joe Biden first announced his candidacy for president, he has been saying that he is fighting for “the soul of America.”
Even then I wanted to know what he meant by that, so I searched online to see how he defined “the soul of America.” I found nothing from him, but did find a best-selling book called The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels.
I read the entire book and have been wanting to write a post with my comments on the subject, but the time didn’t seem right.
And now, yesterday morning, when I saw the new Biden-Harris ad (above) I knew it was time.
Larry and I voted!
This is actually the first time that we have voted together, where we studied all the candidates and issues and then voted together exactly the same, so we contributed two votes in agreement instead of having disagreeing votes cancelling each other out.
We’re hitting the PAUSE button on our Lifely blog this week to bring you a post that is out of the ordinary.
Much has happened over the past few months and it all came together this past week. Six experiences led me to see in a new way how what we are doing really fits into a bigger picture.
Seeing those pieces and writing them out really validated for me the rightness of what we are doing and showed me that we are not alone.
This is a long post, but it is divided into six stories and then there is a conclusion.
* Validation #1: Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalists
* Validation #2: Utopia
* Validation #3: Freemasonry and The Founding of the USA
* Validation #4: Finding My Own Utopia
* Validation #5: Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society
* Validation #6: The Anthropocene Epoch
* Validation #7: Religions Worldwide Advocate Responsibility for the Earth
* Where We Are Going Now With Lifely
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg left her body over the weekend after a life well lived.
She made an immense contribution to our society by standing up for citizens of all genders to have equal rights under the law.
After experiencing discrimination as a Jew and a woman early in her life, she used her skills as a lawyer reforming the laws of the USA to be gender-equal.
I have to admit that for most of my life I haven’t voted because I felt like my one vote wouldn’t make a difference. And the result is now a mess.
So this year I have finally joined “we the people” who vote and by voting create our country.
Larry and I spent most of the day yesterday reading our voter handbook and discussing our state propositions.
Now we need to study the candidates.
I wanted to give you a great resource we found online…
Today is the Autumn Equinox, which means we are exactly half way between the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice.
I’ve never experienced a summer like this, and I have lived in California for 65 years (except for 15 years when I lived in Florida).
There have been so many natural disasters—and so many have been unusual or extreme—that I want to say a few words.
I had to write this today after waking up this morning with an orange sun against an orange sky.
Before I go any further, I want to give you the definition of disaster…
One day last week Larry and I were in a big box store. We had purchased a few small items we needed and had just put them on the conveyer belt at the cashier. I was in my wheelchair because of my broken kneecap.
While my items were moving down the belt, suddenly a woman stepped in front of me and placed her items on the belt between me and my items.
“Excuse me,” I said, “Those are my items the cashier is about to ring up. Could you move so I can pay for them?
“No,” she said, with a big smile, I am going to pay for them for you!”
This totally surprised me!
After almost two months of lying in bed doing very little other than keeping my broken knee from bending, reading, and thinking, today I am noticing feeling alive again.
What that means for me is wanting to actually DO things again. I am wanting to create and communicate with the world, rather than be in my own inner world of focusing on body repair.
I’m mentioning this because there is a definable state of aliveness.
It started on on 19 July 2020, when my body tripped and fell and my left kneecap broke. I had never broken a bone in my body before.
It tales eight weeks for a bone to heal. So I’ve basically been lying in bed for the past eight weeks. Tomorrow I’m starting four weeks of physically therapy, and then I should be able to walk again—at least around the house. I won’t be climbing Mt Everest any time soon, but I should be able to walk around the farmer’s market instead of having Larry push me in the wheelchair.
The first week was just about dealing with the pain…
Today is marks thirty-three years of being a couple. We’ve been through a lot together and have had our ups and downs, but today we are happier than ever and our relationship keeps getting better and better.
In this post, we are sharing what we’ve learned about being a team. We’ve each written a part and together they convey the whole concept.
This post is about how sharing a household as a couple contributes to sustaining life in a way that cannot be done by a person living alone.
About ten years ago I saved this clip. I don’t remember where it’s from.
The fastest growing type of household in Canada is the single person. The new solo-living cohort are young (25 to 44), far more flush than the thrifty jar-reusing widows that once ruled the one-person roost and, the biggest consumers of energy, land and household goods. Now that their numbers are shooting up, people who live alone represent, what a sustainable development professor at University College, London, calls ‘an environmental time bomb.’ From washers to toasters, singletons burn through just over twice as much energy per capita as those who live in a four-person household. A provocative thought.
But this week, when I searched on “sustainable marriage” I could find nothing. Oh, there were articles with the title “Sustainable Marriage” but they were all about sustaining the marriage itself, not about how marriage sustains life.
Even though I was born in 1955, I was not raised to be a homemaker.
Like many other women of my generation, the women’s movement came along and convinced me that there were more important things to do than make a home for myself, a husband, and a family. In addition, my mother was a piano teacher and our house her studio. Her self-employment gave our family economic benefits, but she didn’t make for us a home.
My early years, however, were not completely without role models. I had two grandmothers who were wonderful homemakers.
Interviews with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and other tech elites consistently reveal that Silicon Valley parents are strict about technology use.
I think it’s important in today’s world for kids to become familiar with technology and know how to use it, but not have their entire world be on-screen.
As the covid-19 pandemic continues to push unemployed workers to apply for benefits at the rate of 1 million applications per week, as a nation we need some different options.
The most obvious solution to unemployment is self-employment.
Larry and I have both been self-employed most of our working lives, so we know a thing or two about self-employment.
Larry and I both went to public school. We have no children, so school is not an issue for us personally, but with the question of the safety of returning students to schools—public or private—in the time of covid-19, homeschooling leaped into my mind as a solution.
I’m not talking about parents providing the public school curriculum online. I’m talking about homeschooling, which is something else altogether.
Since posting Securing Our Health as The Covid-19 Crisis Continues, I’ve been receiving some questions and comments about face masks. So I just want to clarify a few points about the wearing of face masks and give you some new information I just received.
At the beginning of this year, Larry said, “Oh, it’s 2020—it must be the year of seeing clearly with 20/20 vision.”
I think he was exactly right. Though this year has been one crisis after another, each crisis is bringing to view something we need to learn on the level of how we live together as a society, and what we need to do to sustain our individual lives within the context of our communities, our government, and our ecosystems.
The past couple of weeks has been even more intense than the past few months. Covid-19 pandemic numbers are exploding all over the USA while at the same time we are finding out more about corruption in our government and wondering how we are going to open our economy and allow our children to go back to school.
Where do we start?
Of all the problems that need addressing, it is clear to us that health is #1. So that is what we are going to address today.
It seems like every year at this time I want to write about independence from one thing or another, and this year is no different.
But each year I seem to have some new awareness of a different aspect.
This year I chose an image of the actual signing of the Declaration of Independence because it is the moment that the declaration of independence from the King of England was made, and the colonists of American declared themselves to be free.
In the same way, Larry and I are declaring ourselves free from the tyrannies of industrialization every time we write a post for this blog. Day by day, step by step, we become more independent of industrialization.
This week I went through a big transition about money and the economy.
I have know intellectually for a long time that our industrial system is man-made and exists within the larger ecosystem of the Earth.
But until this week I hadn’t thought of our industrial economic system as existing within a larger economic system of the Earth.
And this happened because I drew a picture.
My personal orientation for many years (since 1987) has been to move away from industrialism and toward nature. Part of why Larry and I are together and have such a close bond is we both have an interest in this, and we can do it together. Last year at this time we started this Lifely blog to focus on this transition in particular, in our own lives and with others.
Industrialism and nature operate on two wildly different assumptions. I’m not against industry, it’s that the assumptions that underlie it are polar opposite to life. That said, there is a wonderful book called Cradle-to-Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough that shows how life principles can be applied to industry. He could envision an industrial factory as a living system. This book was a great inspiration to me and I think everyone should read it.
About 10 days ago Larry and I went and got the covid-19 test.
We weren’t having symptoms, but we live with Larry’s Mom, who is 88 years old, and we just wanted to make sure we weren’t giving an exposure to her.
We both tested negative.
Last Thursday, June 18, was my birthday.
My 65th birthday.
I’ve had birthdays before. Usually they come and go. Larry and I usually take the day off on our birthdays and do something special. We go out to eat. We have cake.
On my 16th birthday I got my driver’s license. But usually birthday’s just pass by.
So I wasn’t expecting what happened on my 65th birthday.
So many things shifted, it has taken almost a week for me to be able to even write them down.
I’m going through an interesting shift right now that I want to share with you because I am coming out of an industrial orientation with this subject and into lifeliness.
I have had a lifelong struggle with overweight with this body…
This alternated with trying various weight loss diets of all sorts, which resulted in losing some weight but did nothing to re-orient me to a different way of eating or a new understanding about food, so I would just go back to eating whatever I wanted to eat and gain the weight back, plus more. This is the cycle for millions of people in the world today, particularly women.
It seems that in our modern industrial culture, food is considered something to be enjoyed rather than something that nourishes our body.
To Everything There is a Season (Turn, Turn, Turn) by The Byrds. Hit song in 1965.
With all the change going on in my life and in the world right now, this passage came to mind this week:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
In our industrial world, time goes by as if each moment is considered to be the same, but in life each moment is different as time goes through cycles of activity in Life.
Summer Solstice is the day the sun reaches the highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight. It is also the high point of development of Life for the year. After the Summer Solstice the days become shorter and shorter, temperatures begin to cool, and all life forms begin to slow down and prepare for the coming winter.
Over the weekend I registered to vote.
I have to admit that I haven’t voted for most of my life. I felt like there was no point. I didn’t feel strongly one way or another about the candidates or the issues.
But something changed for me this year. It was both an internal change of feeling more like a citizen and also feeling like there are things going on in the world now that I want to change.
For the past month or so I have been on a mission to write a book…
I didn’t think it would take long but as I began to write, I had more and more insights about what I wanted to say, until it eventually became a 75-page ebook, which is about 150 pages if it were a 6×9 print book.
Of course, days and weeks are going by …
What I learned from this was that creative work takes its own time…
I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.
As children, all of us who were born and raised in the USA got every Monday-Friday, went to school, put our right hands over our hearts, and pledged allegiance to the flag. I’m sure I didn’t understand what I was saying or doing when I first memorized the pledge at age six, but now, as I approach age 65 (in 4 more days) and after experiencing the current events of the past few weeks, this childhood pledge came up in my memory.
A few days ago I happened to have a conversation with a friend of mine about printing out a pdf.
She was commenting about the use of graphic images and how she wished people who made ebooks would use fewer graphic images so it wouldn’t take so many pieces of paper to print them. I actually agree with that because some ebooks have so much much graphic design that is not relevant to the message that it does take more paper and ink to read the message.
She said that she didn’t want to be using more trees for these unnecessary displays of graphics.
About an hour later—while I was standing in my garden—I suddenly realized that the environmental movement has done a great deal of education about how we humans are depleting resources, so much so that we have the idea that resource on this planet are finite and we should be conserving them at every turn.
Hmmm. That’s not quite right.
I would say that I have more awareness of nature than the average person.
Over the weekend I had three experiences that surprised and delighted me as I began to be even more aware of nature in new ways.
It started on Friday evening. Larry and I had been watching national news on TV and I just didn’t want to watch it anymore.
I went outside and walked to the end of the lane.
Perhaps not coincidentally to current events, a couple of weeks ago I suddenly had the idea that I wanted to read the small book “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine.
Published on 9 January 1776, this pamphlet set forth his persuasive arguments in favor of independence for the American colonies from Great Britain.
It is considered one of the most influential pamphlets in American history and is credited with uniting average citizens and political leaders behind the idea of creating a union of the thirteen colonies in to a single united government. As of 2006, it remains the all-time best-selling American title and is still in print today.
On 29 May I was watching our governor, Gavin Newsom, on television. Suddenly he departed from his prepared script and made these comments.
Yes, yes, yes! We are all for caring, collaboration, and empathy in government. We’ll be watching to see how he does this.
Over the years, in my own life, I have learned there are many words that I think I understand, but really don’t. And some words have a lot of emotional energy attached to them, which affects what I think the meaning is, when it really is quite something else. “Acceptance” is one of those words.
Really understanding the concept of acceptance and gaining the ability to use it in my life has made a significant difference.
To accept, by definition, is to agree to something and thereafter be bound to act in accordance with it.
A reader sent me a piece from The New York Times Magazine, published a few weeks ago, about analog clocks.
Right at the beginning, the writer said that her younger sister (by only ten years) did not know how to read an analog clock! “No doubt that skill is disappearing from the populace,” she said, “Along with an avalanche of others: driving a stick shift, writing by hand, navigating by memory, using stamps.”
And then the next paragraph was devoted entirely to instructions for reading an analog clock.
For some weeks now there have been various reports of how the widespread stay-at-home has been benefitting the environment.
This week two articles came to me on this subject that I want to share with you in particular.
These articles shows the importance of creating a lifely lifestyle.
The most basic thing to know about Life is that it has a basic intent to survive. In language related to humans we call it will to live—the drive for self-preservation along with expectations for future improvement in one’s state in life. But this basic intent to survive is inherent
in every species and even every cell in our bodies.
When I learned this many years ago, I decided if I am part and parcel of nature, then I have within me an inherent intent to survive too. Not just as myself, but to have all of Life that supports my existence survive at the same time.
Even though we have this drive to survive as part of our nature, industrial humans have been demonstrating a tendency to destroy life when we live an industrial consumer lifestyle. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There is more to survive that simply continuing to continue. There is a whole scale of surviving from barely to abundantly.
Here’s a scale of survival that Larry and I put together.
In our ongoing exploration of the industrial world and the world of Life, we find that there are certain themes that happen over and over again expressed in various forms.
Industrial medicine and industrial agriculture have in common the idea that things will attack the health of a body or a farm and the solution to keep the body or farm from being destroy is to kill that which is attacking. That is the purpose of pesticides and drugs that kill bacteria and viruses.
But there is another way. We know it well in organic farming and gardening. In the care of health it is known as terrain theory.
Last Saturday Larry and I spent the afternoon planting seedlings. Our garden this year is more that twice the size it was last year. The photo is only less than a quarter of the entire garden.
This activity was so emotionally uplifting for me, considering the state of the world today, I had to write a poem.
The week before last, I had a major personal shift. I struggled to write about it and thought I had a finished post, but it didn’t feel right. Now I see there was more to the story, so here it is now.
On 29 April, I had a stunning realization: the industrial news organizations were broadcasting death. Every day we were getting reports of ever-increasing numbers of cases and numbers of deaths. And we are told how horrible this is and it’s all very dramatically reported in the new media. But they didn’t ever tell us how many of those stricken with the virus had recovered. [In fact, most sources of covid-19 statics didn’t include the recovery statistics, though we did find one source in particular that did.]
The thing is, this constant barrage of bad news about the pandemic only reinforces it. Because what we put our attention on is what happens.
For the past week or so, something extraordinary has been happening. Well, extraordinary for me.
As someone who has had a lot of problems with sleep at different times throughout my life, I have suddenly been sleeping through the night, night after night. Quiet, peaceful sleep.
And not only that, I am waking up with the birds.
There is in certain men … a quality of resilience, a sturdy refusal to acknowledge defeat, which aids them as effectively in affairs of the heart as in encounters of a sterner and more practical kind.
— P. G. Wodehouse
Resilience is a word that comes up here, where I live, every year after fire season. I was actually born and raised in Northern California and have lived here all my life except for 15 years in Florida. I have never experienced fire season like we have now, until I returned here in 2017. And every year since we have had massive fires.
But after each fire, we all start cleaning up and rebuilding and putting our community life back together again.
The word that comes up when we do this is resilience.
Our newly-planted half-barrel edible garden. We still need to add handmade bamboo supports.
For the past couple of weekends, Larry and I have been occupied with setting up our organic garden for this summer.
Last year we saw at our a local organic nursery where they had planters sitting on old pallets, which gave them drainage and also elevated the planters to a higher level that is easier to reach than bending over all the way to the ground. Since Larry has an old back injury, we decided this would be a good way to set up our half-barrel planters.
We use planters instead of planting directly in the ground because there are gophers here, and using planters is just the easiest way to protect the plants.
So last weekend we went down and bought potting soil and manure in plastic bags.
And during the week we started buying vegetable seedlings.
This morning there was an interesting announcement about a po from the Sierra Club in my inbox about the comet Atlas.
At the end of February, just as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip Europe, a comet known as C/2019 Y4 blazed into view. The previously nondescript object, also known as Atlas, had been discovered two months earlier in a patch of sky near the Big Dipper. Now it was behaving strangely, increasing in brightness by roughly 4,000 times in a matter of days.
Hmmmm. Sounds strangely like what has been happening here on Earth with our coronavirus pandemic.
I often wake up at various times between midnight and 6am with thoughts I want to write down. For this reason I usually keep my journal and next to my bed, or as a backup a pad or two of paper in case I left my journal in my office.
Sometimes I am simply writing what happened the day before, in which case I date the page for the previous day and catch up on whatever happened and my comments during the darkness between the days.
But other times I want to write down something that has just occurred to me, and I’ve been confused as to whether the proper date is yesterday or tomorrow.
Now that the wearing of face masks in public places in mandatory by law, I decided it was time to get a face mask that was really workable for me instead of just tying a cotton bandana around my head.
And just in time, Naturepedic began making face masks out of organic cotton.
I received mine last week and love, love, love it.
It is quintessential Naturepedic—organic, well-designed, and comfortable.
Just found out the US Postal Service issued a stamp for Earth Day.
I love it!
No astronaut goes into space with his fingers crossed. That’s not how we deal with risk.
What I learned from twenty-one years as an astronaut is the more you know the less you fear.
Study every system on a space ship and then boil it down into what I call a 1-pager.
You’ve got to be able to solve your problems in one breath.
FMR. COLONEL & COMMANDER, NASA & CSA
When I first heard these words I thought, “Yes! This is how we should approach living on Earth.”
Back in March, I was invited to participate in the Healthy Home Summit. We loved this interview so much that we had it transcribed (see below). When you click on the video, if it asks you to subscribe, go ahead. You can always cancel if you want to after you watch it.
This video very much shows the transition from my former work as Debra Lynn Dadd to my new work as Debra Redalia. If you missed it during the summit, I would love for you to watch it now, and/or read the transcript (I’ve made the most important parts bold).
[click through to post to view video]
A few days ago, Queen Elizabeth gave a moving speech to the UK about getting through the covid-19 pandemic.
Though these are difficult times for us now, I thought of the Queen and many others who endured World War II. As we are sheltering-in-place and walking around with wearing masks, I remind myself it could be worse. At least we don’t have planes flying overhead dropping bombs and destroying our cities.
If anyone on the planet today knows, the Queen at age 93 has been through more than her share of world conflicts and has come through them. For me, she is a living example that difficulties do end and life goes on.
This morning I found a very helpful tool that I want to share with you.
It is provided by The New York Times. You need to create an account to access it, but it’s free and you don’t need to subscribe.
NEW YORK TIMES Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak
For every state in the USA, there is a page with a map and a case count. But further it gives cases and deaths by county both in actual numbers and per 100,000 people. Plus a bar graph updated daily that shows if cases are increasing or lessening.
Since learning from Dr. David Price that the most important factor for preventing transmission of covid-19 is to not get the virus on your hands, I’ve suddenly been a lot more aware of what I have been touching and wondering if the virus is on those surfaces.
It seems to me the most prudent thing would be to simply wear gloves all the time when I am out.
But a really don’t like those disposable plastic gloves.
Earlier this week I learned of recommendations made by Dr. David Price, a critical care pulmonologist caring for CoVID-19 patients all day in NYC at Weill Cornell Hospital. He says:
[This information is] incredibly empowering.
As I’ve been in the hospital over the last two days,
the thing that makes me smile is
I actually know now that I won’t get this disease.
Because I know how to protect myself.
Click on the video at the top of this post to watch the full 57-minute version.
When I watched this video a few nights ago, I decided to get up the following morning and type up a summary to make it easier to get this information out into the world. You can read my notes below, but please also watch the video if you have time.
This is the single most useful source of information on Covid-19 that I’ve seen. Dr Price is treating patients with CoVID-19 in the ICU every day and speaks from his firsthand experience.
This is the data everyone needs to know now, so please pass it on to others.
As of Thursday morning, officials said 1,941 people had died in the state of New York, with 83,712 positive CoVID-19 cases. More than half of those cases are in New York City. Now on Saturday afternoon, the numbers are 3,565 dead, with 630 dying in the past 24 hours.
Just a couple days ago I saw an example of a spring cleaning that really impressed me.
It was not on TV or on my computer or my phone.
It was in our yard under a beautiful pink flowering crabapple tree.
Under this beautiful tree we have a concrete birdbath set up on a pedestal. It has been raining off and on for several days, so the birdbath was full of fresh pure rainwater. The rains had also knocked down a great many gorgeous pink flower petals some of which were floating in the water of the birdbath.
On Sunday afternoon it just got to be too much for me to stay in the house most of the time, or even to stay on our property outdoors. We had just heard on the news that our shelter-in-place was being extended through the entire month of April, and that was a little too much for me.
So Larry and I figured out we could go for a drive and stay sheltered-in-car. We figured that as long as we staying in our car, we would be achieving the required social distance, so we got in our Prius and set out for a Sunday drive.
For the past two weeks we’ve been following the shelter-in-place order, so for this period of time we have basically been staying home. There’s actually nowhere to go because everything is closed except for grocery stores and pharmacies, and restaurants that are offering take-out.
We do go out to a grocery store almost every day. We only buy food for a day or two, so we can have an excuse to go to the grocery store the next day. We have a PO Box, so we have to go to the post office every few days as well, and we go to two different farmer’s markets on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but aside from that, we stay home…
But since we can’t go anywhere or do anything, I have a lot of time to do my creative work. I’ve had a big burst of creativity, like going on a retreat. I’m working intensively on our lifely websites, finishing incomplete formatting and content so I can get all the planned lifely websites operating and expanding…
Today is Spring Equinox, the halfway point between Summer Solstic and Winter Solstice.
This year the Spring Equinox falls on 19 March. This is earlier than it has been in more than 100 years. If you want to read more about this, see THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC: First Day of Spirng 2020.
The Spring Equinox is the time of year when winter is over but summer hasn’t started, so there is an element of balance between to opposites. For this reason, Larry and I once got married on a Spring Equinox because of this aspect of balance.
This year the Spring Equinox is strange.
Here in Sonoma County, California, it’s Day 2 of mandatory shelter-in-place, which means we are required to stay in our own homes except for “essential” trips out for groceries, pharmacy, banking, and other such things. I did go out yesterday to pick up my mail from my PO Box, buy some food, and go to the bank, but I had to have my doctor appointment over the phone because the medical clinic is closed. The order is through April 7, but could be extended as long as the government feels it is necessary.
At first this was surreal. Life as I knew it had stopped. Most stores are closed. I can’t go to a restaurant or a movie. A friend had to postpone his trip to the East Coast because his flight was canceled. I don’t have children, but if I did they would be home with me 24 hours a day. It was like everything outside of my own home and it’s inhabitants had just disappeared.
And I resisted having my freedom to move about in the world taken away by the government.
But once I got over the disorientation, I realized what an opportunity this is. Instead of gaining our bearings from the world at large, it’s an opportunity for each one of us to be self-determined and orient our lives to ourselves and our own values.
The mainstream media is giving us all kinds of ways to prevent exposure to the Covid-19 virus, but I havn’t seen any recommendations about how to support your immune system. So I’m going to give you some tips here on how to keep your immune system strong and functioning, to protect your body from Covid-19 and any other virtuses and bacteria that may come your way.
Your body is already equipped to protect you from viruses of all kinds, but your immune system needs to be in good working order.
Since the beginning of December, I have been dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
I haven’t written about it here because there were a lot of unknowns and I didn’t want to give you all the uncertainties about this or have you worry about me.
But now that it’s over, I want to tell you what happened.
I had some symptoms at the beginning of December that scared me enough to rush to the Emergency Room. They did some tests and told me to go see my doctor right away regarding a “possible malignancy.”
I could not believe this. Here I had been living so nontoxic for so long, how could I possibly have cancer? The symptoms subsided, but after all the tests were done, my body, indeed, did have cancer.
If you’ve been reading my work as Debra Lynn Dadd for any length of time, you know that I’ve been a big fan of Pure Body Liquid Zeolite for years. I’ve been recommending and taking it myself since it first became available. From my own experience and feedback from my readers, I can confidently say taking it daily is one of the fundamentals of health living in today’s world.
Zeolite, a natural mineral, is uniquely suited to remove toxic chemicals. Tiny bits of negatively-charged zeolite act like little magnets to attract positively-charged particles–which include 99.9% of heavy metals, radiation, and organic chemicals–so they can be removed from your body via your kidneys.
Last week Larry decided I should have a locking filing cabinet. I didn’t think I needed one, but he thought I did, so he started looking for a used one online. He found one, but I didn’t like it and didn’t want it. I just don’t like metal filing cabinets and never have. I go out of my way to store files in baskets, in racks on the wall, and other ways. I just don’t like metal filing cabinets. And I really don’t have room for one in my office.
It was Wednesday when I said no to the metal filing cabinet.
1. Forward or onward movement toward a destination
2. Development, advancement, or improvement toward a goal
For the past couple of weeks we have been experiencing a change of season, from winter to spring.
But it doesn’t happen abruptly. The temperature doesn’t shift all in one day.
Instead, we have what I call “intermittent weather” where one day it’s cold and the next day it’s warm and you never know when you wake up in the morning which one it’s going to be.
For about six months I’ve been on Marianne Williamson’s mailing list as she has been working to capture the Democratic party nomination for President. I haven’t written anything about this because it’s not my position to feature one candidate over another, but now that she is no longer in the race, I want to share with some of what she is saying.
I also want to say that I read one of her books many years ago. so I knew who she was. I just purchased her two books on politics—Healing the Soul of America and A Politics of Love—because she does bring a spiritual view to politics that is in alignment with our Lifely viewpoint, and I want to learn from her many years of experience on this subject. More will be coming on how politics can be lifely as we advance in this year of a Presidential election.
But I give you this introduction only because I want to speak to you on a subject prompted by an email from her, and that subject is collective love.
Last Saturday, after going to the farmer’s market, Larry and I were walking by Trader Joe’s and there was a big display of cut daffodil buds—the season’s first. Only $1.49 for 10 stems, with a nudge on the sign that said, “At this price, there’s no reason not to buy 3 bunches (or more)!
Now here in Northern California, sunny yellow daffodils are one of the first signs of spring. Since I’ve lived here all my life (except for 15 years in Florida), daffodils are deeply ingrained in me. Trader Joe’s knows daffodils are loved here, so when I see the daffodils at Trader Joe’s, they have to come home with me.
We followed the advice of the sign and bought three bunches so we could have a generous display and brought them home. But I was already starting to fade from an approaching intestinal flu that hit that night, so I went to bed.
The next day I suddenly remembered the daffodils. Larry by now was beside me in bed with the same flu. “Where are the daffodils?” I asked. “Did you put them in water?”
The last post I wrote for this blog was on 16 December 2019. And here it is 16 January 2020. Ha ha! I didn’t consciously know that when I sat down to write this. I had to look up the date of the last post.
I was planning to restart this blog with a new post on Monday, 6 January, but as I sat down to write my computer responded by having a panic attack. Really. A notification window came up with many lines of code that started with PANIC. So I called Tech Support and they told me to shut it down and take it to my nearest Apple Store right away. They even made an appointment for me. I had to leave my computer with them for three days. But when I got it back, they had completely wiped its hard disk clean and put in a new system. I had to spend a day uploading all my data and programs from my backup, but my computer is now like new. All the nagging problems are gone.
I learned a lesson from this experience.
Today is the first day of Winter Solstice.
I say “the first day” because Winter Solstice is the longest night and the shortest day of the year, and the length of day is within a minute from day to day for a period of days. So I celebrate Winter Solstice for ten days instead of one.
For some years now, I take those Winter Solstice days off from my work and enjoy the depths of winter.
For me, that means reveling in the dark and cold while at the same time carrying forward the light through the time of darkness, as has been the purpose of Winter Solstice for I don’t know how long. The famous Yule log originally was a log large enough to burn all through the longest night, to carry the light of the sun through to the new year.
Yesterday I woke up wondering if today was the first day of Winter Solstice. I felt like solstice had begun for me, but wasn’t completely certain about what was going on with the sun.
So I looked it up on Time & Date. They have a page called Sunrise, Sunset, and Daylength which shows the day length for any place in the world on any day.
As I said in Celebrating Winter Solstice, the length of day is within a minute from day to day for a period of days. So I celebrate Winter Solstice for ten days instead of one. But I was in a different location, so I didn’t know how that would affect my Winter Solstice calculation.
Today is Human Rights Day. It is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document proclaims the inalienable rights to which every human being is inherently entitled, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.
Today Larry and I were driving to an appointment and while we were driving, I was just looking around admiring Life as we were passing by. I’ve noticed that since I’ve been writing this blog, and especially since I went through my big shift I have been being more aware of life around me. Instead of having much of my attention on buildings and shops and cars as we drive down the street, I’m seeing trees and animals and clouds and other elements of life, both more life and more detail about the life-forms I am aware of.
And so, while we were driving around, I was noticing the vivid colors of the autumn leaves in contrast to the grey skies.
About ten years ago, I read a fascinating book that changed my ideas about sleep. Since we are approaching the Winter Solstice and many life-forms are below ground or hibernating, I thought I’d tell you about human sleep in pre-industrial times.
The book is At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past. It looks at night from every angle.
In our industrialized world, the idea is promoted that we should “sleep peacefully through the night” and if we don’t, there is something wrong and we need a sleep aid. Both drugs and natural remedies are sold to help us achieve this goal.
But, in fact, that we should sleep through the night is an industrial idea, maybe made up to sell more sleeping pills?
Lately I’ve been thinking it’s time to get a haircut. I actually haven’t had my hair cut in over a year. It’s been getting long again and I’ve been considering leaving it long.
It seems that all throughout history women wore long hair (and men did too). It seems that women didn’t begin to cut their hair short until the 1920s, less than 100 years ago. At the same time hair salons for women were established.
When I was a child, Christmas gifts were a big deal.
My mother put up a gorgeous Christmas tree every year—a copy of a tree she had seen in a fancy department store in New York City. And under the tree were gifts and gifts and gifts. My brother and I each had twenty or thirty gifts. And they would be opened one by one and each gift passed around for all to see. Yes, it took all morning, and no, I don’t come from a wealthy family. My mother just saved up any and everything we needed starting in September or so, so some of the boxes contained underwear or socks or crayons…whatever she would have given us in the course of daily life, she instead waited until Christmas and put it in a box. And she wrapped every single one with beautiful paper and ribbons.
We did our part to keep the industrial economy going every Christmas.
This week I’m working intensively on completing The Lifely Group website over the Thanksgiving holiday, so i can go live with it early next week.
Given this short deadline, I’m finding myself looking at what is most important to do this week, and what can be put off until later or eliminated entirely.
REI is a major retailer of clothing and equipment for outdoor enthusiasts. And as such they have a dilemma. They want to encourage getting outdoors—whether for a walk around a park or an extreme adventure—but having those outdoor experiences require clothing and gear in order to be safe and comfortable. And they have come up with some interesting solutions.
For several months I have been working intensively on The Lifely Group website, which will provide the background information on our lifely viewpoint. About a month ago I was closing in on being ready to go live with The Lifely Group website, but then just as I was about to work on it for a week and finish it up, there was the fire and evacuation and other obstacles came up.
Then on 6 November, I just felt like my life was stalled. It wasn’t that nothing was happening, it was that it seemed like everything I was doing had stopped. At sea, this is called the “doldrums”—areas of the ocean where the winds are calm and you just can’t get your boat moving. There is a path you are moving on to get from one place to another, but at the moment you are just sitting there wondering how to get things going.
So I decided that I was going to get all the doldrums moving. As I made a list and started working on them one by one, everything started moving. And then suddenly I had a big shift—no, a huge shift—that was entirely unexpected.
But before I tell you about the shift, I need to tell you what happened the day before the shift.
Since we’ve been talking about emergency preparedness after the fire evacuation, I wanted to wrap that up by getting our Tiny House Toxic Free blog live, Because having your own house on wheels that you can drive away at a moment’s notice is the ultimate in emergency preparedness, as well as being a resource-efficient way to live that is in alignment with lifely principles.
Larry and I are still sleeping under the stars. We just love it. Waking up outdoors reconnects us every morning to the natural world and every day we see something different.
One morning we saw a hot air balloon floating overhead, riding on the wind.
Yesterday a whole flock of birds flew overhead, When I became aware they were flying directly south, I realized that they were migrating south for the winter. Right over my house!
Even though the days are still warm, life is preparing for the winter to come.
On Tuesday morning Larry and I went out looking for breakfast.
Our friend recommended we walk up Judah Street to an all-organic place called Judahlicious which was organic and delicious. They specialize in serving uniquely crafted raw and vegan cuisine with fresh juices and smoothies made to order.
Judahlicious happens to be next door to Other Avenues, a worker-owned 100% organic food co-op that started way back before there were many natural food stores.
Because I was “forced” away from my desk by the fire evacuation last week, I had plenty of time to wander around San Francisco and explore anything I wanted to explore.
So one place I went to was my favorite art supply store, Flax. Now last time I went to Flax it was a huge store filled with all kinds of papers and leather binders and pens of all types—just an art supply wonderland. While in the past I wasn’t the type of artist who draws or paints, the materials themselves always inspired me, especially all the papers.
When we were evacuated from our home because of possible fire danger, we went to San Francisco because it was the closest place that had power and better air. And we could stay with a friend.
The first night we decided to all go out to dinner together. We agreed on a restaurant that our friend had been to before, but we hadn’t. We decided to take the streetcar because parking in that part of town would be impossible.
Many years ago I had an “a year and a day” appointment book, which had an explanation at the beginning about the meaning of “a year and a day”.
Now I’m telling you this from memory, so it may not be accurate, but if I remember correctly, at some early point in history when calendars were still being developed, the “year” was 364 days and “a day” was an day outside of the year. So the old year would end, “a day” would pass, and then the new year would begin. There was a day-long festival on “a day” and that was that.
When I was a child in school, I went through the entire Girl Scout program, starting with Brownies and all through high school. I was even a Girl Scout camp counselor. So I was am well familiar with the Girl Scout motto “Be Prepared.” For Girl Scouts this means being prepared at any moment to face difficulties and even dangers by knowing what to do and how to do it. This is an excellent motto for life and has served me well. Girl Scouts prepared me to know how to do many things, but at the time the organization did not prepare us for emergencies of the type we face today.
What I want to give you here are some things that I learned about how I wasn’t prepared for last week’s evacuation from my local wildfire. I didn’t realize until after I was driving away what I had left behind.
Since fire has made a big impact on the lives of everyone in our local communities last week, I just wanted to write a little something about the purpose of fire in nature—it’s characteristics, what it does, and how it contributes to Life. In ancient times fire was considered to be one of the four elements of life—earth, air, fire, water.
Today we consider fire to be destructive to our industrial lifestyle, but in times past, when we humans had more contact and experience with fire as part of life, fire was viewed in a very different way.
On Thursday, 23 October, a major wildfire broke out here in Sonoma County, California, caused by faulty equipment provided by our local power company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). Because the Kincaid fire started about 25 miles north of where we live, we thought we were out of the danger zone. I couldn’t imagine that a fire would travel 25 miles without being contained. So we did nothing to prepare for evacuation.
But we were evacuated, and quite unexpectedly.
Late Thursday afternoon Larry and I decided to drive up the Sonoma County coast from Bodega Bay to Timber Cove to have dinner.
As we drove we noticed something in the air over the ocean. Was it mist? Was it fog?
I started to have difficulty breathing and felt nauseous. Granted we were on a winding road, but I’ve been on this road my whole life and have never been carsick.
By the time we reached Timber Cove, it was almost sunset. They wouldn’t seat us outdoors “because of the fire.” Ah, yes. Now this all made sense.
I think Jack-o-lanterns are my favorite of all seasonal symbols. Today they are the quintessential Halloween icon, yet the first jack-o-lanterns weren’t carved in pumpkins at all–they were made from turnips.
Jack-o-lanterns originated many centuries ago in Europe. The Celtic people there had a seasonal celebration called Samhain. The celebration honored death because it was the season of death–all around them, leaves were falling, grasses were drying out, and animals that could not be overwintered because of lack of food and shelter were slaughtered to be eaten over the barren winter. As all the life energies of the earth go underground to prepare for new growth the next spring, it was natural to acknowledge the end of the cycle of life for the year, get ready for the long, cold, lifeless winter ahead.
Larry and I just had one of our best weekends ever! We spent two days exploring local organic farms and a street fair filled with local makers showing their wares.
Not only did we learn more about what is available from local producers, but I got more ideas about what characteristics could be included in the list of Lifely Product characteristics I am working on.
Last Wednesday, California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) intentionally cut power to 500,000 customers in parts of 22 counties in to prevent wildfires. This came after huge wildfires for the past two years, both started by sparks from equipment from PG&E.
We were warned of these power outages in June and given plenty of time to prepare. But still, it was difficult for many people.
Yesterday morning Larry and I were sitting in the waiting room of his dentist’s office and there was a television screen playing.
Usually, I don’t pay attention to televisions in doctor’s offices because they often are just advertising drugs, so I picked up a magazine instead.
But within a few minutes, Larry said, “Look at the TV.”
This morning when I got in the car Larry was eating an apple while waiting for me. The burst of fragrance from the apple reminded me of this experience I wrote about some years ago.
Last week, while on our trip to Cologne, Germany, my husband Larry and I stopped at a “bio” store (where they sell organic food and other natural products) to buy some bottles of water. [All the water, by the way, was natural spring water bottled in glass. There is no beverage, to me, that matches very cold spring water in a very cold glass bottle. Plastic bottles just don’t hold the chill in the same way.|
As we were looking for the bottled water, we happed to walk down a produce aisle and immediately smelled the sweet fragrance of äpfels (I am calling these apples by their German name because they were unlike any apples so-called in English that I have ever experienced).
For the past two years I have had a very small office space because I am living with Larry’ at his Mom’s house with two of his siblings and I am sharing my office room with Larry’s office space and a kitchenette, so it’s very small.
This is after coming from my 1600 square foot house where I had an entire room to myself for my office.
I have two large desks the size of library tables.
One I bought at a garage sale for $50. It is a desk that had been in an attorney’s office, made of mahogany wood with a leather top.
Wow. After posting last week in The Chaos of Change—The Joy of Creating about how the basic structure of my life had fallen apart, this week has been quite the opposite!
It’s like for the past few weeks a tidal wave has been sweeping through the physical aspect of my life to make room for something new. And it arrived this week.
One of my favorite people in history is Luther Burbank, a horticulturist who invented developed more than 800 popular varieties of fruit and nut trees, flowers, and vegetables, many of which are still used today around the world.
I serendipitously happen to live within walking distance of the location of his Experimental Farm (a small piece of which is still maintained today) and the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens are in nearby Santa Rosa, California.
I have for some time been wanting to write a post comparing the work Luther Burbank did to create these new varieties in a natural way versus the industrial gene splicing used today and I thought I should go to the gift shop at the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens because they might have just the information I was looking for.
Storing shoes may sound like a trivia thing but it’s something that I had to make a decision about this week so I wanted to tell you how I approached this in a Lifely way. These principles can be applied to anything you are doing. And this is also an example of how I solve problems.
The situation is that I have shoes and they need to be stored in a way that I can easily get to them when I need them. After having to move everything out of my bedroom I am now in the process of putting everything back, so I have a new opportunity to rethink what I am going to keep and how I am going to store it.
As you may know, I’ve been working on this website for about three months—since 18 June so that’s exactly three months! During that time I’ve been undergoing a personal transition of moving from 40 years of work helping consumers find products without toxic chemicals to starting an entirely new business based on a new idea that is not yet widely known in the world. So this has been a time of tremendous change for me as well as ripples throughout the world.
I’ve learned from repeated experience that when you make a decision to move on a path toward a goal, disruption of the old order begins to happen in ways one does not necessarily expect. It seems that an obstacle you have to achieve your goal will come up to be handled. Sometimes there is such a flood of barriers that just appear so suddenly that I just stand there and scream at the universe, “Oh come on! Give me a break!”
As I mentioned in Sleeping Under the Stars, Larry and I have not been sleeping in our bedroom for a couple of weeks, but instead have been sleeping outdoors on the deck, under the stars.
But on Sunday morning 80 percent chance of rain was forecast for that night, so we had to find somewhere else to stay. Our only choice was to get a hotel room.
So over the course of the day, I took breaks to hunt online for a hotel room, but all the places I wanted to stay were too expensive and all the places I could afford were too toxic and cookie-cutter. The thought of sleeping in any of those hotels just wasn’t making me feel alive.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
— Tao Te Ching
As I am working on writing the “big picture” Larry and I are addressing with Lifely, I am reminded of the quotation “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Indeed that is important to remember when we wish to make a change as huge as moving from an industrial society to one based in Life—it’s all about each of us making those “single steps” day-in-and day out, learning new information, making different decisions, and it all adds up to a big change in the world.
I experienced this concept in a different context a few days ago when I was listening to Yo Yo Ma play Bach’s Six Cellos Suites all in one sitting on YouTube. This is a magnificent feat of virtuosity to play even one, but he played all six back-to-back with only one short break mid-way.
On Tuesday Larry and I spent most of the day at the National Heirloom Food Exposition, one of our most favorite events. Fortunately, it is held right near us in Santa Rosa, California, but people come from all over the country, and indeed, all over the world, to learn about the purest food on Earth.
I wrote this in the summer of 2005, while living in Florida.
Great clouds of ocean
fall into my teacup
and run through my veins.
Rain cleanses my body
and flows back to the sea.
Remember to look up at the stars and now down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.
– Stephen Hawking
For reasons irrelevant to this story, two nights ago Larry and I could not sleep in our bedroom. So we spent the night sleeping under the stars, on the deck, just outside the sliding door.
The house we currently live in is built on hillside, so when you walk in the front door the house is level to the ground, but by the time you get to the far left side of the house where our bedroom is, the deck is just hanging on the side of the house with a lot of space under it. Standing on the deck, we look at out at the tops of trees, not the trunks.
Since the world is watching monster hurricane Dorian today, and waiting to see if it will make landfall on the east coast of the USA, I thought I would post a piece I wrote about hurricanes that I wrote some years ago when I was living in Florida and experiencing hurricanes for the first time.
Almost two years ago I followed Larry to Sebastopol, California to live with his mother after his father died. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Though I was willing to give up my comforts and preferences for him to help take care of Mom, it turned out to be the biggest blessing for ME because this is just the right town for me to be living in.
Popularity of Hallmark TV Movies are a Good Indicator that Viewers are Interested in Love and Nature
We love them so much because they created stories around messages that are important to us. Characters demonstrate caring relationships, family, community, creativity, thinking for oneself, being authentic, and occasionally even connection with Nature. All in the context of industrial consumer life of course, but occasionally a character will give up city life for love and move to the country.
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that
the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!
I’m working on a post about how Larry and I get things we need outside of the standard consumer outlets and industrial system. But two things happened in the last few days that were so extraordinary that I wanted to tell you about them.
I was reminded of something I read many years ago from Deepak Chopra. He said something like, “Here’s how it goes. I say I want a strawberry ice cream cone and very soon someone walks by with a strawberry ice cream cone and said ‘Deepak, do you want a strawberry ice cream cone?’” Just the way he said it made this really stay in my mind. Because that really is the way it happens, in my experience.
Larry and I live on the edge of a rural area, a kind of borderland between suburbia and rural Sonoma county where all the farms and open spaces are. And so even though it is built with houses and a little town, there is still some habitat with native plants and animals around.
At this time of year, the big harvest in the natural habitat is blackberries. There are many stands of well-established wild blackberries, some of which are so tall and dense that a human cannot reach many of the berries. They are just magnificent.
This morning I made a phone call on behalf of a client to find out what materials were used to make a set of kitchen cabinets that had been installed by a contractor.
When I called the dealer, I was told this brand of cabinet comes in three models.
Least expensive is an all particleboard cabinet with solid wood doors and drawer fronts.
I have had two problems that involve power.
One is that my office and kitchen are in a room in a building that was wired 25 years ago when all of today’s need for power was not foreseen. So I can run my computer and cook on an induction cooktop at the same time, but I can’t turn on my portable heater or the window air conditioner or my toaster oven at the same time. If I forget this while my attention is on working and turn on too many appliances, the power goes off immediately and I have to go in another room and turn the circuit back on and restart my computer. This has been driving me nuts for almost two years. I tried to not forget, I tried to rewire ($500+ for an additional new circuit), but I just couldn’t come up with a solution.
Last Sunday I went to my local Whole Foods store (now owned by Amazon) to pick up some little cotton drawstring “spice bags” to use as reusable tea bags. They had them in the bulk spice section, the label said “100% cotton” and the label was printed on brown speckled recycled paper, so they looked like they were what I wanted.
I bought them, and yesterday I opened the package to make tea.
Yesterday we went on our first tandem bike ride to an actual destination
After Larry had a heart attack last November, he was sent to rehab, which involved supervised exercise three times a week while being hooked up to machines that monitored his heart. Since he was going, I thought I would go too. I did the same aerobic exercise program—which included a standard exercise bike and a bike that also exercises arms at the same time—without the heart monitor.
I wrote the following so many years ago I don’t remember when or why.
I’m posting it here today because I had an experience of seeing nature in a new way on Sunday as Larry and I were driving along the Sonoma County coast here in California. I’ve added my new experience at the end.
A bird…sings because it has a song.
— Chinese proverb
I love to sing. Well, more accurately, I should say, I can remember when I was a child how I loved to sing, dancing around the house singing along with my mother’s opera records at the top of my lungs, just loving the feel of the music in my body and the joyful expression as a spirit. I still want to love to sing, but years of training and criticism and competition made it not such a joy, and indeed, had silenced my singing voice almost completely.
Bloggers like me are advised to create a “content schedule” where you plan out far in advance what you will write about on specific dates in the future. I have always found that difficult to do, but after returning from my road trip to Portland a couple of weeks ago I wrote out a whole plan of subjects I wanted to write about inspired by that trip.
But then a quantum leap occurred over the weekend that blew that plan to pieces. I will get back to those subjects, I promise, but today I want to tell you what happened.
While walking down the street in downtown Portland on our recent road trip, Larry and I were delighted to find full size wild animals on the sidewalks beside us. We loved feeling the presence of the ecosystem right in the city.
Upon coming home from our road trip, we found our lettuce barrel was full of vibrant lettuce.
I was delighted to see this because I had been harvesting lettuce daily before we left by cutting leaves with gardening scissors rather than pulling out the entire lettuce plant as I had done in years past.
While in Portland last week, Larry and I stayed in the wonderful Hotel Deluxe. Not only was it a beautifully renovated hotel from 1912, with the greatest service ever, but they also have beehives on their roof and sell the honey to hotel guests. Well, how could we not come home with two jars?
Some years ago, while Larry and I were driving to Miami to the International Mango Festival, I was reminded of a trip we took a few years earlier to the Florida Keys, for we traveled the same route. We were living in Florida at the time and very much enjoyed exploring that tropical environment.
In Key Largo, we stayed in a cottage on a private beach, with a little cove of shallow water, The water was as warm as a bathtub and perfectly calm.
This year Independence Day means more to us than celebrating the independence of the United States from the tyrannies of the rulers of Great Britain. In a very individual way we are celebrating our independence from industrialization with our Lifely blog.
This morning I realized that in all the years I’ve celebrated Independence Day, I had never looked up the meaning of the word “independence.” It was one of those words I thought I knew the meaning of, but actually, it turns out that I didn’t fully understand it at all.
We’ve been gardening in half-barrels last year and this year because there are many gophers where we currently live and they eat almost anything planted in the ground.
These barrels are working just wonderfully. Placed on cinderblocks for drainage, they come to just the right height for harvesting without bending over too far.
In addition to being useful, efficient, and attractive, they also are a perfect example of a lifely law: use materials that are close at hand, in your immediate area. And another lifely law: use everything as many times and in as many different ways as you can before you recycle it.
Image Credit: Procession of the Birds, a print by Share LaPierre, published as a notecard by the Americn Association of Uiversity Women (AAUW).
A few days after my birthday I received a lovely handwritten note from my stepmother, on this beautiful card. I smiled when I saw that her choice of card embodied the spirit of my new lifely work, even though she didn’t know I had made the transition.
When today it’s easier and faster and more common to send a written communication via email, I love receiving these notes from her on beautiful cards. Because it’s person and human and real and loving.
For me, Independence Day is about more than having a picnic and going to the the fireworks. It’s a time to bring my attention again to the concept of independence in my own life, and for the nation in which I live.
I love the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Today is Summer Solstice. It’s the longest day of the year and the shortest night. The following day daylight becomes less and less until we reach the Winter Solstice in December. [See Lifely: Sunshine Through the Year]
About ten years ago, I was talking with some friends about green living and got all excited that Summer Solstice was coming up that Sunday. One of them said, “I’m not very interested in Summer Solstice. What does it have to do with living green?”
Good question. When I first became interested in “living in harmony with Nature” the very first thing I explored was the concept of natural time.
I “accidentally” found this very cool website about ten years ago and it’s one of my favorites.
Gaisma.com has very comprehensive data about the amount of sunshine for every place in the world. “Gaisma” is a Latvian word, meaning “light”.
Why would you want to know this? For gardening, for calculating potential solar energy, but for me, it very clearly shows the increase and decrease of day length (making it easy to find the longest days and longest nights), in beautiful graphs.
I want to give you an example of what we are talking about when we say we are choosing Life over being industrial consumers.
Here is a corner of our garden where we planted heirloom tomato seedlings from the farmer’s market and raspberry canes donated by Larry’s sister, which were excess shoots that had come up aroound a single raspberry cane I had given her last year as a gift.
For the past forty years I have made my living as a consumer advocate. I have given much advice in the course of seven books, numerous magazine articles, and megabytes of Internet content on what to buy that is better for health and the environment, and where to buy it. Now, I am about to ask you to consider not being a consumer and instead reorient your life to Life.
I wish to be very clear that I am not asking you not to shop. The exchange of goods is a wonderful thing and not a problem in and of itself.
We live today in a world defined and designed—and polluted—by industrialism.
We were all born into a society where our survival is based on obtaining money in order to purchase goods made by others. This is a human-made artificial world that operates on its own assumptions and laws that are quite different from how the rest of Life functions. As a result, the process of industrialized manufacture and the consumer culture that has arisen from it are—by their very nature and design—in conflict with Life.
Industrial and consumer activities, as they are now, are headed toward complete destruction of our planet.