The other day I interviewed members of an immensely talented local band, a sort of reggae/funk ensemble. I asked the drummer what he did when he wasn’t playing music. He gave me a perplexed looked and thought for a moment before replying, “This is what I do…every day.”
Years ago while living at our retreat centre in the valley we were regularly graced with the visits of WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms), young people from many nations who exchanged about four hours of work per day for a bed, meals and our knowledge of the land and organics. One such visitor was an enthusiastic young lady from Ireland. She was a remarkably balanced and happy person with a clear vision of what she wanted in life. She spoke one evening over a meal of how her father had positively influenced her and her siblings when she was growing up. He used to tell them that his job was simple. All he had to do was to help them each to find what it was that they really loved and then to encourage them to pursue it wholeheartedly. A wise man and wise words.
Isn’t this the key to happiness? Find out what you love and then do it wholeheartedly. Like the drummer in the band. Simple, isn’t it?
As an organic gardener, nutrition educator and supporter and campaigner for the Green Party in New Zealand, I’ve often wondered why people just haven’t got it yet. Commercially grown food, high in spray residues, is unhealthy for the consumer and for the environment. Let’s trust that those in power continue to make intelligent choices and that people continue to support their local farmers markets and organic growers. Cuba has shown that an entire nation can be fed organically. Our forefathers were. They knew nothing but organic. How soon we forget.
Here’s something from the NY Times that I find very positive:
Yesterday, beginning at the unusual time of 4.15 am I was interviewed by Mike Meier of the syndicated radio show, Morning X. It was a more civilized time for Mike in Michigan—11.15 am the day before! We spoke for more than half an hour about my journey in search of simplicity. When I mentioned that the simple villagers I spent significant portions of time with in the 1980s—the Hunzas of Northern Pakistan and the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea—would be unaffected by the current economic crisis, Mike countered with the comment that the Amish in his area of Michigan were the same. When approached about their feelings about the money situation in the world they would typically respond, “Financial crisis? What financial crisis?” I then corroborated his views with my experiences each time I visit southern Ontario. The Mennonites living there would also be virtually immune to the situation we presently find ourselves in. I love taking a drive through the areas in which they live without cars and electricity. Some bring produce to the farmers markets in their horse drawn buggies. Their fruits and vegetables are always of the finest organic quality.
Why do I write this? Because I think we can all learn from these examples. We don’t need to return strictly to the ways of our pasts, but any of us can grow some food in a little garden. Even apartment dwellers can plant garlic, onions, lentils and buckwheat in pots for living greens to enhance their salads. I learned years ago that I don’t need to grow all of our food, but there is tremendous satisfaction (and very real health benefits) in growing some of one’s food organically. Get planting! For more on this check out what Gaia member Lee O’Hara has to say at http://www.organichomegardener.com/.
The following is a summary of some of the most salient points from The Secret. I trust that in reading and processing these age old truths you are brought into alignment with your highest purpose.
The Law of Attraction: Everything that is going on in your life, you are attracting to you with images in your mind.
Like attracts like.
You become what you think about.
Thoughts become reality.
Most people are thinking about and focusing on what they don’t want.
The Law of Attraction is always working whether you believe it or not.
When we are predominantly positive we attract positive people and events.
Those who speak most about illness have it. Those who speak most about prosperity have it.
There is scientific proof that a positive thought is 100% more powerful than a negative thought.
Most of us attract by default – our thoughts and our feelings are on autopilot.
What is a ‘bad’ feeling? That which you are thinking is not in alignment with your highest good. The better you feel, the more in alignment you are with your highest good.
The Universe will begin to correspond to the nature of your song/your feelings.
You want to feel good – think of a happy baby.
Alladin’s lamp always said the same thing: “Your wish is my command.”
The Creative Process:
Step 1 -You must ask for what you want. This is stated in the present tense. Do it daily but don’t make it a chore.
Step 2 -The answer is presented by the Universe – our job is not to know the how; the Universe always knows the best/quickest way.
-Anyone who ever accomplished anything did not know how they would get there.
- You attract the way which could take the form of an inspired idea; action will sometimes be required but it’ll be easy.
- The Universe likes speed. Therefore don’t delay, doubt or hesitate.
- You can start with nothing and out of nothing, out of no way, a way will be made.
Step 3 – When you are in a state of joy, enthusiasm and/or passion you are in alignment with what you are asking for.
Most people offer the majority of their thoughts in response to what is happening.
Your present situation is a result of the residual thoughts of the past.
Imagination is everything.
It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.
Whatever the mind can conceive,
Man can achieve.
W. Clement Stone
Many people focus on getting out of debt, thereby attracting more debt to them. INSTEAD, focus on prosperity.
Ask no one to be different.
Gratitude is a powerful process. The practice is not just rote, it’s the feeling that’s important.
A Gratitude Rock – every time you pick it up think of something you are grateful for. There is the story of the South African man whose son was dying of some form of hepatitis.
Cultivate an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’.
Everything you think about and thank about you bring about.
Olympic athletes visualize the end result under the assumption that ‘when you’ve been there in your mind, you’ll go there in your body.’
When you have inspired thought
You have to trust it
And you have to act on it.
Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame)
Get a notebook and make a list of the positive aspects of the people you spend time with. The Law of Attraction won’t bring them into your life when they are in a negative state. They’ll zig when you zag.
Disease can’t live in an emotionally happy body.
Incurable means ‘curable from within.’
Man becomes what he thinks about.
Morris Goodman ‘The Miracle Man’
If you talk to a theoretical physicist they’ll tell you that the Universe is energy, it always has been; energy moving into form and through form.
All the power is within and is therefore under your control.
Pushing against the unwanted adds power to it. For example:
The war against war.
The war against terror.
The war against drugs.
Mother Teresa wouldn’t go to an anti-war protest. She said, “I’ll attend a peace conference.”
What you resist persists.
The mainstream media perpetuates negative news. People say, “I have to be informed.” Yes, but do they need to be inundated?
Remove your attention from the things you don’t want and dedicate your attention to what you want.
When you realise that the voice on the inside is more powerful than the voices outside, you’ve mastered your life.
The beautiful thing about the Law of Attraction is that you can begin where you are.
I have transcribed below a set of affirmations I have used and enjoyed for many years. I received a copy of them from a friend, but I know not the source of the original words. I am posting these affirmations here because I trust that others will derive as much benefit from them as I have. If anyone knows the original source of these words please let me know. I would like to include them in a book on affirmations I am working on and I would like to get permission to use them in print and to acknowledge the source.
“Conversation enriches the understanding; but solitude is the school of genius.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882
I walked out this morning before 6.00am, bathed in the startling light of a fat platter of a moon hanging boldly over the bay to the west, a moon that had been absolutely full only a few hours before. I don’t think I recall the moon ever being brighter. It almost hurt one’s eyes to look at it, so intense was its reflection of the sun.
The very first hint of dawn tinged the eastern horizon as I plunged down through overhanging acacias to Mill Bay, so named for the timber mill that saw a few decades of fervent activity before closing its doors almost one hundred years ago. Crickets murmured their haunting angelic melodies from the undergrowth on the roadsides. The lightest drizzle washed my face and head and slightly dampened the shoulders of my jacket.
I turned when I reached the shoreline as is my custom, and began to skip up the hill, delighting in the movement which drew comforting warmth to my fingers and toes on this cool, late summer morning.
The misty rain had stopped by the time I crested the ridge of Rangikapiti Lane. The fat and exultant, haloed moon reflected an extraordinary sum of the sun’s light, freed from the temporary clutches of scattered cloud that had obscured it moments before. A dark band of cloud hung heavily over Mangonui, and light rain began to fall as I turned to walk the ridge. Suddenly a full rainbow, devoid of the usual stripes of multi-colored light in the pre-dawn darkness, stretched low across much of the eastern horizon, the top of its arch just nudging the dark, sodden blanket above.
I had never seen this before, and I was filled with the thrill of discovery. My mind cautioned against such feelings, reminding me that it was only the refraction of light through the water vapour from the brilliant full moon. Ignoring these intellectual ruminations, I felt only that childlike wonder that often arises when one is confronted with the magic and amazing beauty of the natural world.
Do you remember the absolute delight that each new experience gave you in your infancy? Do you continue to live with the bubbling joy that is natural when embracing each moment anew? Or is your response tainted by conditioning you’ve accumulated along life’s journey?
The world is an enchanting glade of infinite newness when one abides in a present untouched by the past.
I mentioned in a blog not long ago, Nature is My Balm, that my mother was dying. The service for her was today and I wrote the following words which were read out on my behalf by my brother-in-law. I know this is intensely personal, but I’ve decided to share this widely because ultimately we are all part of one big human family. The one certainty in life for each of us is that one day we will move on. I don’t see this as something to be saddened by. It is a time to celebrate the contribution each of us has made to this world and to wish each of us well on the next stage of the journey. May the following words have as much meaning to you as they’ve had for me and my family.
First, let me thank you all for being here to remember and to honour a beautiful woman, my mother, Audrey Haines. I know Mom would have appreciated…let me rephrase that. I know Mom appreciates the presence of each and every one of you. So do I.
What makes a woman like Audrey so special? It’s probably all the little things she did. Added up it becomes a big thing and a worthy contribution to creating a loving world.
I think my mother (and my father) gave a wonderful example of living out their dreams. After Dad’s early retirement from Bell Canada, they travelled each winter in their 5th wheel trailer, eventually finding a wonderful place outside of Tucson, Arizona to spend the colder months. They took up new crafts. Mom loved the connection she felt with Native American culture and she even made clay pots in the traditional way. She and Dad took over the reins of their hiking group, regularly leading people on diverse hikes in the stunning mountain scenery around their winter home. They were happy Snowbirds.
When Dad died in 2002, part of Mom died with him. The gap that she felt then was one none of us could adequately fill. Mom continued to live a good life and completed dreams including last year visiting the Panama Canal with Nancy. Mom had wanted to see this magnificent feat of human perseverance and engineering for a long, long time.
When I visited Mom in August and September last year, she was still quite healthy and she was still writing in her journal to Dad every night. He was her rock. She was his anchor. We might say she hadn’t let go and moved on. Mom had moved on—to a new way of being. She had created a bridge through her belief and her writing with the other world and she continued to truly communicate with the man she loved despite their residing in different worlds. There is something quite special in this.
It has probably been mentioned already today but at the risk of repetition, on Mom’s last day in the Tillsonburg Hospital, she kept repeating, “Home, Jim.” I know she was met by Dad when she died and I am genuinely happy that they are truly reunited. There is no more powerful force in the universe than love and that force has brought these two special people together again. May you too realise that they are never further away than your next focused thought.
May we each honour my mother by doing as she did, by each day being a little more loving and by living out our dreams.
My special guest on this featured Voices from the North program, Butterflies, has been a vegan for nigh on 30 years. She stopped eating meat at the age of 12 when her brother pointed out to her that the thing on the plate in the middle of the table was an animal’s tongue. Thus began a lifetime of speaking up for the rights of all of God’s creatures and living the vegan lifestyle out of a heartfelt respect for all life. Butterflies has recently published a book of her poetry titled, Metamorphosis: Poems to Inspire Transformation, that is a natural extension of her wish to extend her words into the wider community. It’s a beautiful book with beautiful poetry and photos, many from the author herself.
But our talk during this interview recorded in 2007 focused on another book of Butterflies’, this one called Incredibly Delicious: Recipes for a New Paradigm. This stunning creation is the result of something like 8 years of research and preparation. It is more than a vegan recipe book; it is jam packed with quotes from respected and renowned characters and authors like Count Leo Tolstoy, Albert Einstein, John Robbins (author of Diet For a New America), Leonardo Da Vinci, the Buddha and George Bernard Shaw—a veritable Who’s Who of the vegan/vegetarian movement.
The book, colourfully illustrated, has over five hundred incredibly delicious recipes, many inspired by the years that Butterflies spent as the head chef at the Gentle World vegan restaurant in Maui.
When Butterflies became a vegan, there were very few resources available and little support to make such a paradigm shift in living. Today, there are vegan replacement products available for just about anything you are used to eating that is made up of animal or dairy products.
Butterflies speaks of the wonderful health improvements that came for her and her family and friends when they shifted their eating away from animal products to fruits, grains and vegetables. She even elaborates on the potential benefits of a vegan diet for your dog. How about that?
“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau
Late yesterday afternoon I received a call from my sister in Canada saying my mother was dying. I had just returned from a swim with Asha and I was planting seeds in trays on the front deck. Symbolic somehow.
My mother only entered the hospital one and a half weeks ago complaining of some abdominal pain near where she’s had an operation for a hernia in the top of her stomach in December. She’d been healthy until then. The only pills she was taking when I visited her last September were calcium tablets for osteoporosis. She is 77.
At 2.00am I called the hospital. It was 8.00am there and my sister was able to hold the telephone receiver by my mother’s oxygen-mask-covered face. Her voice was weak but she was lucid. We were each able to say the three most important words I know, “I love you.” When I called at 6.00am she was sleeping, but I was able to speak with my sister, who had spent the night by my mother’s side. I indicated that I would not, at this point, attempt to get flights for the 27 hour journey from New Zealand to Ontario. It’s a tough call, but I have been connecting consciously with my mother each night for the last two weeks. Part of me has known something was up.
And now I sit here at 9.30am. The sun is shining, burning off the last of the morning mist. I’ve been for my walk to the Pa (the lookout) and along the beach. I’ve rescued a crab which was stranded on low tide, returning it to the wet sand at water’s edge where it quickly burrowed in. A White-faced Heron had stalked the shallows of the estuary, in search of breakfast. A kingfisher dive-bombed a passing dog. I returned to the garden to stake some tomatoes and Jerusalem artichokes toppled by a recent storm. I am happy. Nature is my balm. I feel and know I am connected with all beings. I see my mother’s imminent passing as part of the continuum of life, as an essential part of the vast tapestry of existence. And I am grateful for the technology that allows me to remain connected by voice with ones I love who are physically so far away.
Excuse me. I’ve got go and use that technology, the telephone, so that I can once again utter that essential three word phrase, “I love you.”