November 2009


I am currently completing the sequel to In Search of Simplicity which will be called Beyond the Search. It is the story of Lucia’s and my return to nature and our continuing intention to lead ‘good and natural lives’. Before our initial embarkation on this journey I read two books by Helen and Scott Nearing that greatly inspired me. These books, Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life, described the Nearing’s homesteading experiences in Vermont and Maine over many decades beginning at the depths of the Great Depression in 1932. Years later I read another book by Helen Nearing titled Loving and Leaving the Good Life. It was a touching memoir of her life with Scott. Her description of how he lived and, especially how he chose to die, deeply moved me. I share below words of Helen Nearing that describe vividly these final days and months of Scott Nearing’s life. These words were found here: http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC26/Nearing.htm

You may be interested in my earlier post on my mother’s touching and dignified death called We Are Always Connected.
Enjoy,

John

At The End Of A

Good Life

Scott Nearing’s dignified death, like his life,
sets an inspiring example for all of us
by Helen Nearing
One of the articles in What Is Enough? (IC#26)
Summer 1990, Page 20
Copyright (c)1990, 1997 by Context Institute | To order this issue …

Perhaps the most profound reason for our intensely consumptive lifestyle is, at bottom, our fear of death. “You can’t take it with you,” as they say – though you can try to numb the terror with the things that money can buy. But in his purposeful death by fasting at the age of 100, Scott Nearing demonstrated that there are better, simpler choices.

Throughout their lives, Helen & Scott Nearing were a living example of the possibility of such choices. Their experience, memorialized in Living the Good Life and a string of other books, has been an inspiration to thousands of people looking for an alternative to modern industrialism. On their homesteads first in Vermont and later Penobscott Bay, Maine, the Nearings built, made, grew and collected nearly everything they needed. Yet they still found plenty of time for nourishing their inner lives and giving to others – through music, education, writing and speaking.

Here Helen Nearing, who still lives at the Maine homestead, recounts the story of Scott’s purposeful passing. For more information about the Nearings’ rich-yet-simple lives and their many books, write to Social Science Institute, Harborside, ME 04642.

Doctors practice medicine. Scott and I intended to write a book together, We Practice Health, which never eventuated, though we wrote much on the subject in various chapters of our homesteading books Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life. We rarely if ever used doctors, pills, or hospitals. Yet Scott lived to a hale and hearty 100 and died when he decided to – by fasting for a month and a half at the very end.

He had always been physically active, in the woods, in the garden, in building construction. He was also active mentally, having written 40 or more books from his 20’s to his 90’s, including an autobiography, The Making of a Radical.

“Work,” said Scott, “helps prevent one from getting old. My work is my life. I cannot think of one without the other. The man who works and is never bored, is never old. A person is not old until regrets take the place of hopes and plans. Work and interest in worthwhile things are the best remedy for aging.” Still, he was facing the end and knew it.

Interviewed in 1981 he said “I look forward to the possibility of living until I’m 99.” His blue eyes twinkled. “It is a precarious outlook, I assure you. With age, your facility of expression and perception diminishes. I have almost nothing left but time. But if I can be of service, I would like to go on living.” Walt Whitman, at a far earlier age (70) said, “The old ship is not in a state to make many voyages, but the flag is still on the mast and I am still at the wheel.”

Most people begin to get old in their 60’s. Scott only began to be old in his 90’s. Up to then if anyone called him old I was outraged, because he neither looked nor felt old. Sure, he had plenty of wrinkles. They came in his 50’s from a lot of hard work in the sun. But failing and getting feeble? No.

He did more than his share of mental and physical work up to his last years. At 98 he said “Well, at least I can still split and carry in the wood.” And when he was close to the end, lying in our living room, his one regret at leaving this Earth plane was on watching me lug in the wood for our kitchen stove. “I wish I could help with that,” he said. He was a help unto the end.

A month or two before he died he was sitting at table with us at a meal. Watching us eat he said, “I think I won’t eat anymore.” “Alright,” said I. “I understand. I think I would do that too. Animals know when to stop. They go off in a corner and leave off food.”

So I put Scott on juices: carrot juice, apple juice, banana juice, pineapple, grape – any kind. I kept him full of liquids as often as he was thirsty. He got weaker, of course, and he was as gaunt and thin as Gandhi.

Came a day he said, “I think I’ll go on water. Nothing more.” From then on, for about ten days, he only had water. He was bed-ridden and had little strength but spoke with me daily. In the morning of August 24, 1983, two weeks after his 100th birthday, when it seemed he was slipping away, I sat beside him on his bed.

We were quiet together; no interruptions, no doctors or hospitals. I said “It’s alright, Scott. Go right along. You’ve lived a good life and are finished with things here. Go on and up – up into the light. We love you and let you go. It’s alright.”

In a soft voice, with no quiver or pain or disturbance he said “All…right,” and breathed slower and slower and slower till there was no movement anymore and he was gone out of his body as easily as a leaf drops from the tree in autumn, slowly twisting and falling to the ground.

So he returned to his Maker after a long life, well-lived and devoted to the general welfare. He was principled and dedicated all through. He lived at peace with himself and the world because he was in tune: he practiced what he preached. He lived his beliefs. He could die with a good conscience.

As to myself and my old age: I try to follow in his footsteps. It is not so easy homesteading alone, but I carry on. A few more years and I also will experience the great Transition. May I live halfway as good a life and die as good a death.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life. 

My agent in Frankfurt, the world’s largest book fair, indicated interest was way down this year due to the fragile worldwide economic situation and a rapidly changing publishing world. Still, I am delighted that publishers from The Netherlands, Spain and Korea are interested in publishing and translating In Search of Simplicity. It’s a start to reaching further with the story.

Bryan Flournoy

In Search of Simplicity is continuing to garner praise from readers and reviewers and I’m beginning to gain access to radio shows with more reach. I was interviewed yesterday by Bryan Flournoy who has put together a visionary series which includes such notable authors and visionaries as Dr. Bruce Lipton, Neile Donald Walshe, Joan Borysenko, Dr. Candace Pert, Byron Katie and many others. I feel privileged to be included in such illustrious and established company.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

This video gives a scientific approach to explaining the power of thought. We have all heard it before, “Your thoughts create your reality.” New quantum physics studies support this idea. Learn of recent research on how the mind can influence the behavior of subatomic particles and physical matter.

Our observation of reality changes reality. Emoto’s work with water crystals is mentioned as well.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life. 

Lynette and Colin Wilson in their Orchard

First Drop Olive Oil

In this travelogue on Voices from the North, Lynette Wilson chronicles a recent journey to the traditional olive groves of Sicily. Lynette and her husband, Colin, are the proprietors of Hihi Olive Estate. They press their own oil and regularly win awards for their oil which is produced for the domestic New Zealand market and for export under the First Drop label.

The interview can be heard here: 
 
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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life. 

Here’s an inspiring post recently sent to me by a friend. Enjoy and continue to BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD. BE PEACE. BE LOVE.

Blessings,

John

Here’s a related link I found today (14 January 2010):

http://beyondthecurtain.wordpress.com/2009/10/01/interview-with-mayan-elder-carlos-barrios/

By Earth Changes Media
Nov 5, 2009 – 10:48:12 PM

Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder and Ajq’ij (a ceremonial priest and spiritual guide) of the Eagle Clan. Carlos initiated an investigation into the different Mayan calendars circulating. Carlos along with his brother Gerardo studied with many teachers and interviewed nearly 600 traditional Mayan elders to widen their scope of knowledge.

Don Carlos Barrios

Carlos found out quickly there were several conflicting interpretations of Mayan hieroglyphs, petroglyphs, Sacred Books of ‘Chilam Balam’ and various ancient text. Carlos had some strong words for those who may have contributed to the confusion —

Carlos Barrios: “Anthropologists visit the temple sites and read the inscriptions and make up stories about the Maya, but they do not read the signs correctly. It’s just their imagination. Other people write about prophecy in the name of the Maya. They say that the world will end in December 2012. The Mayan elders are angry with this. The world will not end. It will be transformed.”

“We are no longer in the World of the Fourth Sun, but we are not yet in the World of the Fifth Sun. This is the time in-between, the time of transition. As we pass through transition there is a colossal, global convergence of environmental destruction, social chaos, war, and ongoing Earth Changes.”

He continues: “Humanity will continue, but in a different way. Material structures will change. From this we will have the opportunity to be more human. We are living in the most important era of the Mayan calendars and prophecies. All the prophecies of the world, all the traditions are converging now. There is no time for games. The spiritual ideal of this era is action.”

Carlos tells us: “The indigenous have the calendars and know how to accurately interpret it — not others. The Mayan Calendars comprehension of time, seasons, and cycles has proven itself to be vast and sophisticated. The Maya understand 17 different calendars such as the Tzolk’in or Cholq’ij, some of them charting time accurately over a span of more than ten million years.

“All was predicted by the mathematical cycles of the Mayan calendars. — It will change –everything will change. Mayan Daykeepers view the Dec. 21, 2012 date as a rebirth, the start of the World of the Fifth Sun. It will be the start of a new era resulting from and signified by the solar meridian crossing the galactic equator and the Earth aligning itself with the center of the galaxy.”

At sunrise on December 21, 2012 for the first time in 26,000 years the Sun rises to conjunct the intersection of the Milky Way and the plane of the ecliptic. This cosmic cross is considered to be an embodiment of the Sacred Tree, The Tree of Life, a tree remembered in all the world’s spiritual traditions.

Some observers say this alignment with the heart of the galaxy in 2012 will open a channel for cosmic energy to flow through the Earth, cleansing it and all that dwells upon it, raising all to a higher level of vibration.

Carlos reminds us: “This process has already begun. Change is accelerating now and it will continue to accelerate. If the people of the Earth can get to this 2012 date in good shape without having destroyed too much of the Earth, we will rise to a new, higher level. But to get there we must transform enormously powerful forces that seek to block the way.”

The date specified in the calendar Winter Solstice in the year 2012 does not mark the end of the world

Many outside people writing about the Mayan calendar sensationalize this date, but they do not know. The ones who know are the indigenous elders who are entrusted with keeping the tradition.

Carlos tells us: “The economy now is a fiction. The first five-year stretch of transition from August 1987 to August 1992 was the beginning of the destruction of the material world. We have progressed ten years deeper into the transition phase by now, and many of the so-called sources of financial stability are in fact hollow. The banks are weak. This is a delicate moment for them. They could crash globally if we don’t pay attention. If the banks crash — then we will be forced to rely on the land and our skills. The monetary systems will be in chaos, and we must then rely on our direct relationship with the Earth for our food and shelter.”

The North and South Poles are both breaking up. The level of the water in the oceans is going to rise. But at the same time land in the ocean, especially near Cuba, is also going to rise.

Carlos tells a story about the most recent Mayan New Year ceremonies in Guatemala. He said that one respected Mam elder, who lives all year in a solitary mountain cave, journeyed to Chichicastenango to speak with the people at the ceremony. The elder delivered a simple, direct message. He called for human beings to come together in support of life and light.

“Right now each person and group is going his or her own way. The elder of the mountains said there is hope if the people of the light can come together and unite in some way. We live in a world of polarity — day and night, man and woman, positive and negative. Light and darkness need each other. They are a balance.”

“Just now the dark side is very strong, and very clear about what they want. They have their vision and their priorities clearly held, and also their hierarchy. They are working in many ways so that we will be unable to connect with the spiral Fifth World in 2012.”

“On the light side everyone thinks they are the most important, that their own understandings, or their group’s understandings, are the key. There’s a diversity of cultures and opinions, so there is competition, diffusion, and no single focus.”

Carlos believes the dark side works to block unity through denial and materialism. It also works to destroy those who are working with the light to get the Earth to a higher level. They like the energy of the old, declining Fourth World, the materialism. They do not want it to change. They do not want unity. They want to stay at this level, and are afraid of the next level.

The dark power of the declining Fourth World cannot be destroyed or overpowered. It’s too strong and clear for that, and that is the wrong strategy. The dark can only be transformed when confronted with simplicity and open-heartedness. This is what leads to unity, a key concept for the World of the Fifth Sun.

Carlos said the emerging era of the Fifth Sun will call attention to a much-overlooked element. Whereas the four traditional elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water have dominated various epochs in the past, there will be a fifth element to reckon with in the time of the Fifth Sun — that element is ‘ETHER’.

The dictionary defines Ether as a “hypothetical substance supposed to occupy all space, postulated to account for the propagation of electromagnetic radiation through space.” Perhaps it could be defined as the “space between space”. I would suggest it could be manifest as the alignment of charged particles from our solar system (Sun), and our galaxy (Milky Way) surge.

“The element of the Fifth Sun is celestial. Within the context of Ether there can be a joining of the polarities. No more darkness or light in the people, but an uplifted unity. But right now the realm of darkness is not interested in this. They are organized to block it. They seek to unbalance the Earth and its environment so we will be unready for the alignment in 2012.”

“We need to work together for peace, and balance with the other side. We need to take care of the Earth that feeds and shelters us. We need to put our entire mind and heart into pursuing unity and unity now, to confront the other side and preserve life.”

“We are disturbed — we can’t play anymore. Our planet can be renewed or ravaged. Now is the time to awaken and take action. Everyone is needed. You are not here for no reason. Everyone who is here now has an important purpose. This is a hard but a special time. We have the opportunity for growth, but we must be ready for this moment in history.”

Carlos says: “The prophesied changes are going to happen, but our attitude and actions determine how harsh or mild they are. We need to act, to make changes, and to elect people to represent us who understand and who will take political action to respect the Earth.”

“Meditation and spiritual practice are good, but also action. It’s very important to be clear about who you are, and also about your relation to the Earth. Develop yourself according to your own tradition and the call of your heart. But remember to respect differences, and strive for unity. Eat wisely — a lot of food is corrupt in either subtle or gross ways. Pay attention to what you are taking into your body. Learn to preserve food, and to conserve energy. Learn some good breathing techniques, so you have mastery of your breath. Be clear. Follow a tradition with great roots. It is not important what tradition, your heart will tell you, but it must have great roots.”

“We live in a world of energy. An important task at this time is to learn to sense or see the energy of everyone and everything — people, plants, animals. This becomes increasingly important as we draw close to the World of the Fifth Sun, for it is associated with the element ‘ether’ — the realm where energy lives and weaves. Go to the sacred places of the Earth to pray for peace, and have respect for the Earth which gives us our food, clothing, and shelter. We need to reactivate the energy of these sacred places. That is our work.”

“One simple but effective prayer technique is to light white or baby-blue colored candles. Think of a moment in peace. Speak your intention to the flame and send the light of it on to the leaders who have the power to make war or peace.”

Carlos reminds us this is a crucially important moment for humanity and for Earth. Each person is important. He said the elders have opened the doors so that other races can come to the Mayan world to receive the tradition. “The Maya have long appreciated and respected that there are other colors, other races, and other spiritual systems. They know that the destiny of the Mayan world is related to the destiny of the whole world.”

“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way.”

 http://www.earthchangesmedia.com/

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“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.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and politician, Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Neruda assumed his pen name as a teenager, partly because it was in vogue, partly to hide his poetry from his father, a rigid man who wanted his son to have a ‘practical’ occupation—to get a real job.

In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him ‘the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.’ Without a doubt, Pablo Neruda is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century. His work has been translated into many languages.

Imagine if Pablo had listened to his father rather than to the strong, insistent voice of his inner knowing. Can you say the same? Are you doing what you came here to do? Or have you surrendered your calling to get a real job? The knowing inner voice continues to call whether you choose to listen or not. But true satisfaction in life comes when you listen to your knowing, to your conscience. The world will be richer for it; just as it is richer for the poetry of Pablo Neruda.

I came across this great poet while searching for a poem about olives for the interview I did on Wednesday on Voices from the North with Lynette Wilson of Hihi Olive Estate. Enjoy Ode to Olive Oil by Pablo Neruda. It has been translated from its original Spanish by Jodey Bateman.

Ode to Olive Oil / Oda al aceite
Near the murmuring
In the grain fields, of the waves
Of wind in the oat-stalks
The olive tree
With its silver-covered mass
Severe in its lines
In its twisted
Heart in the earth:
The graceful
Olives
Polished
By the hands
Which made
The dove
And the oceanic
Snail:
Green,
Inumerable,
Immaculate
Nipples
Of nature
And there
In
The dry
Olive Groves
Where
Alone
The blue sky with cicadas
And the hard earth
Exist
There
The prodigy
The perfect
Capsules
Of the olives
Filling
With their constellations, the foliage
Then later,
The bowls,
The miracle,
The olive oil.
I love
The homelands of olive oil
The olive groves
Of Chacabuco, in Chile
In the morning
Feathers of platinum
Forests of them
Against the wrinkled
Mountain ranges.
In Anacapri, up above,
Over the light of the Italian sea
Is the despair of olive trees
And on the map of Europe
Spain
A black basketfull of olives
Dusted off by orange blossoms
As if by a sea breeze
Olive oil,
The internal supreme
Condition for the cooking pot
Pedestal for game birds
Heavenly key to mayonaise
Smoothe and tasty
Over the lettuce
And supernatural in the hell
Of the king mackerals like archbishops
Our chorus
With
Intimate
Powerful smoothness
You sing:
You are the Spanish
Language
There are syllables of olive oil
There are words
Useful and rich-smelling
Like your fragrant material
It’s not only wine that sings
Olive oil sings too
It lives in us with its ripe light
And among the good things of the earth
I set apart
Olive oil,
Your ever-flowing peace, your green essence
Your heaped-up treasure which descends
In streams from the olive tree.

Pablo Neruda (1971) Translated by Jodey Bateman

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“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.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

Today is a good friend’s birthday. She came over to receive a gift from Lucia: a foot massage. This friend returned last week from a silent retreat in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. It was her second such retreat in two years and she loved it.

Cell Phones: Who’s in Charge?

Her only complaint was the cell phones. Even though it was made clear at the beginning of the retreat that cell phones were to be turned off in the meditation hall, as soon as people left the hall their mobile phones came on and they checked for messages and started texting. This strikes me as being addictive behaviour. Our friend’s roommate for the retreat was making calls throughout their so-called time of silence.

What Has Happened to Us?

This was much worse than it had been the year before. Is this a worldwide trend? Are we more plugged in than ever before? Do we need to be? Is there a delusional feeling of self importance in being available at all times? Do we need to be?

Do We Really Need Mobile Phones?

I don’t own a mobile phone. I never have. I don’t see the point. This same friend of ours has people ask, “Did you receive my text?” She hasn’t responded and there is an expectation that you must respond (soon)? Must you?

Emails are Similar and Come With Expectations

There is so much spam today that many are becoming disillusioned with even the thought of opening their inbox. A friend sent an email yesterday asking me to be part of a group exchanging recipes. I don’t cook, thriving on raw food. I don’t need any more recipes. I ignored the email. The intention behind it was good. The medium leaves something to be desired.

Is There Quality of Relationship in Our Cyber-Communication?

Do we need to be instantly available for others? I thoroughly enjoy computer-free Sundays. I’m considering extending them to computer-free weekends once my current Saturday work in the library finishes. You could call these cyber-free days since I don’t use technology on these days save for the occasional phone call. I write by hand, work in the garden, enjoy long walks with Lucia and play games (of the old sort like backgammon) with our daughter. Perhaps you too should consider cyber-free days. You might just rediscover something beautiful about the way we used to live. I’m not suggesting we move backwards. I am suggesting we re-examine our behaviour and ask a simple question, “Who’s in charge, us or technology?” the next time we reach for the mobile phone.

You may wish to read my earlier post: How Many Cell Phones is a Gorilla Worth?

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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