August 2010


It is estimated that over 400 billion cups of coffee are drunk each day in the world, making coffee a commodity second only to oil. With a global population rapidly approaching 7 billion I’ll leave it to you to do the maths. Clearly a lot of coffee is drunk by a lot of people, every day.

But there is more we need to know. Originally most coffee was grown in the shade of large trees, providing habitat for a diversity of animals and insects. Once it was discovered that berries ripened more rapidly and produced higher yields under full sun, increased clearing of trees and use of fertilizer and pesticides became common practice. And, not only are rainforests being cleared to make room for more coffee plantations, the wood from rainforests is burned to dry the beans.

It has been estimated that each cup of coffee is responsible for at least an equivalent size of rainforest being cleared. Although this doesn’t seem like much, according to the Rain Forest Alliance, over twenty hectares of rainforest disappears every minute. Try to picture that. Clearly this is not sustainable and leads to the possible extinction of thousands of plant, animal and insect species every year.

My question is: Do you need to drink coffee at all? If you must, coffee can be purchased that is grown in environmentally friendly ways that provide reasonable income and living conditions for plantation workers. I don’t drink tea or coffee and I don’t feel deprived.

Kumarahou Flowers

Here in New Zealand, one need look no further than our native forest inhabitants for a good cup of tea. One of my favourites is kumarahou, whose spring blooms herald the traditional time to plant kumara. This somewhat bitter brew is said to heal all manner of lung, bladder and skin complaints. Kawakawa, a common native bush, has a unique flavour and makes a simultaneously relaxing and energising tea. Of course, early European visitors to Aotearoa turned to Tea Tree as a substitute for the black tea they had become habituated to.

Camellia Sinensis

By the way, the source of English tea, camellia sinensis, is easily grown here in New Zealand. It is a hardy camellia bush with small, fragrant white camellia blossoms.

Just down the road from us is Kerikeri Organic Tea, New Zealand’s largest certified organic and fair trade tea company. Here is a local business creating an extensive range of teas. By applying the principle of localism, we can indulge in healthy, locally grown/produced beverages that enhance our local economy and don’t contribute to worldwide rainforest destruction. I suggest that no matter where you live, there are choices you can make that are equally positive. Will you make them?

 

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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

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 In summer, the song sings itself.

William Carlo Williams

Much of my work over these last years has been about finding my voice. I present workshops (I call them playshops) all over and have taught sound and voice at our local community college.

Everyone was born with a beautiful voice but sometimes the emotional ups and downs of life get in the way of our ability to express with truth, clarity and beauty. There are many teachers and guides around the world busy with this work. Healing with sound is a modality that is very much ‘in’ at this time.

I sang lead soprano in the choir as a boy and always sang out loud with friends. But the quality of my voice dropped dramatically at puberty. It was for me, as it is for many, a particularly stressful time. I remember being told in school to ‘”shut up John, your voice carries.” From that moment on, I often spoke a little too softly in public. Also, like many, I developed a fear of public speaking.

I'm Not Shy Today

My personal experience may give you an idea of how effective the focus on sound and voice can be.

I began chanting (mostly Sankrit chants) in the mid 90s. It seemed a natural extension to the yoga I’d been doing for close to a decade. In 1999 I attended my first two day voice workshop and was immediately hooked on toning. I followed that up with other workshops with different teachers and Teacher Training in The Power of Sound with Chris James in Australia in 2000. During that 16 day residential I began to ‘hear’ songs and to write and sing them. That was a pleasant and unexpected outcome.

In the last years my work with sound, voice and expression has led me on an equally surprising but joyful journey. I now have a weekly radio interview programme, am writing books and MC local events and dances, give talks when requested and, of course, continue to teach sound and voice.

I urge anyone to explore their voice and their expression. My final fear of public speaking was eliminated with the words of a dear friend who is a world renowned composer and conductor in his 90s. He overcame stage fright by saying to himself, ‘I love everyone and I don’t care what they think about me.’ Try using that, it worked for me as well.

Did you know that research indicates that close to 40% of the value of your message is people’s interpretation of the tonality of your voice? Of course, in the age of the email, we’re largely bypassing the importance of the voice. Perhaps we need to spend less time figuring out what to say and spend more time developing how we say it, in person.

Affirmation: 

I was born with beautiful voice. I love my voice.

 

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator 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.

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

 

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Albert Einstein

We are indivisible from Nature. You breathe in the same breath exhaled by the ancients, by Confucius, Buddha and Jesus. The stuff that makes up these bodies, these vehicles, is the same stuff that makes up every form of existence. Look at compost. The decomposed bodies of plants are the building blocks of the fruits and vegetables we eat. And we are what we eat.

Truly knowing our interconnectedness with all life, all matter, makes us responsible, respectful guardians of this beautiful planet. How can we then pollute the soil, water and air of our home? We are inseparable from these elements. They are in us and we in them.

We are by nature creative beings. To be God-like is to be creative and alive. Why has the Creator brought us into existence? Our journey out into this world is co-coincident with a longing to return to the formless essence from which we come. But to be here in this world is to be a creator.

In order to get something you’ve never had you’ll have to do something you’ve never done. You’ll have to walk beyond the gateway of the known into a land of trust. To grow is to create. To know your interconnectedness with all of life is to create responsibly.

Affirmation:

I Am indivisible from Nature. I create with respect for all of life.

 

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator 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.

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

To be free of the past is to breathe deeply of the heavenly fragrance of the now.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much of what you think and believe is based on conditioning derived from the ideas of your family, your teachers, your church, the media? It’s all based on experience, on memory, on the past. It is based on time. But it can be said that where time is not, God is. So, all that we believe may be a great lie. If you want to realize, if you want to be, your God nature, you may have to let go of a lot. You may have to let go of everything. How would that feel? Have you the courage to step into that place of ‘not knowing’?

How would it feel to not have a past? I don’t mean you need to forget what happened yesterday. I don’t mean you need to discard the memories of your childhood. But do memories need to influence who you are and the decisions you make today? Imagine waking up at dawn and not being surprised if the sun rose in the west. Imagine taking a bite from an orange for breakfast and tasting its exquisite sweetness as if for the first time, as if you’d never had an orange before. How would that be?

This awareness of stepping into a timeless realm, of stepping into a world without memory, while still functioning in the world of time is possible. In fact, it is an inevitable part of the journey of every human soul. To release the past is to collapse into the present; a present swollen with the richness of infinite possibility. A present released of the perceived burden of responsibility. After all, responsibility is almost always derived from the beliefs, ideas and experiences of the past. Could it be that your only true responsibility is to be happy? Can you imagine that? Can you imagine how much better you would serve those around you and the planet if the only responsibility you had was to be happy? Would you still be doing what you are doing today?

To be free of the past is to breathe deeply of the heavenly fragrance of the now. To be free of the past is to greet each moment with joyful anticipation. To be free of the past is to free of the mind. To be free of the past is to be happy. 

Affirmation:

I Am free of the past. I Am the living Creativeness of the Present.

 

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

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

 Love is the real glue that holds this world together. 

One of the reasons I love living in New Zealand’s lightly populated Far North is because I can pass a stranger on the beach or in the street and exchange a few pleasant words with them. We don’t distrust each other. I believe this attitude of trust is closer to the way things are in the spirit world from whence we come where all beings are greeted with acceptance and openness without suspicion. Where the old adage holds, ‘Strangers are friends I haven’t yet met.’

I suggest we turn our attention away from the negative messages of the media and reflect meditatively on the reality that exists behind this illusory world.

Face it. The fears and the distrust of this world are our creation. Love is the real glue that holds this world together. Perhaps its greatest expression is kindness to a stranger and its simplest expression is a smile. Smile at the next stranger you meet.

Affirmation:

I Am happy and I extend that happiness to everyone I meet.

 

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator 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.

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

 

The first step in the healing of this planet comes with the realization of what is. 

After a walk in the dark and yoga this overcast, drizzly Sunday morning, I joined Lucia for sitting meditation. Then, while I prepared and ate a smoothie for breakfast, and Lucia crocheted, we listened to a tape of Jack Kornfield speaking on Buddhist psychology. Jack is a wonderful storyteller whose voice carries not even a hint of judgement. While speaking about compassion he said that the near enemy of love is attachment. We can all relate to this. As opposed to the old expression, ‘If you love someone set them free,’ attachment leads to clinging and jealousy or even violence.

Likewise the near enemy of compassion is pity: ‘Oh, look at that poor person,’ a piteous person might say.

Let’s examine the word compassion—‘com’ ‘passion’, or ‘with’ ‘passion’. In other words compassion implies a willingness to ‘suffer with’. Not one of us is ever actually separate from the suffering which happens anywhere on this planet. If one person suffers we all do But this realization can feel overwhelming. One might ask: ‘What can I do when there is so much suffering?’

The first step in the healing of this planet comes with this realization of what is. Hence awareness of what is actually, truly, happening is a calling to each of us to contribute to the healing.

The question we may ask ourselves is: ‘What does it mean to be helpful?’ I believe the solution is intimately connected with finding our mission on Earth. True contentment and satisfaction is derived only when serving others. That may not mean changing what we do. It may mean simply making a shift of intention from ‘doing to get’ to ‘doing to serve’. Like the title of Ram Dass’s book, How Can I Help?

So I leave you with two questions:

  1. How are you called to help?
  2. Are you doing it?

Affirmation:

I Am doing my best to help in every way every day.

 

 
CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator 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.

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

The wind blew shrill and smart,
And the wind awoke my heart
Again to go a-sailing o’er the sea,
To hear the cordage moan
And the straining timbers groan,
And to see the flying pennon lie a-lee.

 

 Robert Louis Stevenson 1850 – 1894

Whatuwhiwhi Beach

In 1997 our family headed to the beach for the summer, to a place on the Karikari Peninsula called Whatuwhiwhi—pronounced Fatufeefee—not the way you may have been thinking.

Our ridge-top rental possessed views of the sea in two directions. To the east—the long slow arc of Tokerau Beach and the sweeping curve of Doubtless Bay. Legend has it that when Captain James Cook arrived here on the Endeavour in 1770 he said: “This is doubtless a bay.” Hence its present name.

Puheke Hill

To the west, across knobbly, grass-covered dunes, lay a series of reed fringed, sapphire-blue, finger-shaped lakes—haven to heron and gull, and glimpses of the white sand of Rangiputa Beach. The rounded, pyramidal volcanic dome of Puheke stood guard over the west coast of the peninsula, north of the entrance to Rangaunu Harbour.

Our home for the summer was a two storey Kiwi bach, a functional, if not fancy, house designed for visits in the summer and on weekends throughout the year when the weather was favourable. The absentee owners maintained the basic garden of rough lawn and a few hardy evergreens that withstood the incessant winds of the hilltop.

The vista was superb, like a prince; the garden drab and colourless, a pauper in comparison. We loved that summer, swimming and walking every day. The girls would play on a makeshift swing suspended from a large, Pohutukawa—New Zealand’s red-flowering Christmas tree—overhanging the beach. We ate our evening meals on the windy deck on the north side of the bach, struggling to keep kelp powder in the salad rather than on our clothes. The sky would colour majestically as the day waned.

By autumn we knew we had to move on. The wind grew increasingly chilly, and found refuge inside our dwelling, like an unwanted guest. The house had no insulation or woodstove. It was not really an all-season home.

By the time we took refuge in what was to be our sanctuary for four years in nearby Peria Valley, I was craving a garden with colour. It was during that summer by the beach that I discovered the importance of flowers in one’s life. Their absence made my heart fondly long for them.

It is acknowledged in today’s technology-dominated world that many people are not getting as much green time as they need for optimum health. One beautiful summer by the beach in Whatuwhiwhi showed me that green is not enough. A full spectrum of coloured flowers feeds my soul. Do you have enough colour in your life?

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator 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.

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

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