Immediately upon viewing this, it was clear this would be one of my favorite TED Talks because it’s one of my favorite ideas: grow your own food!
- Ron Finley
Mr. Finley is an urban gardener. A renegade gardener with a message we all need to hear. Our food system is a disaster and intricately tied to the medical system. Food can be medicine or poison. Your diet determines whether health or disease awaits you. One of the best way to choose health is to grow your own food.
The right to grow movement requires and deserves our attention and energy. One of my most sincere beliefs is that we will return to being stewards of the land, by choice or necessity. The earlier you choose, the better off you’ll be.
This generation of children growing up today are expected to die five years younger than their parents. Why? Because of inactivity. The benefits of exercise are so many that it seems silly not to. Yet, so many of us still don’t. I haven’t been to the gym since October.
Don’t judge me.
While I’ve fallen off my beloved fitness game for a while, I’m committed to getting back on track, not just for myself but because I want to be in the population of people that’s a part of the solution. Growing up, my mother used to say, “if you aren’t a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.” It annoyed me when she said it then, but it’s true.
The children are the future. Let’s teach them well.
A long-time friend of mine, Nikki Walton of CurlyNikki has finally released her long-awaited treatise on curly and kinky coils with Better Than Good Hair. For the past five years, she’s been sharing her knowledge and building a community for those embracing the path of self-love by accepting their hair as it is and learning how to work with it as opposed to against it. Better Than Good Hair is best suited for those new or relatively new to the world of natural hair care, but also serves as a handy reference guide for those like me, who have been natural for a while but never fully went down the rabbit’s hole and could use a refresher every now and then.
I’m pretty psyched to be connected to the project, as a short essay of mine is featured. (I’m published!) My favorite thing about Nikki and her movement is how genuine and bright she is and how passionate she is about positively impacting people’s mental and emotional health as it relates to hair. She is, after all, a certified therapist.
If you know anyone who could use a more information about naturally curly hair, Better Than Good Hair is a handy reference, and especially helpful to sift through all the online information. Get your copy today.
The heart of my efforts right now center around productivity, so I’m sharing productivity expert David Allen’s TedxTalk with you. Enjoy!
to what has your
you will give it more
than it deserves.”
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
- Mary Oliver, Thirst
(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
- Mary Oliver, Thirst
while in haiti, i met a couple who recited this poem. the husband read it in its native spanish and the wife translated it into english. it’s beautiful.
You’re not depressed, you’re distracted. Distracted from the life that fills you, from the life that surrounds you: dolphins, forests, seas, mountains, rivers.
Don’t fall for what your brother fell for, who suffers for one person when there are 5,600 millions people in the world.
Besides, living alone isn’t so bad. I have a good time deciding what I want to do every time and it’s because of solitude that I know myself, a fundamental thing for living.
Don’t fall for what your father fell for, who feels old because he’s 70 years old and forgets that Moses guided the exodus at 80 and Rubistein played Chopin like nobody else, at 90. To mention just two familiar cases.
You’re not depressed, you’re distracted because you think you lost something, which is impossible because everything has been given to you. You didn’t make a single hair in your head, so you don’t own anything.
And life doesn’t take things from you, it liberates you from them. It makes you lighter so you can fly higher, so you can reach fullness. From the cradle to the tomb it’s a school so what you call problems are really just lessons. You didn’t lose anybody, those who died have just gone ahead, because that’s where we’re all going. Besides, the best of them, their love, stays in your heart. Who could say Jesus is dead? There’s no death, there’s moving. And on the other side, wonderful people wait for you: Gandhi, Michelangelo, Whitman, St. Augustine, Mother Theresa, your grandmother and my mother, who thought poverty was closer to love because money distracts us with many things and alienates us because it makes us suspicious.
Do only what you love and you’ll be happy, and he who does what he loves is fated for success, which will arrive when it should, because what must be will be and will come naturally. Don’t do anything under obligation or compromise but for love. Then there will be fullness and everything is possible in it. And effortless because it’s the natural force of life what moves you; what lifted me up when the plane that carried my wife and daughter crashed; what kept me alive when doctors gave me only 3 or 4 months to live. God put you in charge of a human being and it’s you. You must make yourself happy and set yourself free, it is only after this that you’ll be able to share real life with the rest. Remember Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you”.
Reconcile with yourself, stand in front of a mirror and think that the creature you’re looking at is a work of God and decide right now to be happy because happiness is an acquisition.
And happiness is not a right but a duty because if you’re not happy, you’re bringing down the whole neighborhood. A single, talentless, coward man had six millions Jewish brothers killed. There are so many things to celebrate and our time on earth is so short that suffering is a waste of time. We have to celebrate the snow of the winter and the flowers of the spring, chocolate from Perusa, French baguettes, Mexican tacos, Chilean wines, the seas and rivers, Brazilian soccer, One Thousand and One Nights, The Divine Comedy, Don Quixote, Pedro Páramo, Manzanero’s boleros and Whitman’s poetry, Mäiller, Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Velásquez, Picasso and Tamayo, among other wonders.
And if you have cancer or AIDS, only two things can happen and they’re both good: If it beats you, it sets you free from that annoying body: I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m tired, I want to, I’m right, I have doubts… and if you beat it, you’ll be humbler, more grateful and therefore easily happy. Free from the enormous weight of guilt, responsibility and and vanity, willing to live each moment as profoundly as it must be lived.
You’re not depressed, you’re just not busy. Help the boy who needs you, that boy will be your son’s business partner. Help the elderly and the young ones will help you when you’re older. Besides, service is sure happiness, like enjoying nature and caring for it for those who’ll come. Give beyond measure and you’ll receive beyond measure.
Love until you become what is loved and even until you become love itself. And don’t let a few suicides and homicides confuse you, goodness is the majority but you can’t tell because it’s quiet. A bomb is louder than a stroke but for each bomb that destroys there are millions of strokes that feed life.
Very few things as beautiful as these words have been given to me, that they seem to come out not just from a kind soul but from a very human one. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do and I hope we all put them in practice. Now, let’s live and complain less, don’t you think?
- Facundo Cabral
* original title: No Estas Deprimido, Estas Distraido
This was originally posted on January 28, 2011. Lately, it’s been calling out to me. I needed it and wanted to share it again.
We’re all looking for pure bliss and resounding ecstasy. We want to drop our worries and feel alive, feel connected to the magic of this world. All too often, though, this desire results in the abuse of alcohol, drugs and other legal or illegal substances. In using or abusing these substances, the user often does more harm than good.
But alcohol and drugs are completely unnecessary and actually quite costly to both your body and your wallet. There’s another way.
It’s natural. It’s safe. It’s free. It’s legal and always available to you.
My life is changing! I´m currently in the process of experiencing a completely different way of living (again), but now in Haiti. I´m studying and practicing permaculture, which I want to share with the world. Even though the title´s about 40 years old, the principles are much, much older than that. Somebody just decided to call it something and now people living it now have a common language for it.
The film above, Freedom Ahead is about permaculture and sums up a bit about where I am in my life right now. I hope it inspires you. Please share your thoughts.
This is the seventh #notetoself letter, originally sent on March 19, 2012.
Five weeks ago, I arrived at Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua specifically to work on a permaculture farm. Nearly everything I read about this island was that it was magical. That magic wasn’t fully expounded upon, so I hoped I’d figure out for myself what it was about. As I prepare to leave tomorrow, I realize I understand the gravitational pull this island has on one’s heart and mind from my experience in Balgue. I was actually supposed to leave a few days ago, but it didn’t feel right; I didn’t see it and I didn’t feel it. So I stayed.
During what was to be my final week here, I realized how embedded others had become in this community and how much I felt like I stood on the periphery, here and in it, yet removed at the same time. I wanted to be more of a part of it. There are some incredibly dynamic people here, funny, generous, cooperative… I didn’t want to leave feeling as disconnected as I did and wanted to forge a deeper bond, despite my imminent departure.
This same week, one of the long-term volunteers discovered that she had lice. That realization led to a sort of impromptu communal lice check. One of the women who found out she also had lice never had it before, so she was a bit freaked out. Her behavior after that discovery really impacted me.