Archive for the ‘musings’ Category

Shalom   Leave a comment

Shalom

Shalom doesn’t just mean “peace”. Look it up, Google it, or Wikipedia it. Shalom means so much more than the English word “peace”. Shalom means wholeness and wellness as well. Shalom encompasses individuals, nations, and the entire universe.

Happy New Year to all.

Shalom

Posted January 1, 2012 by mayakey in centering, musings, spiritual practices

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Slowly Enjoying the Christmas Tree   Leave a comment

I love a good Christmas tree. I love everything about it. In our old house there wasn’t enough room for a full tree so this is our first Christmas tree and we’re loving it! I have to be very grateful to my husband for being willing to enjoy it slowly, though.

For the first week we left the tree completely nude, except for a cowboy-hat “topper”. The tree is in a corner where it does get a little bit of sun since the best sun-protected corner currently houses the loveseat, but that means that in the morning I got to enjoy the beauty of morning rays of sun filtering through a few evergreen branches. Simple beauty. As much I love decorated Christmas trees, I loved the opportunity to really enjoy the nude tree, too, without rushing to obscure its inherent beauty. I think that I’d like to make it a tradition that we leave our tree bare and enjoy a “Yule tree” until the week before Christmas/week of solstice, although I’m not sure Mike will be willing to do it every year.

Tonight we added the lights. Doing this slowly makes it feel like we’re dressing the tree up for a grand occasion. There’s the anticipation of putting on the ornaments, but for now we’ll enjoy just the lights. To me the lights are the most important of the decorations anyway. We’ll probably add the ornaments on the 23rd, just in time for Christmas. This slow process fits very well with my spiritual sense. A Yule tree until shortly before Yule, a lit tree around Yule when I light a candle in every room for blessing, and a decorated tree right before and throughout the Christmas holiday.

I suppose I should probably mention that we do have a natural tree, as artificial is not even an option for me. Something about soul. There’s just something so special about the transience of the natural cut tree that only can last for a short time, as opposed to an artificial tree that is unchanging and almost everlasting. It’s not an equal substitution in my mind. I do have fake branches, though, and a fake garland. I used to decorate with real branches, but they just dry out so fast that I switched to artificial since there was no benefit at all to the real ones except from the resource use standpoint. The real branches were the the bottom trimmings from a Christmas tree lot, so it wasn’t using a “new” resource. The artificial ones are plastic, so made from a non-renewable resource and possibly some toxic chemicals.

Posted December 16, 2011 by mayakey in musings, spiritual practices

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Shame on Whole Foods For Selling “Natural” Turkeys   1 comment

Ordering a turkey for Thanksgiving is an interesting process. The choices! I mean, really, it’s just a turkey! But one of my greenwashing pet peeves is being highlighted all over the place, and that is the use of the word “natural”. The Whole Foods holiday catalogue listed “natural” turkeys, organic turkeys, and “heirloom” turkeys. I confess that I don’t know enough about turkeys to know if heirloom actually means anything. But I’m well aware that natural is a meaningless term. What’s an unnatural turkey? Other than tofurkey, anyway. All it is is marketing, greenwashing. It is tricky, too, since when in a hurry a natural turkey sounds like a good choice. I almost got caught, even, until I paused for a moment to ask why there were so many options and realized that it boiled down to organic and not-organic. Unfortunately, we actually have one of those not-organic “natural” turkeys, but that’s because they don’t have pre-brined organic turkeys.

This is one of my pet peeves because I find deceptive advertising to be a horrible practice. The only reason to say that it is a “natural” turkey rather than just a turkey is to make people think they’re getting something healthier. But since it’s not a regulated term, natural can mean fed ground up cows and injected with some fancy saline solution (just as an example, I know nothing about raising turkeys).

Posted November 24, 2011 by mayakey in food, musings, shopping, Uncategorized

Marketing In Social Media/Blogosphere   Leave a comment

This is something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately for some reason. Generally speaking, I ignore advertisements. In fact, I’m a perverse person who is more likely to avoid a product that I have seen advertised on TV than go out and buy it. This started early, with my subscription to Consumer Reports for Kids back when I was a kid. One of the major foci of the magazine was teaching kids to be critical observers of ads, and not snookered by every slick saying. I took the lesson to heart. Plus I seem to remember my parents discouraging logo t-shirts as just free advertising for a company. So something has to be really important to me before I’m willing to tout a shirt/bag/whatever with a logo. Looking in my closet and drawers I see logos for my alma mater, the University of Michigan, and that’s it. (Although some of them have small sponsorship logos on them). As of last week, however, there’s a new one. Calvert has started a new campaign called the “Too Big To Fail” campaign, and I was immediately captivated. So I was willing to take a photo, have it uploaded to Facebook with me tagged, and liked Calvert on Facebook for the t-shirt saying “Too Big To Fail” under a giant graphic of the earth.

This makes Calvert only the second company to make it into my “interests” on Facebook. Now I’m not sure what I want to do about it. I do like Calvert, which is a good thing since my IRA is with them and we plan to open a Washington DC 529 plan since that’s the one they manage. Social investing is really important to me. But am I willing to be free advertising for them? Not sure. On my website I have a short list of online retailers that I like. I put it there because I used to get asked a lot where I go to buy organic clothing, etc. I had forgotten about the list but now I think I’m going to take it down because, again, I’m not sure I’m willing to be free advertising for them.

On the other hand, is it really a compromise of my values to promote companies that align with my values? I can walk around in jeans all day every day without anyone realizing that they are organic cotton and entirely made-in-America, so just buying the jeans doesn’t help expand the LOHAS market base much. But, adding a third hand here, promoting a company doesn’t necessarily improve awareness of an issue, which in the  case of the jeans would be intense pesticide use on cotton and sweatshop labor. That’s theoretically what this blog is for (among the hundreds of similar blogs out there).

All this just to decide if I should “like” the companies that I purchase from on Facebook. I think I think too much! What do you think? 🙂

Posted November 18, 2011 by mayakey in conscious living, money, musings, shopping

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Why Do We Not Respect Our Limits?   Leave a comment

This past weekend was the San Francisco Green Festival again. As usual, a good time was had listening to speakers and making some super-discounted (and desperately needed) clothing purchases. I got free worm castings and feel somewhat more confident about the project to turn the plastic drums in the backyard into rain barrels. The day was significantly marred, however, on the drive home when I pushed myself beyond my limits for too long. We left a few minutes later than planned, and encountered an accident that created a long backup, so in order to get back to Sacramento in time for my sister-in-law to watch most of the Sacramento State football game I had to really make up time. As a result, for over two hours I made myself drive faster than I was comfortable driving on the busy freeway at night. Why? I don’t really know. Getting back home quickly was definitely not necessary, and she wasn’t pressuring me. Let me be clear, while my speed was higher than I was comfortable with at the time, it was slower than I sometimes drive during the daytime and I was moving with the flow of traffic, so it’s not an issue of unsafe driving. It’s a question of why not respect my limits and instead push my mind and body to a tension breaking point for no good reason. All it took was a silly trigger just before I reached home to cause me to completely loose it: screaming, crying, shaking, and not being able to take a real breathe. I was a complete wreck. And for what?

This extreme was a new experience for me, but it’s not the first time in my life that I have not respected my limits. You’d think I’d learn since the results are never good. But I’d also guess that I’m not alone in this affliction. Again I ask myself, why do I not respect my limits? It is the exact opposite of the conscious life that I strive for. Why not listen to my body, mind, heart, and intuition in situations like this? I haven’t yet answered my question.

Posted November 14, 2011 by mayakey in conscious living, musings

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Spirituality in the Secular Halloween   Leave a comment

I don’t know about you, but Halloween just may be near the top of the list of my favorite holidays. It’s just so much fun! This year, for various reasons, I’m being a little bit more contemplative about the holiday, though, and I’ve realized that even the secular Halloween that we celebrate is a spiritual celebration. Yes, I know that there is a religious connection in All Souls Day and All Saints Day, but let’s face it, we are talking about the dress-up-in-costume, carve-a-pumpkin, get/give/eat-candy minor secular holiday. (Although for the candy industry I’m sure this is not a “minor” holiday.) Our customs at and around Halloween-time are celebrations of community, creativity, sharing, connection with nature, and life/death. Sounds spiritual to me.

Especially in modern western society, how often is it not just acceptable, but encouraged, to go up to the doorsteps of friends and strangers where you are greeted with a smile and not a scowl or deadpan face? In the practice of trick-or-treating we do just that. We may not know our neighbors well anymore, but in this open celebration of community sharing, we can still connect on some level. Not only are our doors opened to trick-or-treaters, but we give out candy and other treats. I hate to say it, but modern western society is really bad at sharing and giving, except for when it comes to treats on Halloween. Also, while trick-or-treating or handing out candy, we actually notice each other, even if it is just to marvel at a particularly cute/scary/creative costume, or acknowledge with a smile or head tilt that we are engaging in a common activity. On any given day, we don’t notice each other. Our eyes slide over the people around us without a second thought. Or we people watch but without interaction, without the acknowledgement of what we have in common.

Not only do we connect with each other on this one night, but many seasonal/Halloween activities connect us with nature to some degree as well. We carve pumpkins, bob for apples, wander through corn mazes, decorate with corn stalks and gourds, and put (fake) cobwebs UP instead of cursing the real ones. Even as disconnected as we are from the cycles of nature and harvest, we retain these traditions. Hey, it’s better than nothing. Halloween also involves a lot of creativity, whether it be in creating a costume, putting up decorations, or carving a pumpkin. These are really life-affirming activities. I think that is probably part of the reason that there are so many of us who just love this holiday and think it is so much fun (even if musings like this don’t usually enter the mind)!

Posted October 28, 2011 by mayakey in musings, spiritual practices

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Weather, We’re Just Along For The Ride   Leave a comment

I know a lot of people complain about “weather”, when it’s extreme, or quickly changing, or just not suiting the mood. Two weeks ago it was 100 degrees here in my part of Sacramento, and now it’s pouring down rain and in the 60’s. That tells me that it is indeed fall, and that it’s time to get ready for the wild ride of fall (similar to the wild ride of spring). It’s a waste of energy to be upset about weather, in my opinion. I’d much rather revel in each day and accept the blessings of sun, or shine, or heat, or cold. (Confession: I have a hard time enjoying wind.) But then again, I’m the crazy person who does not want sunny and 70’s all the time but that was in seventh heaven spending winters in Michigan and summers in New Mexico. Hot weather is my favorite, but I love crisp winter days and nights and the sound of rain falling. Does anyone else love weather of (almost) all kinds?

Posted October 5, 2011 by mayakey in musings

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