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Divine Inspiration April 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, People.
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170px-Chartres2006_076Since moving here, we have been strongly encouraged to join a local church ~ usually by someone we’ve just met.

Within minutes of meeting us, a new acquaintance (often no more than a stranger on the street) will launch into a recruiting spiel designed to get our bodies into church on Sunday mornings:

“Oh, you’re new!  Have you joined a church yet?”

Shaking my head side to side to discourage this line of questioning, I reply with a simple, “No.”

Notice that my rather definitive statement stands alone ~ it does not include any follow-up questions or comments designed to signal that I am interested in pursuing a discussion on the subject of religion.

Ignoring my perfunctory reply, and without asking anything further about our religious and spiritual backgrounds, these church enthusiasts move forward with their sidewalk evangelism:

“You would absolutely love our church!”

OMG!  Really?  How did you reach that conclusion so quickly ~ divine intervention?  You know absolutely NOTHING about us.  You have asked us nothing, nada, zilch about our current beliefs on religion.  For all you know, we would be decidedly uncomfortable around your congregation.

Ignoring my raised eyebrows, and urged on by what they, at least, believe to be divine inspiration, they proceed in their well-meaning, albeit misguided, efforts to seal the deal:

Why don’t you join us this Sunday!”

Struck by the feeling of déjà vu, having had this exact same conversation no less than a dozen times in my adult life, I can no longer resist the temptation to share my own divine inspiration:

“No, thank you.  We’re heathens.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Doubt April 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Meditation, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.
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Many of our doubts (in life and in writing) come from being afraid of being ridiculed by others.  

Our ego tries to play it safe by conforming to the expectations of others ~ saying what “they” want us to say, instead of saying what we actually feel.

We are socialized and conditioned to bend the truth to suit our listener’s deaf ears:  Bending the Rules . . . And the Truth.

Of course, when we are young, we often need to “go along to get along.”  But as adults, if we want to develop lasting happiness, we need to give ourselves the freedom to be exactly who we want to be, and to say exactly what we want to say.  

Independent thinking is not easy, but it’s worth it:  Be Authentic.

It took me a long time to be able to shrug off the  expectations of others in order to follow my own road. Even now, some days, I wonder whether I would be happier trying to be more like “they” want me to be. 

Then I come across something like the piece on Billie Holiday (posted as What Is In You . . . Let It Out!) and I am reminded anew that there is a very high price to pay whenever we do not follow our own dreams.

So, what should we do when the doubts creep in? 

Do what The Buddha did . . . meditate.  

As soon as we stop thinking all the negative counter-productive thoughts and focus on our breath, our smiles emerge, and our calm peaceful center returns.

Quote:  Breathe.  Just Breathe.  ~ Anna Nalick

Related Posts:  Stop Playing “Follow The Leader” * Life Is Not One-Size-Fits-All * Simplify Your Life * But I Might Die Tonight  *  Way of the Peaceful Warrior * Live Your Life  * Attack of the Killer ANTS

No Impact Man: The Documentary April 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Sustainable Living.
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170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_02A month or so ago, we watched No Impact Man, a documentary about a family in New York City who wanted to reduce its carbon footprint to zero, and have no net impact on the Earth for a period of twelve months.

Rather than picking and choosing what they “could” do without . . . they decided to do without “everything.”

During the year-long experiment, No Impact Man and his somewhat-skeptical wife, along with their still-in-diapers daughter, focused on implementing into their daily lives that well-known mantra:

Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle.

Among other things, they:

* imposed a moratorium on shopping (but not until after the wife bought one last pair of $1000 boots!)

* turned their backs on motorized transportation, and maneuvered around the city on bikes, scooters, and their own two feet

* ate only locally grown food which they purchased at a nearby farmer’s market

* turned off the electricity in the apartment, using candles for illumination, a cooler for refrigeration, and solar panels on the roof to power a laptop (for e-mails and to write a daily blog recording their progress)

* gave away their television set and entertained themselves by playing games with their daughter and friends in the evenings

* switched from disposable diapers to cloth diapers, to the absolute delight of their 18 month old daughter

* traded chemical cleaners for natural cleaners (vinegar, baking soda, Borax)

* stopped eating at restaurants, and cooked all meals at home on their gas stove

* stopped using disposable products ~ no paper napkins, no take out containers, no paper towels, no plastic bags, no plastic water bottles, no disposable razors, and . . . no toilet paper (eww!!!!)

* composted all food scraps in a bin full of worms in the living room

* vacationed on a local farm to get back to nature

* volunteered in a city garden, growing organic food

* spoke on several television and radio programs, including interviews by Diane Sawyer and Steve Colbert

* stopped using elevators, and instead climbed stairs, even if they were visiting offices on the 24th floor

* washed their clothes in cold water, in the bathtub, with Borax ~ using their bare feet to agitate the water

Many people interviewed in the film thought they had taken things a bit too far.  While I applaud their efforts, I tend to agree.

For example, there is no way that I am voluntarily giving up toilet paper, or refrigeration, in my quest to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Of course, our unwillingness to adopt ALL these changes should not stop us from making at least a few SMALL changes in our daily lives to move in the direction of lessening our carbon footprints ~ reducing where we can, reusing whenever possible, and recycling everything else.

I found several other aspects of  No Impact Man thought-provoking.

Stay Tuned!