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Maybe You’re Right . . . April 23, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, People, Spirit & Ego.

My reality is my reality.  Your reality may be different.

Our opinions are just that . . . opinions. Mere pulses of energy.  Nothing more.

In the words of John Lennon, they’re “nothing to get hung about.”

What works perfectly for me may not work for you.  Sometimes we will agree.  Other times, we will not.

On the spiritual path, the open exchange of ideas tends to expand horizons and break down imaginary walls as long as our ideas are offered in a spirit of cooperation, rather than from Ego’s need to “be right.”

When we share what we’ve learned out of “generosity of spirit,” the process encourages us:

* to observe the world around (and within) us less judgmentally

* to think (as independently as possible) about issues that matter to us

* to make conscious decisions for ourselves about how best to live our lives in order to become more fully who we desire to be

As we train ourselves to look within for answers, clarity and peace of mind begin to surface with increasing frequency.

If others disagree with us, we see that we don’t need to argue about who is “right” and who is “wrong.”

We can choose to “let it go.”

When Ego jumps at the chance to debate minutiae, rather than exploring areas of agreement, that decision rarely arises from a spirit of cooperation.

If we look to Ego for guidance, we often waste time and energy competing for bragging rights.  We get caught up in the “debating game” ~ wanting to debate, argue, and/or shoot the messenger every time a message, no matter how mild, clashes with our “way of thinking.”

In my experience, arguing about divergent opinions (solely to satisfy Ego’s desire to compete) is not a good use of our limited time on this planet.

Rushing to defend our “point of view” every time someone says something that doesn’t fit into our current wardrobe of thoughts, beliefs, judgments, and opinions rarely adds to our spiritual happiness in life.

Since I’m writing Spirit Lights The Way to increase happiness, both yours and mine, I’m going to do my best to disengage anytime Ego puffs out its chest and challenges me to “defend my point of view.”

I’m happy to clarify my thoughts if something isn’t clear.

I’m delighted when someone says, “That’s interesting.  I’ve had just the opposite experience” ~ especially if they offer to share their observations.

But if Ego urges me to jump into the ring to defend my point of view due solely to its desire to “be right,” I’m going to resist pulling on the gloves to fight . . . and strive to leave the arena in peace.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote:  Maybe you’re right.  And maybe you’re wrong.  But I ain’t gonna argue with you no more, I’ve done it for too long. ~ Cat Stevens

Related Posts:   Way of the Peaceful Warrior * Spiritual MilestonesLife Is Not One-Size-Fits-All * Simplify Your Life * But I Might Die TonightLive Your Life *  Let It Out . . . Then Let It Go * Let it Out, and Let it Go *

Tiny Green Thumbs Workshop April 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Nature, People, Sustainable Living.
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This morning, to celebrate Earth Day, Bill and I biked 3.5 miles through Robinson Preserve to Geraldson Community Farm ~ our local CSA.

As we rode, I greeted the bikers, walkers, joggers and kayakers we passed with a chipper, “Happy Earth Day!”

A handful of recipients broke into friendly smiles at the greeting, faces displaying recognition of the day’s significance before they reciprocated in kind.

Most, however,  just looked confused . . .

Huh????  What???  Earth Day???

Despite the overall lack of enthusiasm for Earth Day 2010, we enjoyed the ride through the preserve, traveling at a leisurely speed of 9 miles per hour, until we reached the farm, where we parted ways.

Bill continued his Earth Day travels to De Soto National Memorial.

I stayed to join Tony (7) and Jackie (3) Rappold, part-year residents of Anna Maria Island, as they harvested “the fruits of their labor” during the Tiny Green Thumbs Workshop.

What a wonderful way to spend Earth Day!

Having attended a previous Green Thumbs workshop at the farm (when they fertilized vegetables), Tony and Jackie spent today reaping the “seeds” they sowed earlier this year.


They learned about growing conditions in Florida, tap roots, organic material, seed pods, fibrous roots, friendly weeds, and the microscopic life of soil.

Jackie and Tony harvested fresh vegetables and flowers:

Radishes,  Carrots,  Onions,

Gentry Squash, Zucchini,

Mustard Greens, Sunflowers . . .

And a wayward Broccoli plant.

Last visit, Tony and Jackie brought a souvenir home ~ a caterpillar which wasted no time before devouring the parsley patch in their backyard.

The caterpillar paid them back by emerging from its cocoon as a beautiful Swallow Tail Butterfly.

Will Tony and Jackie become the next generation of organic farmers?

Maybe, maybe not.

But spending Earth Day 2010 at Geraldson Community Farm gave them (and me!)  a chance to witness a few of Mother Nature’s miracles first hand.

Thanks for the tour, William!

Discovering Your Secret Identity April 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.

Our unique talents, skills, and abilities are clues to our “secret identity” ~ if we follow the clues, like breadcrumbs, we may discovery our vocation, calling,  or purpose somewhere along the way. 

Or we may not.  

As you may already suspect, having aptitude for something is not always enough.  Our purpose should fill us with passion ~ adding to, not detracting from, our enthusiasm for life.  That requires that we factor into the equation the totality of our likes and dislikes. 

Let’s take a few easy examples first:   

* Someone who is born to be a mechanic will love being under the hood of a car or plane.  Someone who hates getting their fingernails dirty was not born to be a mechanic. 

* Someone who is born to be a hair stylist will enjoy playing with hair and helping others look their best.  Someone who hates touching people’s hair was not born to be a hair stylist. 

* Someone who is born to be a bartender will love the excitement of being in bars late at night, conversing with customers, and handing out free advice while whipping up exotic drinks.  Someone who hates being out after dark, and dislikes cocktail party chatter, was not born to be a bartender. 

Now, let’s take a slightly longer range example:

J.D. comes from a long line of lawyers who steered him toward law as the appropriate choice of career. 

Based on J.D.’s  familial background and accumulated legal acumen (picked up from conversations around the dinner table), he aced the LSAT’s and got into the law school of his choice.  Once there, however, J.D. realizes that he dislikes everything about law school . . . with a passion. 

Instead of blindly moving forward with his decision to pursue a career in law, J.D. might want to consider taking a different career path.  If he doesn’t like law school, chances are he won’t like being a lawyer any better.  

Same goes for M.D.’s decision to go to medical school ~ and for Ph.D.’s decision to get a doctorate. 

When the stepping stones to a career require years of specialized training, career candidates should ask themselves, “Is this how I want to spend my limited time on this planet?” 

If not, they should think about shifting their career path to something more suited to their unique personality, traits, skills and abilities.

This does not mean that we should abandon a rigorous two-week training program for a job we expect to enjoy for many years.  Most people can safely gamble with two or three weeks of their life. 

But trading years of our lives, to train for something that we don’t really want to do, makes little sense. 

Time is our most valuable and irreplaceable commodity ~ a bank account which mandates daily withdrawals, prohibits deposits, and pays dividends when we spend it wisely.  Training for a profession that doesn’t interest us, or accepting a job that is not in line with our core values, is not a good use of our limited time on this planet.

Related Posts: Discovering Right Livelihood * Do What You Will Stop Playing “Follow The Leader” * Life Is Not One-Size-Fits-All * Simplify Your Life * Way of the Peaceful Warrior * Live Your Life  * But I Might Die Tonight

Greening the Job Market April 22, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Sustainable Living.
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220px-TaleofPeterRabbit8The expanding efforts of the federal government and the private sector to save energy costs and green the economy should result in a sizable increase in jobs focused on clean green technology between now and 2030.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated about $42 billion for energy programs aimed at energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The programs include:

* $11 billion for smart-grid research and development
* $6.3 billion for energy efficiency and conservation grants
* $6 billion for loan guarantees for electricity generation and renewable projects such as wind and solar power
* $5 billion for weatherization assistance for low-income residents
* $4.5 billion for making federal buildings more energy-efficient
* $3.4 billion for research and development of carbon storage and “clean” coal
* $2.5 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy research
* $2 billion in grant funding for advanced batteries systems
* $1 billion for other energy efficiency programs, such as alternative-fuel trucks and buses and smart appliances

This step in the right direction for the country and the planet might also translate into a Green Job for you!

Expected to be among the hottest job fields are electrical contracting; mechanical, chemical, environmental and civil engineering; welding; installation of solar, wind and geothermal energy systems; energy analysis; and accounting and auditing.

Unless you are already trained or educated in an area favored by the Green Deal, you may need some retraining to tap into these opportunities.

For more:  Could the “Green Deal” Mean a Job for You?  by John F. Wasik (author of The Audacity of Help: Obama’s Economic Plan and the Remaking of America).

Other Resources:  Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference * Investing in Green Energy * Getting a Green Job * www.greendreamjobs.com * www.greenjobs.net * jobs.cleanedge.com * jobs.greenbiz.com * jobs.grist.org * www.renewableenergyjobs.com * jobs.treehugger.com.

Web sites like www.idealist.org are also full of nonprofit jobs that support sustainability and social justice.

Happy Earth Day 2010!

Health Benefits From Greening Your Life April 21, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Sustainable Living.
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When you choose to “go green,” you not only benefit the planet . . . you often reap immediate health benefits for yourself!

How’s that for having your cake and eating it too?

If you want to boost your health (and your looks) while saving the planet, check out Prevention’s article:

13 (Sort of) Selfish Ways to Go Green

Among the tips:  take shorter showers * carpool * telecommute * cut TV time * eat organic * walk or bike to “run” errands * savor meat-less Mondays

Aah . . . that’s better!

Discovering Right Livelihood April 21, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, People.

Unless and until The Zeitgeist Movement becomes reality, most of us will need to have a job, career, profession, or occupation to provide ourselves with the necessities of life ~ food, clothing, and shelter.

And the occasional cup of Starbucks Coffee.  

Happiness in life is enhanced when how we spend our days adds to, rather than detracts from, the overall quality of our life ~ when our livelihood complements our personality, rather than clashing with it.

Discovering right livelihood is like shopping for a custom-tailored suit . . . we need to be guided primarily by who we are and what we want at this stage in our life.

When we shop for clothes, we don’t consider what would have been a good fit six years ago, or what will look good on us six years from now. 

Instead, based on what’s available, we choose the best fit for us right now. 

We’re investing enough that we want it to be able to wear the suit for the immediate future, but we don’t expect to have it in our wardrobe forever. 

Discovering right livelihood requires the same type of evaluation ~ a focus on who we are right now, not on who we expect to be at some indefinite time in the future.  

Just as we wouldn’t reject a perfectly tailored suit (currently available in our price range) due to concern that it might not fit us down the road, we shouldn’t obsess unduly about whether the best job for us today will fit us perfectly tomorrow. 

If it works now, it works.  If we’re happy now, we’re happy.  

Right livelihood flows from how we feel when we “look in the mirror” ~ not from what our friends and family want us to be, do, say, or wear.  

Someone who hates the color yellow would feel like a canary wearing a bright  yellow suit ~ even if the suit was perfectly tailored in all other respects and . . . his parents and/or friends loved how it looked on him.  

If we want to maximize our happiness, we must consciously decide how we want to spend our days, our nights, and our fashion dollars.  When we focus on what we enjoy doing and what we want out of life, we increase the odds of finding a job that is a “good fit” for us.

No rules.  Just write!

Resources:  Right Livelihood ~ The Ethics of Earning a Living * Wikipedia ~ Noble Eightfold Path

Related Posts:  Caveat Emptor * Stop Playing “Follow The Leader” * Life Is Not One-Size-Fits-All * Do What You Will * Simplify Your Life * Way of the Peaceful Warrior * Live Your Life  * But I Might Die Tonight

Pure Awareness –> Spiritual Bliss April 20, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Meditation, Mindfulness.

Wikipedia ~ Pinocchio (in Public Domain)

Ego desires control, seeks approval, and judges everything.

Spirit accepts everything and judges nothing.

Given this dichotomy, it’s no surprise that we are happier when we learn to look at life through the eyes of Spirit, rather than the clouded lens of Ego.

Meditation helps us tune in to Spirit. . . and drown out Ego.

During meditation, the need to control, the need for approval, and the need to judge fade away.

Once we have silenced Ego’s judgmental chatter, we find ourselves in a state of pure awareness . . .  swimming in a sea of bliss.

Related posts:  Meditation 101


Earth Day 2010 April 20, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Nature, Sustainable Living.

On April 22nd, step outside, breathe deep, and “have another hit . . . of fresh air!

. . . no charge.

Thursday, April 22nd
Any time, day or night
Any place on the planet

This special Earth Day 2010 event is taking place at locations all around the world.

Ask your local flowers and trees for details.



Do What You Will April 19, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Spirit & Ego.
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Even if we aren’t planning to ride a silver broomstick anytime soon, this song is designed to remind us to be who we really are . . . so that we can more fully enjoy all that life has to offer:

You are unique, there’s no one else like you
Recognize that individuality in everything you do
What you need to be happy is for you alone to decide
No one else has sufficient perspective on how you feel inside
~ How do you feel inside?

Do what you will, act as you please
But do no harm . . . so mote it be

Pursue all of your dreams with determination
Exercise your autonomy to achieve your aspirations
Don’t work solely for material possessions
Instead seek the insights gained from spiritual lessons
~ Life is not about possessions

Do what you will, act as you please
But do no harm . . . so mote it be

Celebrate your unity with others, feel the connection
But don’t let that unity change your life’s direction
Allow unraveled edges to bind together
While allowing your freedom to blossom and feather
~ Watch it blossom and feather

Do what you will, act as you please
But do no harm . . . so mote it be

Live each day as if it were going to be your last
Don’t have regrets when you consider your past
Be the who you really are, the who you want to be
Enjoy all life has to offer, strive to be happy
~ Strive to be happy

Do what you will, act as you please
But do no harm . . . so mote it be!

Finding Our Place In The World ~ Part 3 April 19, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, People.

Continued from Finding Our Place In The World ~ Part 2

* * * * *

Our young man continues to evolve.  He still argues, and competes with others, but he also learns to cooperate and lend a helping hand.  He learns that he no longer feels good about getting the biggest piece of the pie, if others around him are hungry. 

He sees that offering something to the world is usually the best way to get what he really craves . . . inner peace and lasting happiness. 

He awakens to the realization that the happier he becomes in his own life, the more he wants to help others achieve lasting happiness in their lives.  This growing compassion allows him to see and appreciate the suffering in others, and creates in him the desire to help them eliminate unnecessary suffering.  

His pursuit of happiness leads to generosity of spirit ~ but he learns to be generous with the parts of himself that he most wants to share.  

He realizes that time passes quickly and that every moment is precious.  He reflects on what is of value to him, and sets his priorities accordingly ~ and he encourages others to do the same.

At night, lying awake in bed, he looks back over the rapidly passing days,  weeks, months, and years, to see if he is headed in the right direction, or whether a course correction is required.  In the late night quiet, as he reflects on who he is, he drifts off to sleep with a smile ~ he has, indeed, found his place in the world.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  ~ The Dalai Lama

As a child, our young woman desperately wanted to belong and be accepted by others.  To accomplish that objective, she wore masks to disguise her true essence from the world. 

As the years pass, she grows in self-acceptance, and eventually decides that she is no longer willing to hide her essence from the world.  She would rather be rejected for being herself, than accepted for engaging in a game of charades.  

One by one, she discards her masks and abandons her faux personas ~ the roles she had played to gain acceptance from others.  On a quiet night, after discarding the last of her masks, she drifts off to sleep with a smile on her face ~ thinking, “Who I am is who I want to be.” 

She has, at last, found her place in the world. 

May we all do the same.

Nature does not ask, “what do they want me to be?”  It’s glory lies in its authenticity.