Dear Saturday Busy Bees, 

Happy saturday everyone!

Saturday, a good day to go a little easier on yourself, downshift from the week, and take some breaks. We all need to replenish and rejuvenate from time to time. I’ve noticed that many of us are forgoing those times of replenishment though and plowing through the weekend with our long to-do lists.

Whether you’re a staunch weekend relaxer or a Saturday busy bee, there’s many ways to take a break AND feed your soul. Finding “you time” doesn’t mean channel surfing all day on the couch. You can make space for yourself in the 5-minute car ride to the grocery store or the 1-minute pause while you wait for the coffee to finish brewing. Sure, it may not be the same as a spa day in the mountains, but rejuvenation can happen moment by moment no matter where you are.  Here are some ways to take a break and stay connected.

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Enjoy your fabulous weekend!

Simone

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The Original Mother’s Day

I wrote this post a few years ago and it is still one of my favorites. Happy Mother’s Day to all women who embrace the peace-making power of their womanhood!

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Something amazing and inspiring was brought to my attention yesterday. I wanted to write about it today though to remind myself that Mother’s Day started out not just as a day for flowers and kissy face emoticons but as a response to war…a call to protest and proclamation. I didn’t know that! It’s troubling to me that Mother’s Day has been diminuated until all that remains is the sentimentality and a big hug for mom. We have lost touch with the roots of this celebration. Today there is a dialogue regarding the “war on women,” there is controversy surrounding contraception, there remains blatant wage inequality as well as the insidious ideological gender inequalities that reverberate in everyday conversations, and there is ongoing use of sexual malfeasances (to put it gently) that are still being used internationally as wartime strategies. I think now is a perfect age to restore some of the original tenants of Mother’s Day…

In 1870 Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation to call for the gathering of women together “without limit of nationality” in order to seek counsel from one another regarding the loss of sons and husbands in wars and to proclaim that, “From the bosum of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: ‘Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.'”

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As well-intentioned as we all are on Mother’s Day, our Hallmark-frenzied tradition in America is a far paler expression of honor than was conceptualized by the foremothers of this holiday. I would like to see my mother, grandmothers, step-mothers, sister, cousins, friends, and aunts and alllll the other wise women out there to all get something different for Mother’s Day next year. For Mother’s Day 2013, I want them to “leave all that may be left at home,” come together to counsel with one another about human rights, war, family, and future of this this country and this world.

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Then once they’ve come to an agreement about “the promotion of the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, and the great and general interests of peace” I want the rest of the world to sit and listen with the attentive ears of an child which, after all, we all are. I don’t know… for some reason I feel like this “congress of women” might be more productive than the one we have now. You?

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Here is the inspirational full story (borrowed from a reading I heard on Sunday) including Ms. Howe’s proclamation:

The first person to fight for an official Mother’s Day celebration in the United States was Julia Ward Howe. You may be more familiar with her name as the writer who wrote the words to the Civil War song, The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Howe was born in New York City on May 27, 1819. Her family was well respected and wealthy. She was a published poet and abolitionist. She and her husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, co-published the anti-slavery newspaper The Commonwealth. She was active in the peace movement and the women’s suffrage movement. In 1870 she penned the Mother’s Day Proclamation. In 1872 the Mothers’ Peace Day Observance on the second Sunday in June was held and the meetings continued for several years. Her idea was widely accepted, but she was never able to get the day recognized as an official holiday. The Mothers’ Peace Day was the beginning of the Mothers’ Day holiday in the United States now celebrated in May.

The modern commercialized celebration of gifts, flowers and candy bears little resemblance to Howe’s original idea. Here is the Proclamation that explains, in her own powerful words, the goals of the original Mother’s Day in the United States…

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosum of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

11 images that capture the incredible vastness of space

I couldn’t stop looking at these!

I think this might give me the hope I was asking for after this morning’s post about the California drought.

Sometimes we just need a little perspective, am I right?

With galactic love,
~~~S Wave~~~

FIGHT BOREDOM, SPREAD HAPPINESS

1) The sun is incomprehensibly huge

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We all know the sun is big. But this image, part of a great series on the size of astronomical objects by John Brady, underscores that it’s vast on a scale that’s simply impossible for our puny human minds to understand. We think of the Earth as a big place: flying around the equator on a 747 at top speed would take about 42 hours. Flying around the sun at the same speed, by contrast, would take about six months.

2) Even the moon is really far away

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Compared with the overall vastness of space, the moon is very close to us: it’s just 238,900 or so miles away. But compared with our daily experience, absolutely everything in space is absurdly far apart. In the gap between us and the moon, you could neatly slide in all seven of the other planets —…

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Weekend To-Do (Good) List: California Drought

Hi all. Welcome to your weekend. As you might know, I’ve been digging the themes for our To-Do (Good) lists recently. Today I present a list dedicated to….(drumroll!!!!)….the California drought!

That’s right. Those of us in California are officially in the middle of one of the worst droughts on record. In response, and for the first time ever, California is under mandatory water restriction, enacted by Brown and aimed to reduce the state’s water usage by 25%. The way the mandates will work is that different cities are assigned different reduction requirements. For example, Beverly Hills must reduce their usage by 35% while Compton has to reduce theirs by 10%. This is all based on a city’s per capita usage.

I’ve liked Jerry Brown for the most part since he became governor, but dear readers, I am frustrated. It seems like he is missing a huge opportunity right now. In fact, no, I don’t think it’s an opportunity…I think it is an obligation that he is missing. This whole plan is not equitable, it is not sustainable, and it is cowardly.

It begins here. The group that uses 80% of our water is big agriculture and they are EXEMPT from the mandates. Exempt!! I’m not talking about the little family farms, which, by the way, are under the same water mandates as other citizens according to their cities and are going to suffer for it. No, I’m talking about the big farms. These “farms:”

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

How can this exemption possibly be justified? How could turning off your sprinkler possibly be the best way to tackle the behemoth of climate change that is giving California a front-row show right now all while letting the user of 80% of the water go on with business as usual? You need 7.7 cubic meters of water to produce 1 pound of beef. That’s equivalent to around 77 baths. Any 5-year-old could tell you this just doesn’t make sense.

Plus, it is no secret to anyone paying attention that these types of facilities, CAFO’s, 1) are detrimental to the environment and our indigenous ecosystems, 2) are producing meat and dairy that is full of antibiotics, at-risk for contamination and processed through unnatural, inhumane methods, and 3) are ultimately unsustainable.

Haven’t scientists been telling us for years that restoration agriculture, sustainable food practices, and local economies are CRITICAL for the survival of our Earth? California is facing a new future of extreme weather not in abstractions but right now, today. I would hope that we would have bravery enough to realize that big changes have to take place in our way of living as a society, not just as single households. The impact isn’t going to made by the Jones’ decision to let yellow mellow. It’s going to come from severely cutting down our use of resources for these types of agricultures. It’s going to come from committing to a return to natural biogeographies. It’s going to come from listening to the science and economics condoning locally-sourced, vegetable-rich diets.

I don’t know all the complexities of this argument and I’m not claiming to. I am quite confident though that there are significant shifts in lifestyle that we are all going to have to adopt to keep this planet. And I believe that Brown has an obligation to not just slap a bandaid on this drought but to begin the stitching of the wound. He has a chance to sound an alarm and lead in a new way and instead I feel like it’s politics as usual. And why wouldn’t it be? The little guy suffers, the big business wins. Who will be the first to get their water shut off?–the already disenfranchised, of course. The head is in the sand.

We cannot use land and resource like this:

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

and try to live like this:

Beverly Hills Mansion

Beverly Hills Mansion

and still hold onto this:

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Our only home

And so, without further ado and with more than a slight sense of defeat as I step off my soapbox, there is just one item on your Weekend To-Do (Good) List. It is this:

Cut your shower time in half and safe the world.

No really. It’s going to work.

~~~S Wave~~~

p.s. If you want a second assignment, it is to remind me why things are still, always hopeful. I know why, but sometimes it’s good to hear it from the lips of others. *sigh* ❤

Weekend To-Do (Good) List

Is it Friday already??

Here you go everyone, your to-do list with a twist. The weekend is more than mowing the lawn, taking the kids to soccer, catching up on your stored shows, etc etc. Let’s not just do our weekend like we normally do. Let’s inject a good dose of GOOD into the world. I’m making it easier for you by giving you these few leads. I’m sure some of you are doing good in ways that I can’t even imagine. Please…inspire us! Share your good actions so we can join you and get something done!

This week, I’m offering one item for each of three areas of connection that I write about : animal connection, inner connection, and ecoconnection. Enjoy!

~~~S Wave~~~

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1. Animal Connection: The Pata Zoo According to Mindful Wanderer

There is a couple I’ve been following lately. No, I don’t mean I’m stalking them around Los Angeles. I’m following them on Facebook and Instagram of course. Their names are Giselle and Cody and seem like pretty neat people to know. Their blog is called Mindful Wanderlust. They write about vegan lifestyle, animal rights, ecotravel, LGBT issues, tattoos and many other things. Just look at how fun they are:

Giselle and Cody of Mindful Wanderlust

Giselle and Cody of Mindful Wanderlust

Anyway, I digress.

Recently, Giselle and Cody were traveling in Bangkok,Thailand where they encountered the Pata Zoo. They visited this place to find out how animals were being treated at a small zoo in the Pata department store, a “decrepit building in the middle of a local area of busy Bangkok.”

Inside they documented images of isolated, neglected, understimulated, and abused (yes, restriction of any semblance of natural behaviors/stimulation is abuse) animals, including an isolated gorilla, an orangutan and her infant, and a penguin who lives all by himself and hides in his shelter almost all day. The pictures they shared on their blog are tragic (though, not graphic for any of you who worry about that.)  Click on this picture of Bua Noi to view the full story:

Bua Noi, the lone gorilla at the Pata Zoo. Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Bua Noi, the lone gorilla at the Pata Zoo.
Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Giselle and Cody were enraged and heartbroken for these animals which they rightly called “prisoners.” Giselle and Cody are used to putting their sense of injustice to work and that is what they have done.

They have started a petition on Change.org which you can find by

CLICKING HERE.

It will literally take you no more than 2 minutes to fill in your name and information, copy the URL and paste it to your Facebook. Can you do that? How about for Humbolt?:

Humbolt the Penguin Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Humbolt the Penguin
Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

How about for this baby who has never touched grass and deserves to know more than concrete and metal?:

Baby Orangutan captive and Pata Zoo Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Baby Orangutan captive and Pata Zoo
Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Thank you for caring. From me, from Giselle and Cody, and most of all from the animals. May our travels be of compassion and kindness.

2. Inner Connection: Mindful 

Speaking of the word “mindful,” I recently started a morning meditation practice with more diligence than usual. A friend and I are doing it together and–not surprisingly!–I am already feeling the benefits throughout my day. Along with silent meditation, we are using the great book, Living In the Moment by Anna Black to learn some ways of carrying mindfulness into our everyday lives.

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I wanted to share one of the exercises in the book that I have found particularly enlightening. Black calls it, Who Are You Showering With?

“When you shower in the morning, take a moment or two to notice who has ‘joined’ you… Who are you thinking about–perhaps it is your boss, or colleagues at work, maybe it is someone you are going to see later that day, or perhaps it is someone you talked to yesterday. It might be your partner, your children, your parents, your next-door neighbor.. How many people are in the shower with you?

“Then, begin focusing on the physical sensations of showering… the water running off your skin… the temperature of the water… the soap lathering up between your fingers. Notice when you experience a sensation of delight or when there might be a feeling of pushing away or dislike. There is not a right way to shower and whether we are invigorating ourselves first thing in the morning, simply shampooing our hair, or cooling off after a hot day, all we are doing is paying attention to the act of taking a shower.

“Tip: Identifying who turns up in the shower regularly may give you some helpful feedback on where you preoccupations are at any one time.” 

Try this out this weekend. It’s amazing where our mind goes and who it goes with during such a short, sublime time of the day. Can you stay in the moment? Can you be with your own sensations of pleasure. I promise…you’ll like this one.

3. EcoConnection: Earthing

A few years ago,my father brought my attention to a book and video about “Earthing.” He sends me the most interesting things to read about, or to watch on youtube and documentaries. This was one.

Earthing is based on the idea that connecting to the earth physically, say by walking barefoot or lying down on the lawn, actually transmits the electrons from the Earth into our bodies. That in turn, is supposed to be beneficial for our physical and emotional wellbeing.

Because it is hard for some people to actually step (bare)foot on the ground (maybe because of urban dwelling or extreme temperatures for example), people have designed a device that you can attach to your feet while you sleep. It is “grounded” in the Earth somehow and is supposed to be able to transmit those healing electrons into your body.

I don’t know about the device. I’ve never tried it…yet. (I’m up for anything!) But I definitely believe in the healing power of nature.

So this weekend, let’s all agree that we’re going to get our green on!

Photo Credit: Life As a Wave

Photo Credit: Life As a Wave

One way or another, let’s get into nature. Yes, hug a tree. Yes, smell the roses. Yes, lie in the grass. Sit and be still…listen to the sounds of nature and notice the feel of the air on your skin. Notice a bug and watch it as it lives in its moment. Give thanks for the astounding biological system all around you of which you are just a small participant. Let yourself revel in that smallness.

Then tell me if you don’t feel just a little bit better!

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Travel Tuesday: Costa Rica!

Travel Tuesday is back and with an ecoconnection spotlight!

I don’t bring up ecoconnection as much as some of the other “connections” that are commonly explored on Life As a Wave, such as interconnection and animal connection. I was thinking about this and about Travel Tuesday and then began to wonder…what would be one of the most eco-friendly countries to visit?

The answer: Costa Rica!!

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Please keep in mind, that as I write it is 11:30 pm and I’m on a second glass of wine. I am not writing firm facts with APA citations. I’m writing the bytes that have caught my eye as I’ve explored Costa Rica via the internet. I will say this though, I haven’t come across many articles disputing that Costa Rica has emerged as one of the world’s leaders in environmental conservation and sustainability. As an illustration, when I Google search “Costa Rica Hype” I found myself sifting through a lot of World Cup stories and some trip advisor links with “..believe the hype!” in bold.

Anyway, after enough searching to make me a believer, here are some things I’ve found out about Costa Rica and its ecodevotion in the last couple weeks.

1. Beginning this year, Costa Rica has committed to generating all electricity from renewable resources. That’s incredible! And though Costa Rica’s model might not be transferable to larger nations it gives hope, direction, and momentum to the goal of cleaner energy sources.

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2. Costa Rica has set aside 25% of its land as National Parks and Reserves. From what I could find, this is a high percentage compared to most regions and also compared to worldwide percentage of protected areas (11.58%.)

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3. “Costa Rica has a stated ‘green growth strategy’. It has committed to carbon neutrality, increasing the share of hydropower, expanding eco-tourism and sustainable management of forest and marine resources. Mining activities are also banned and there is a three-year moratorium on oil and gas exploration.” From Globe International.

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4.Costa Rica wants to be carbon neutral by 2021 and has been reforesting it’s land to offset it’s emissions.

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5. Costa Rica has over 500,000 species which comes to 4-5% of the earth’s biodiversity and one of the highest density of biodiversity in the world. These include bunches of bugs and birds with great names like Quammen’s Green Mountain Beetle and the Cocos Cuckoo. Oh, and they have sloths.

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6. I keep seeing articles about how Costa Rica has strong environmental law and public policies to protect its biodiversity. I get the feeling that it’s not so much that there are “environmental groups” that push and struggle for environmental reform, but that there is a strong national pride for and allegiance to Costa Rican natural resources. And same goes for soccer. I get it, CR, I get it.

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7. They have lots of tree houses to choose from. Maybe this is normal for tropical climates, or even elsewhere; maybe I just haven’t been paying attention. Whatever the explanation, I’m all for experiencing the sights and sounds of a rainforest, unplugging from the electronics, leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible, and doing it all from the balcony of an Ewok village-esque treehouse like this one:

finca-bellavista-1My favorite treehouse option was Finca Bellavista because they seemed the least touristy and the most rustic. I want to pull on some wellies and get on those wet trails! I want to wake up to the sound of howler monkeys and not my phone alarm…I want to forget where my phone even is because I’m too busy watching the hummingbirds.

With that, I’m signing off. Yes, I’m leaving you with a list of, er, 7…mainly because it’s now past midnight and it’s time for bed. I’m sure I’ll be dreaming of beaches, forests, and volcanoes. Probably some soccer balls at this point too.

Good night, friends.

~~~S Wave~~~

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Weekend To-Do (Good) List: Shopping Edition!

Last month we brought you the Weekend To-Do (Good) List: Circus Edition, and I rather enjoyed using a theme. This week, the stars aligned again and a theme emerged…shopping! No, I’m not going to tell you to spend Palm Sunday at the mall. That might be my worst nightmare. I will however make the following shopping suggestions for bringing some good works into your busy weekend: Have a good one and may your dollars make some change!

~~~S Wave~~~

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1. Look Good While You Do Good

If you haven’t heard of Sevenly.org yet, it is time. This company produces very cool clothes with proceeds going to various charity organizations. The organization changes every week so it’s an exciting challenge to make your purchase before the clock runs out! No, I mean there really is a clock on their site counting down the time left. Pressure’s on!

This week, they’ve come up with trendy, comfy tees and jackets to support The Gentle Barn and especially its work with special needs and at-risk children. Check these styles out: Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 4.28.24 PM They always have great designs and artsy images. Obviously these would make great gifts too, for those of you who don’t want to spend money on yourselves. Find out more at www.sevenly.org!

2. Smart Easter Shopping

Easter is around the corner and though it is always tempting buy a real, live bunny for your little bundle of joy, please keep in mind the facts about cuniculture (yes, that is a word.) Cuniculture, or raising rabbits, is no joke and is just as much of a commitment as owning a dog or a cat. Maybe even harder! Rabbits aren’t generally the cuddly buddy you hope they will be. They tend to be more sensitive to noises, don’t usually like to be held, need a lot of quiet time and special housing, and they spray urine right on ya sometimes!

Now, of course there are exceptions to the rules, but unless you are ready to give your rabbit the time and energy it takes to bond with them, they will be facing a pretty sad life indeed–a life which, by the way, can last 10 years. Are you sure you want a pet rabbit until your child goes off to college??

In addition to all of that, breeding practices for rabbits are often cruel. Plus, post-Easter shoppers’ remorse results in abandoned, homeless rabbits and chicks every spring. So if you’re ABSOLUTELY sure you want to bring a rabbit into your family, raise it well no matter the cost, and give it the love it deserves, then please adopt, don’t shop.

Copy and share one of these Easter messages with your friends to spread this important information:EasterBunnyInfo

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3. Speaking of Palm Sunday…

Sunday is a special holiday as Christians celebrate the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. It is a day typically celebrated with special worship services and family gatherings. For those of you celebrating this holy day, may it be a beautiful time of communion between you and the Divine.

The reason it is called Palm Sunday is because the scripture says that Jesus’ followers laid palm fronds across his path and waved them as he passed.  What a different symbolism palm leaves have in our current times! As we’ve written about before in past Life As a Wave posts, the rapid demand for and production of palm oil has been devastating to our earth’s rich biodiversity, especially in areas of South America, Africa, and southeast Asia.

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The campaigns to end the heartbreaking deforestation have been iconicized by the beautiful ape, the orangutan, which is facing the loss of massive amounts of its natural habitats.

laststand What can you do though, right? Once again, your money speaks. Palm oil can be tricky to spot since it’s derivatives go by so many names, but it’s likely that many of the items in your grocery cart contain palm oil. Now it’s easier than ever to find out for sure because the El Paso Zoo and SGB Solutions have designed the Palm Oil Guide and Scanner. This free app allows you to scan UPC codes to find out if your purchase contains palm oil or not. I downloaded the app yesterday and made some wiser shopping decisions for the future after scanning some items in my fridge.

There are palm oil alternatives flooding the market, and with our purchasing patterns plus our social media voice, change is possible.

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That’s all, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you have a beautiful weekend and remember to let your dollars make some change!

~~~S Wave~~~

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