REVOLUTIONIZE YOUR REGION
its time for a simple ode to the beautiful thing which is a bird bath. the bird bath is a great way to bring a 'water feature' to the front yard space. it is a great way to share nourishment with your feathered neighbors - the bird bath provides essentials for birds, and will make them happy! it will also provide enjoyment for your human neighbors as they walk by, and enjoy the spectacle of the birds having a drink or a bath.
BIRDBATH CARE AND MAINTENANCE
birdbath care and maintenance is very straightforward. it mostly amounts to just simply changing the water every two or three days maximum .. you can change it daily if you like! once a week or two you can grab a big clump of grass in your hand and use that to 'scour' out the birdbath after you have emptied it. this 'scouring' will loosen up whatever little algea may have started to grow in the basin area.
and then you just splash a little water to give it a rinse out, and then top it right back off with fresh water. simple as that!
placing a birdbath is largely about feel - but there is also some strategy to it if you want birds to actually be able to enjoy it. the main thing is that birds like to have shrubs or tree branchs to alight to nearby. otherwise they'll feel over exposed while at the bath, and won't go there as much.
the other thing you might consider is placing the birdbath near to your hose so that you wont have to drag the hose all over tarnation or carry a watering can so far every time you change the water.
on the other hand, many of us dont get enough exercise or spend enough time in our yards, so maybe it's actually not a bad idea to do that extra work and walking to change the water in the birdbath!
one of the main driving forces for people to work to cultivate virtue within themselves and havens within the world is understanding that the society we live in will not do these things for us.
it is a society that has used power in sneaky ways over the course of many years and in many contexts.
to unpack this basic fact lets consider the kinds of institutions which came to dominate the social landscape in the 20th century: corporate and semi-corporate bureaucracies.
once we understand that corporate and semi-corporate bureaucracies were designed to exercise power in sneaky ways, we'll be less likely to be fooled into giving them space in our lives. take this quote from Ken Galbraith from his book "The New Industrial State," discussing the use of power in corporations:
"the real purpose of this power is not proclaimed in the corporate press releases and speeches. What is dispensed publicly, as many have rightly suspected, is mostly hot air. Power is used, as might be expected, to serve the deeper interests or goals of the technostructure .. these goals are not proclaimed."
THE GOALS OF THE TECHNOSTRUCTURE
a funny thing about our society and the institutions which make it move globally is that these institutions have goals and alignments and orientations which dont seem to make anyone happy. Moreover, they seem designed to generate misery for workers and consumers, while generating absolute horror for poor people and the natural world and future generations.
galbraith puts it this way: "the first requisite for survival of the technostructure is that it preserve the autonomy on which its decision-making power depends"
so what we have is an elaborate network of institutions designed to empower unaccountable (aka autonomous) use of power. but if the goals of these institutions are not possible to discern based on the 'hot air' of the speeches and publications they endorse, how can we discern those goals?
LOOK AT THE PATTERNS
most people know by now that actions speak louder than words. but when it comes to a large institution like AT&T, Rockefeller Foundation, Department of Defense, Council on Foreign Relations, or World Wildlife Fund, actions can be difficult to pinpoint or analyze. because after all, institutions dont actually carry out actions - they guide and coordinate the actions of humans.
so what are the patterns of actions carried out and imposed by these sorts of institutions?
well yet again the truth is difficult to discern. and another reason must be given - institutions operate according to intentions of those who developed them. But those intentions are impossible to know.
i don't even know how to specify my own intentions, let alone those of the architects of institutions like those mentioned a moment ago.
THE ARCHITECTS OF INSTITUTIONS
so for me as an historian who did a masters degree in Paris at the School for Advanced Study in Social Sciences (EHESS), I have come to see that the best way to 'get to know' an institution is by analyzing the character and network of those who were its architect. because ultimately, unless the organization undergoes a revolutionary restructuring of its operating principles, it will continue to use the world in basically the same way that it was designed to do.
lets look for a moment at the Russel Sage foundation which operated as something of a template for the establishment of the many foundations through the 20th century named after the mega-greedy (rockefeller, gates, etc).
The foundation was 'endowed' in a 'nice letter' from the wife of Russel Sage, a brutal railroad tycoon. but it wasn't margaret olivia sage who was the architect of the institution .. it was her advisors, and the early heads - especially robert woods deforest, grandson of Henry Grant Deforest, the founder of the new york stock exchange.
ROBERT WOODS DEFOREST AND FREDERICK GATES
the main architects in 'charity' and 'philanthropy' in the early 20th century seem to have been Robert Woods DeForest and Frederick Gates. john rockefeller, who 'employed' gates (and was largely advised by gates) called gates the best businessman in the world. Bob DeForest for his part sat on a wide array of boards and other positions, including managing one of the major hospitals in new york city for a few years, founding the provident loan society .. and generally operating across a wide array of institutions and affiliations.
DeForest's brother meanwhile was a major new york attorney through the 1880s and 1890s who went on to have major roles in the development of equitable life insurance, wells fargo, and southern pacific railroad.
so without going in too deeply to the weeds of history we can quickly discern that the major figures in philanthropy were intimately connected with the major figures in greed, oppression and wonton profiteering.
unfortunately, the models and institutional frameworks laid out by these greed mongers are still operating today. so if we are to bring about positive change it will have to be outside of the spaces held by major institutions - and often in direct contradiction to the activities of major institutions.
Just as one example, DeForest was a 'philanthropist' who didn't actually believe in designing institutions to directly help poor people. his tendency was to design institutions for the 'study of social problems'
ESTEEM IS ACCORDED TO CORPORATIONS
to understand the truth about how brutal and oppressive our institutions are by design it is useful to understand the extent to which they have been propagandized to seem like something else. as Galbraith mentions, the latter part of the 19th century saw major figures of industry being celebrated, but into the middle of the 20th century this was no longer the case - by then what was being celebrated were institutions.
in other words, throughought the mainstream media over a period of 80 years the general public was beaten over the head with lies about what corporations do and why. thus there is no blame to you if you did not realize up until now how untrustworthy major institutions are - even ones we may have become habituated to supporting, such as the democratic or republican party, we would not support them if we knew their truth. it is only the stories we're told around them in the media over the course of decades which give them a degree of worthiness in our minds.
BLOCK OUT ALL CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS AND PROPAGANDA AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
the end result here is that our health as individuals will depend to a large degree on the ability with which we are able to block out major corporations from accessing our minds and hearts and influencing our behaviors. this is why a knowledge of history in this good way is empowering and beneficial for our social lives as individuals - the knowledge of history allows us to practice better forgiveness and generosity towards those around us, our neighbors and so on, when we might otherwise be tempted to judge them harshly or treat them badly.
but remember, it is not only major industrial and business firms which are deceptive corporations - fraternal organizations, philanthropic organizations and foundations, government bureaucracies, religious institutions .. all of these were designed by architects in the days gone by, who were total fucking sellouts. so in order to live a renewed life and associate positively with our neighbors, we need to make sure that none of the propaganda from those sorts of institutions is being allowed to impact our mindsets and behaviors in social situations.
down in tucson where i am now the weather has turned a bit brisk .. its into the 30s at night time if you can believe it!
but as with most places, november and december do tend to bring on chillier temperatures and changing styles of cooking. one of the big things you might notice is that you gravitate more towards things that cook for a long time.
if you're like me an you love olives and capers when they're used just right, this dish is for you. it works great as a sauce to have with rice, or of course with pasta as well.
for the ingredients there are some essentials, and then some optionals.
the essentials i would consider as follows:
and thats about it. if you haven't made much tomato sauce from scratch, don't be intimidated .. its easy as can be. just chop up your onions and put them in a larger saucepan with some oil on medium heat. as the onions soften (don't let them burn) you can chop up your garlic. in this phase you can also add the herbs if you are using fresh. just toss the whole stem right in the pot with your onion and olive oil and watch the flavors and essences comingle.
once the onion is nice and soft add in the garlic. garlic only takes a minute or two and if you leave it much longer it will burn very easily so be careful! once the onions and garlic are 'there' you want to make sure to add some liquid to the pan to stop the whole thing from scorching. i used beef broth in my latest batch but you can just splash in a quarter cup or so of fresh water, along with your tomatos. and from there you can add your vinegar and olives and capers and canned tuna, along with the salt and pepper and sugar (just a pinch!).
let it simmer for a while, and if it cooks down too thick, just splash in some water or broth. just make sure to stir as it cooks and monitor the heat. develop a relationship with your sauce and it will make your belly and that of your loved ones that much happier!
on excursion thursday i like to remind people that its important to get out of the house and go do things, toss a little money around, find out whats good in the world. it doesn't need to be a massive trip to the swiss alps, it can be as simple as - for example this week - finding a great piece of pie in the area.
HOW TO FIND A GOOD PIECE OF PIE
online search - most people nowadays will start by looking on a web or map search for 'best pie near me' .. you can also look on something like 'yelp' if you want.
go drivin - another good way is to just go get in the car and cruise. look for independent restaurants, anything that is not a big chain is a good candidate to have some pies around. once a month you can try a new place, or even once a week to get you through the winter.
ask around - this is the most social way to go about it of course. ask around! ask friends in the neighborhood, or if there is a coffee shop or barber shop you go to, ask people if they've had any really good pies.
ITS REALLY NOT ABOUT THE PIE
in order to have deeper meaning in your search remember - the search for good pie is more about learning to seek out good things, and less about filling your blood with sugar! so many people, especially now, are way too cooped up. pie is a simple way to have an excursion without committing to a whole meal. You can have an excursion all to yourself if you want. just tell your partner you're going out for pie, and they'll understand your quest if you've previously explained it.
this can be a great way to have some independence in these days and times of extreme codependency.
alternatively you can make the pie quest into a date night thing, an opportunity to pick up one or two of your kids' friends and be 'the cool parent' who takes the kids and their friends out for something good once in a while.
so this can easily be a 'tranquil tuesday' type of excursion if you're setting the time aside for yourself. it can also be a 'social saturday' if you get friends or kids' friends or family members involved.
as time goes on there will of course be many more ideas for excursions to make to add richness to your weeks and give you renewed energy in your efforts to make larger scale positive changes!
there are two schools of thought and practice that we will look at today for wellness wednesday. both have to do with learning to use the body. while i'm not personally an expert or instructor in either tradition, i know enough to give some context. Both are methods developed by specific individuals - f Matthias Alexander developed what is now called The Alexander Technique, and Moshe Feldenkrais developed what is now called the Feldenkrais Method.
Both teach individuals to use their bodies in a better way in everyday life.
DIFFERENT FROM YOGA - BUT ALIKE
many people nowadays will be more familiar with 'yoga' or using elaborate and strained postures combined with breathing and mental programming as a spiritually oriented wellness practice. Alexander technique and feldenkrais method are different from that. One of the main differences is that the poses, postures, and exercises are not designed to be physically straining in either Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais method. The movements are gentle.
Another main difference is that these methods are teaching people to use their bodies differently in everyday life. So in AT and FM one leaves classes with new ideas about how to carry out everyday activities like sitting and standing and breathing.
Speaking of breathing, it is worth mentioning that breathing seems to be a big part of AT and FM, so this would be an overlap with yoga, which also emphasizes breathing.
PERSONAL ATTENTION VS GROUP WORK
As with yoga or other forms of exercises, people have the option of soliciting an instructor for 1-on-1 attention, or else signing up for a group class. For the time being, during the extreme isolation group classes in either school could be massively beneficial for most people. One-on-one work will be more expensive, often running upwards of $100/hr.
If you search for "feldenkrais method group class online" or "alexander technique group class online" you will be able to find some things. Or you can connect with the Tucson group that I'm doing http://www.tucsonfeldenkrais.com/feldenkrais-classes.html ..
for alexander technique i was able to find a woman in toronto who offers group classes online on monday early evening, you can see her web site here www.sinclairstudio.com/ .. i also found a person on the west coast offering what looks like weekly weds lunchtime www.crispinspaeth.com/classes .. while i have not tried these online formats, i have great confidence in them. If you try them out, let me know!
WHATS DIFFERENT ABOUT AT VERSUS FM?
the main thing that i have noticed in my brief work with both of these methods that is different is that the Feldenkrais method is more about listening to your body, while resting in various postures. The alexander technique on the other hand, is more about carrying out specific activities in certain ways, while being educated as to what you can do differently to change an old pattern.
but again there will be inevitable variation from one instructor to another.
WHAT WILL YOU BE ABLE TO IMPROVE BY FOLLOWING A COURSE OF PRACTICE IN EITHER METHOD?
the nice thing about these approaches is that they can both have positive 'impact ripples' throughout many areas of life. this is because they can improve your basic bodily functions. and when that happens, you will have less pain and more energy throughout your day.
not only that but you can also expect major improvements if you have any specific types of pain related to repetitive movements or things like that. so if you have a sore wrist from playing a musical instrument a certain way over the course of years, these techniques can help!
back pain is another area that stands to gain many benefits through a program of body-use re-education. these exercises will help to improve your overall posture, change your choices in the tips of seats you frequent, and release tension in many key areas of the body which up until now have most likely added to your woes. once these tensions are released and posture habits are improved, many people will find great relief for chronic pain in the back area.
do you have experience with alexander technique or feldenkrais method? let us know in the comments below!
today for tranquility tuesday lets consider an exercise about becoming less dissociated. what does that mean?
there are different words to use of course - people nowadays are fragmented, dissociated, spread thin .. or we can even go one step further and look at people as having become in many ways disspirited and soulless.
ROOTS OF THE PROBLEM
the roots of the problem are myriad. for many people such as myself they can be found in traumas of early childhood - especially if the parents are fighting viciously while one is in the womb or an infant, studies show this is one of the most traumatic experiences a young person can have. but being the subject of sexual/emotional/physical abuse of different kinds is of course severely traumatic as well, especially for a very young person. and then in the modern world where medical 'solutions' are so often worse than the 'disease' we can consider that receiving treatment within the western medical paradigm is a form of traumatic abuse as well .. no matter how well intentioned.
these roots are intensely 'personal' but it is important to remember when we think about the 'roots' of a problem that actually the truth is always deeper - problems are never really personal, even though they impact individuals in profound ways. it is easy to see that for example if parents are fighting, they are surely dealing with stress from challenging circumstances external to them .. repressed emotions from the long years in the school system or from strict upbringings or lack of healthy social life somewhere along the way .. could be any number of things.
so problems have deep roots, and really when we talk about the 'cause' of a person becoming dissociated, we are talking about the 'trunk' of the problem moreso than the roots for the most part.
THE TRUNK OF THE PROBLEM
towards the base of the trunk is the experiences that we have had which lead us to become dissociated from living a calm life within our own bodies and being happy. for many of us there are many of these types of experiences. the school system, just for starters, is massively oppressive and repressive and overwhelming. it was not designed to create healthy happy humans, it was designed dating back to the napoleonic era, to create good bureaucrats - people who follow orders, and to be able to start a long process of selecting the best bureaucrats for advancement within the context of any given bureaucracy.
here in the US we have the additional problem that many of us were raised in neighborhoods without good social spheres of kids from different ages to play with outside of school. or, if there were kids and a nice group, then maybe we didn't have time to play very much since our parents kept signing us up for 'extracurricular activites' or maybe political or other differences kept our parents from getting along, and we ended up living overly isolated lives outside of school .. extreme mental and emotional exertion all day long for 12 years in the system, and then extreme physical exertion in sports, then homework on top of that .. and you can easily see how people would want to 'leave their bodies' .. ie become dissociated from their own existential reality.
and this is in a best case scenario! if you add to that unstable home life, or abusive older siblings or moving a lot from one place to another and having to leave friends behind or close cousins or whatnot .. its even easier to see how people can tend to become de-spirited and live their lives on 'autopilot' without much engagement from their soul.
THE BRANCHES OF THE SOLUTION
solutions can take many forms - in other words they can branch out in many different directions. and in fact for many people this is a lifelong process.
one good way to frame it is in terms of this: create a life circumstance that your inner child would actually be happy and comfortable with.
this is far different from creating a life that your ego will be comfortable with. remember, your inner child doesn't care about BMW cars or a 401k plan. Your inner child lives in a shorter term time span, and sees things only for what they are. your inner child values essential things, like good healthy neighbors, good healthy food, stimulating and enjoyable pastimes, opportunities from growth, time to exercise the imagination away from serious 'grown up' concerns, physical activities, emotional stability, connection to nature, not being sick ... these kinds of things.
so the more we can create this sort of life for ourselves and our loved ones and neighbors, the easier it will be to 'call our energy back' ..
CALLING OUR ENERGY BACK
in traditional cultures, this is a huge part of the healing process, and is often facilitated by a shaman .. someone who has gifts of being able to connect deeply to the dreamtime realms and go out and 'retreive' parts or aspects of our souls which may have 'abandoned ship' somewhere along the line. but even if you do not have access to shaman, anyone can start to put effort into becoming more whole just simple by 'calling my energy back to me'
but remember, if you are not living a good happy life and you are still very sad or ill-at-ease, your energy aka your child-soul will not be inclined to respond positively to your call! it will say 'bah .. i don't want to come back .. your life sucks!' ... so it is a long term process .. them more we are able to get our life into a good dynamic, the more we will have success calling back our child soul .. and then, we will have more clarity and energy to put towards improving the world around us. so it can become a positive cycle, rather than a negative one.
this is why even though you might have begun to read this post and felt overwhelmed or discouraged .. the tranquility comes from having a sense that there is a possibility for a light at the end of the tunnel, that even though there might seem like a lot of work to do to get ourselves into a better life space, once we do we can make big improvements, we can become more 'integrated' and 'whole' in ways that we have long since given up on.
without that, we will always have a hard time being truly tranquil, we will instead tend to be forever looking for external stimulations, whether it is from tv and social media, or from sugar, cigarettes, pharmaceutical medications or whatever the case may be. many of us do not realize how much of this 'external seeking and grasping' is a result of our soul loss and deep-rooted alienation from ourselves and our existence. and many of us do not realize either that there is hope to turn the ship around!
Today on the Money Monday post let's give some thought to the actual moral and ethical value of the things we put money in to.
The sad truth is that things which make big piles of money in our society tend to do so on the basis of being morally bankrupt - offering terrible customer service, for example, is the way that big tech companies like microsoft, google, amazon, square and facebook have cut corners to maximize profits. These companies turn profits at obscene rates but if you pick up a telephone you're not able to talk to anyone there about your email or your delivery issues or whatever the case may be.
If these companies were to pay people to speak on the phone it would be a win for the employment market, especially if these customer service jobs were centered in oppressed neighborhoods of cities like chicago, new york or los angeles. and of course it would make the lives of the users of these services much better.
these are just tiny examples, to say nothing of companies which pay slave wages overseas or launder money through fake 'philanthropies' which actually just receive tax breaks by piling revenue into biotech megacorporations.
the point being - does it matter? is there any reason to disinvest in shitty corporations, even if they offer opportunities to stack cash? if novartis, pfizer, bayer or johnson and johnson offer major returns on investment for someone who is looking to 'make their savings grow' .. is there any reason not to put your money in their hands?
this is the moral question of investing, and the answer is truly not so difficult.
FROM EACH ACCORDING TO THEIR MEANS
the simple answer in the matter of virtue and investment is that those with larger 'cushions' need to bear the burden for investing in more virtuous projects. If you're already a millionaire, and you're investing in morally bankrupt corporations to become ever more personally wealthy, then you should be ashamed. if you're poor, and you invest in greedy companies in order to be able to feed your children in a year or two from now, then you have no shame.
WHAT ARE VIRTUOUS INVESTMENTS?
for the wealthy readers among you, you may be wondering - what are the virtuous investments which can be made? are any corporations or projects actually good? this is our concern.
when we look at the operating paradigms and protocols of institutions within our modern 'capitalist' economy, it becomes clear that the only way to continually 'improve profit margins' is by greed. there is no way to build wealth which is based on a philosophy of generosity, or even on a philosophy of balance. so for those individuals who have money the only hope is to find projects which carry the ambition to actually change the culture.
WHAT DOES A INSTITUTION WHICH CHANGES THE CULTURE LOOK LIKE
culture changing institutions promote and insist on values of non-greed, values of healing, values of nurturing, values of ecological renewal, values of mass investment into individuals and institutions which contribute to the wellbeing of oppressed populations (native american reservations, slums in brazil and india and china, rural areas throughout africa, and so on). Individuals and organizations who are dedicated to these causes are not always easy to find, but they are certainly worth investing in, because they will put your money to good use!
DOES VIRTUE MATTER?
there is an important question, of whether it makes any difference at all, if your time or money is used to perpetrate mass oppression and suffering and environmental degradation. from a scientific standpoint, it would not be so difficult to do a study with the right kinds of parameters. it would be important to follow wealthy people, as they make choices about investments. Some people would choose to invest in morally bankrupt corporations, launder money through two-faced 'philanthropies' and so on. Other people would choose to invest in permaculture, holistic healing resources, ecological restauration and so on. Some people would choose to invest in some mix of both.
And then over the course of time we could see which people were happier, which people had happier children, which people had a better vibe (yes, science can now measure vibes).
Until such point where this kind of study is carried out we must use our own imagination to guess as to whether virtue makes a difference for the person and for those around them.
We know of course that virtuous investments would make a difference in the world - it would lead to people having access to better food, health care, water and so on. But whether it makes a difference for the person and for their own family is a different question.
My personal hunch is that virtue does in fact matter greatly - but it does not come without a cost. For example, in a corrupt group of friends, it could be difficult and exhausting to be the one who is not corrupt. it could be exhausting to see the ways in which other people are hurting the world, and not knowing what to say or do about it.
HOW WE DISCUSS VIRTUE
one of the biggest issues is how we discuss it. if we call things morally bankrupt, for example the top ten 'largest' pharmaceutical companies, then we might expose ourselves to some sort of attack. it would take great courage perhaps, great virtue, greatness in general to 'call the lie' on shitty institutions which are making lots of money for lots of people, while also leading to much mass sickness and other problems.
so this might not be the path for all people. some people might prefer to be 'low key' simply making good decisions for themselves but not willing to 'ruffle feathers' by 'calling the lie' on any of the major power players or institutions.
other people might see that their virtue is not only in making virtuous investments, but also in working to expose the lack of virtue within so many of our predominant institutions and operating paradigms.
We can approach the matter of grounding in many ways:
COMMUNITY and what sorts of energies and boundaries we get from others
AESTHETICS and our choices of media and news
EARTHING and remembering what being on earth is about
ROUTINES and 'jumping rope in that energy'
DIVINATION TOOLS and taking a break from conditioned ego-habitual decision processes
SELF-KNOWLEDGE GAINING and learning from others and from nature and from quiet intuitions
DIY ACTIVITIES and keeping mind and body together moving towards tangible accomplishments
RECORDKEEPING OF SELF and taking a break from focusing on problems and distractions
GOAL SETTING and unpacking the contents of our minds in sorted-out life direction
LIST MAKING and using the philosophy of 'reminders' to help us stay grounded amidst distraction
MEDITATION and emptying the mind of excessive turmoil
ENERGY WORK and using the mind to center and ground our energy
PHYSICAL EXERCISE and releasing tension in the musculature
BREATH WORK and improving the oxygenation of the body cells
MYTHOLOGIES and keeping things in perspective with fantastic tales
NEIGHBORLINESS and becoming less isolated in ones immediate four walls
SMUDGING and 'claiming' boundaries
PRAYER and letting things go with well wishes
BODYWORK and sensual experiences
MEDIA-MUTING and building up our comfort level within our own skin
NUTRITION and making the body tissues ....
IF ANYONE HAS SUGGESTIONS OF MISSING SOLUTIONS TO "GROUNDING" PLEASE LEAVE IN COMMENTS AND I WILL UPDATE! ALSO, OVER TIME ALL CAPITALIZED WORDS WILL BE CLICKABLE TO AN ENCYCLOPEDIA ENTRY ON THAT TOPIC.
In any given case scenario we will need to discern and use our intuition which sorts of exercises to get people going on, when 'grounding' is part of the issue.
It is important to always bear in mind as well that some strategies are more 'long term' and others are more likely to give rapid benefits to people. For example nutritional changes can be highly destabilizing and 'ungrounding' as the body adjusts to new inputs and chemical routines. But in the long run the overall effect will be 'grounding' as the person becomes literally happier within their skin.
There can be risks, however, of ungrounding people if we are not careful in how we propose changes of diet and how we present wellness information in general. This operates in multiple directions.
example of dietary ideologies
For example, if someone has become heavily invested in the 'plant based' lifestyle and embedded in the 'plant-based community' or even working within that community, it could be 'ungrounding' for them in the short run to learn that they need to reintroduce animal products for the sake of their health. But in the long run, it will be more grounding for them to understand that there are times when animal products are definitely indicated for wellness improvement - if they continue to invest in dogmatic ideologies then they will inevitably become isolated socially over time.
On the other hand, if someone is a factory pig farmer and they need to be told that factory farmed animal products are highly detrimental to the health of the consumer (as well as the animals of course), then this information could be 'ungrounding.' But again, in the long run it will be better to get the truth out there.
So in every case it is a matter of intuitively guiding people and protecting them for half baked ideas and temptations while at the same time allowing them sufficient breathing room and autonomy. Not an easy balance but neither is life on earth!
example of posture and seats
another case of complexity occurs when we consider the matter of posture. now we know that prolonged seating in lazy boy type seats and car seats and other situations where the thighs wind up 'perched' at an upwards angle forward from the above the level of the ischial tuberosities (lower pelvis). In other words, people sitting with their legs crossed on a chair (often women have been socialized into this pattern) or people slouching in a lazy-boy (often men are convinced that this is 'comfortable' for them).
So these people may have long term habits built up of how they sit. Now we as individuals who understand human wellness will realize all of the ways in which patterns of seating such as these can be severely deleterious over time by pinching vertebral discs, embedding chronic tension in the deep back muscles and shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle, which in turn constricts the breathing and the digestion and organ functioning, not to mention knee and hip problems setting in over time. YIKES!
But if someone's house is filled with nothing but sofas and lazyboys, we would need to make a measured decision of when to 'drop the hammer' on them that they need to not sit in recliners and sofas any more if at all possible for the sake of their health.
On the one hand, certainly having healthy organs and a healthy back and no headaches or insane shoulder tension is all positive and grounding .. so it's not good to just ignore the fact that people are damaging themselves so severely just by virtue of the kinds of seats they sit in and how they sit in them.
It sucks to realize that you've spent 4000 or whatever on a sofa that is making you unhealthy, but it sucks even worse to not realize its making you unhealthy and just keep sitting in it!
example of meditation
meditation is another example of a practice that is generally said to have a 'grounding' effect as far as I have been able to perceive. but actually it can be quite destabilizing to enter the silence and develop increasingly strong intuitions about the truth of our life circumstances. This is because most everyone alive nowadays is dealing with a deep sub foundation of alienation. So it is important to remember to remind people that meditation is intended to be grounding over time, but it can be destabilizing in the short run.
One of the circumstances that i refer to is our internal reality - especially if we have been consuming weird chemical crap, whether as food additives and preservatives, or as agricultural treatments in the form of herbicides and pesticides, or in the form of long term or harsh pharmaceutical treatments .. whatever the case may be, many of us nowadays have somewhat 'toxic bodies.' This is part of the reason they need healing!
But its important to be aware of this and give people the sense that as they start to peel away the layers of denial and avoidance and then become conscious of how miserable they actually are .. its important to make them know that you're going to be there for them. This is of course a huge issue with capitalism, which encourages us to only be there for people who pay us! In a perfect world, the healers life should consist of a cypher of 40 people or so, not taken on all at once for goodness sake, so that they are at different stages in their journey. This is more or less what it would be like in a village maybe .. one healer for every forty folks.
Example of assurance of support
As we began to see in the previous paragraph, feeling and being supported are both great ways of becoming grounded. So we need to let people know that we're there for them (help them feel supported) AND we need to ACTUALLY be there for them (ensure that they in fact are supported). Again this is a major issue with capitalism insofar as it encourages people with advanced skills to NOT be there for people unless people have tons of money to pay them! So in effect, only greedy people get healing! What a travesty!
But we need to remember that being there for people over time is actually quite difficult. It's why we as wellness support providers need to be EXTREMELY grounded. Unless we are only offering 'heroic' 'one time services,' we need to ensure that we have the ability and energy to be there for people over time and that people can rely on us. So grounding is important to understand not only for the sake of those we wanna help, but also for our own sake as professionals and as human beings.
SOME GROUNDING EXERCISES (many borrowed respectfully from (www.livingwell.org.au) go check them out, and set a bookmark, great resource)
The most obvious haven is your home. But for many people it can also lack life and inspiration and even peace. What are we going to do about that? How can we reinforce that 'haven' aspect?
1. invite some nature
There are many ways to invite some nature into your world. That will be the subject of a blog post in and of itself! For now it will be nice just to think 'how can i bring a little more nature into my world?'
There are just as many reasons. Whole books have been written on the topic. You can read them if you like, especially the works of Richard Louv will carry weight. You can also watch videos.
Nature Deficit Disorder: what is it?
Or you can just take my fuckin word for it - nature is great. We need it. Its easy on the eyes, nose .. so many reasons. Perhaps the biggest being for the sake of our children. If you don't know what its good for children to spend a ton of time in nature, you can learn about that from Richard Louv as well.
Richard Louv | Children and Nature [English]
The Abundant Childhood: Nature, Creativity & Health: An Evening with Richard Louv
Simple ways to start inviting a little nature include buying a bag of bird seed and just throwing a cup of it out in a certain quiet part of the yard every few days. The birds coming will warm your fucking heart guaranteed. Beyond that you can easily convert a garden bed to native plants even if you're not ready to convert the whole yard.
How to create a mini wildflower meadow in your garden
How To: Attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden
Butterfly Gardening 101 - Tips on How to Attract Butterflies
Bringing a bit of nature home will stimulate mind body and soul, generate great diversions and activities for kids and much more. For more on that dig this interview with Douglas Tallamy:
2. improve limberness