Posts Tagged ‘peaceful living’

A truly green Christmas tree

Many people are turning away from the petroleum based artificial trees that, just a generation ago, seemed like the most environmentally friendly option available.

If you are looking for an Eco Friendly option for a Christmas tree this year I recommend checking out this local company. Evergrow Christmas Tree Company.

Evergrow Christmas Tree Co was started by two UBC forestry grads, and specialise in delivering live trees to people who want a greener option for the holiday season.

I first learned about this option in May when I was volunteering at EPIC, the sustainable living expo held annually in downtown Vancouver.  I was in the “kids zone” as usual, making Christmas decorations with the kids!

Evergrow offers trees for homes, business and events. They even offer cut trees if you desire one bigger then 7 feet. The trees are grown locally and the cut one are collected and converted into biofuel. They will even lend you a tree stand and set it up if you wish. No more needles dropping, worrying about the tree dying up or  what to do with it after the 26th.

If you order online you can save 10%  So shop local, save a tree, and go really  green this Christmas!

evergrow tree at EPIC 2010

evergrow tree at EPIC 2010

gifts that last

Metro Vancouver has a new campaign to curb excess garbage created over the holiday season.

This time of year is a retailers delight, with many businesses making the majority of their sales in the month of December. Our consumer culture reaches a crescendo at holiday time.  Increasingly we see “green” gift ideas, and while supporting local businesses, buying  ethically fairly traded products is a good choice, this new campaign has come along to remind us there is another option.

The website gives ideas for low waste gifts. Some idea’s include giving the gift of experiences; classes and memberships, a new soccer ball or a bike,  dinner out, tour local light displays, visit a historical site or experience a live presentation of some kind.

Be creative and have fun; make a wreath from things in your backyard, cut out paper snow flakes,  look through thrift shops for treasure, give a family heirloom to a loved one, or offer to fix a broken step or paint a room for a friend or family member who may not be able to do it themselves.

The gift of time is often the most welcome of all.  What is more valuable then memories we create with the people we love?

This holiday season if you find a way to give more of yourself you will be richer for it.

Water planet

Black Friday – Buy nothing day

bnd2010-blackThis Friday, November 26th, the day after American Thanksgiving, is commonly refereed to as Black Friday. In the United States it is the biggest shopping day of the year!  It is also known as BUY NOTHING DAY,  internationally its on November 27th.

The reason for this day is simple, to make people question their consumption.

We live in a time of such abundance never before witnessed in modern history. Our ever increasing appetite for the newest gadget, most convenient meal, and more of everything, has contributed to an ever larger toll on planet earth.

As we approach another holiday season, let us hope that we can share it with people we love. Spend time doing things that bring us joy and marvel at the miracles that are around us everyday.  We live in an enchanting time, if we just take a break from trying to achieve something, get somewhere, or  buy something else,  we can just relax and let it be.

Taken at the Royal City Farmers Market Summer 2010

Taken at the Royal City Farmers Market Summer 2010

World Animal Day October 4th

Celebrated annually since 1931, World Animal Day  began  as a gathering of ecologists in Florence Italy to raise awareness about endangered species.  It is now a diverse celebration the world over.

This year events have been confirmed to take place in 68 countries. This is a day to celebrate animals,  from beloved domestic pets , to caring about the well-being of farmed animals and species at risk.

PNE 2010

Why do we need a day for the animals? The biggest reason is because we have forgotten they are our brothers and sisters on this planet. Whether we keep pets, volunteer at the local animals shelter, or choose not to participate in the animals as food paradigm, the spectrum of people who love animals is varied.

MOJO

A communion exists between people and animals, we  have all experienced it at one time or another.  Each day we can choose a path that honours  the earth, and therefore all the creatures on it.

Every decision we make has a ripple effect, you can choose to have a meat free meal,  support sustainable farming practices, volunteer with animals, stop driving, grow your own food, learn about local history and traditional food, native plants and animals.

Become the change you want to see and you will be amazed at the love that you will find.

The website‘s Mission Statement

WORLD ANIMAL DAY

  • To celebrate animal life in all its forms
  • To celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom
  • To acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives – from being our companions, supporting and helping us, to bringing a sense of wonder into our lives
  • To acknowledge and be thankful for the way in which animals enrich our lives
From the WWF website;

Random Acts of Kindness

We’ve all heard stories about Random Acts of Kindness, be it opening a door for someone, smiling at at stranger you passed on the street, or buying a coffee for the next person in line at the drive through. We can all find ways to show kindness to strangers.

Double rainbow

I was thinking about this recently when I joined a facebook page that was set up to honour a woman who died of cancer. Her name was Nicole, it would have been her 36th birthday this July. To celebrate her birthday week her mother set up the page in the hopes that people would preform Random Acts of Kindness, and then think about Nicole.  People then would write about what they did and how it changed their day. I think because I too will turn 36 this year (yikes!) I was really touched by this sentiment. Nicole’s mother knew Nicole saw a lot of suffering in the world and felt that people had become detached from each other, she wanted to set up something to promote RAK, but sadly she passed away before she could do it.

While thinking about kind deeds I came across another web site The Great Kindness Challenge this is one day, August 14 2010, when people will perform as many acts of kindness as they can! What an idea! The website and idea is really focused on things children can do, there is a check list you can download with 100 idea’s that are simple to do.

Another website I found was The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation! This site promotes the benefits of kindness. In addition to being on the receiving end of kindness, just performing them can improve your physical and psychological health.  Immune benefits, reduced stress and increased happiness show that good deeds can be good for you!

The site lists these special days as well;

Pay It Forward Day 2010: April 29 www.payitforwardday.com

World Kindness Day 2010: November 13   ~  World Kindness Week 2010: November 8-14

Random Acts of Kindness Week 2011: February 14-20

Flowers

Some of my favourite quotes on Kindness;

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blink can see” ~ Mark Twain

“Forget injuries, never forget kindness” ~ Confucius

“Spread love everywhere you go; First of all in your own house…let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in our eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness.”

~ Mother Teresa

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around “~ Leo R. Buscaglia

“This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, own own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” ~ Dalai Lama


Enlightenment $2 ?

Can we buy enlightenment? I suppose it depends who you ask. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines that to enlighten it is to instruct,  inform, to give spiritual insight to;

It is the spiritual insight that I am interested in.

I have wondered about this for a number of years. There are many opportunities, books, retreats, mantras,and meditations that one can use as a tool to acquire peace.  No longer is  seeking inner tranquillity just for hippies, new agers and beatniks. Spiritual guidance is available at most community centres, and strip malls in the form of  yoga and martial arts classes, at the library, online, on T.V. and in the movies.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me last week when I walked past a newspaper box that donned a picture of the Dalai Lama with the caption “Enlightenment $2″

The Dalai Lama was in Vancouver at the end of September for a global peace summit.
An impressive list of Nobel Laureates, world leaders and philanthropists joined together at The Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, to explore the idea of world peace.
Dalai-Lama-Elton-Melo
With topics like World Peace through Personal Peace, compassion and community, illuminating dialogue was the intention.This opportunity for Vancouver to host such an important event is not only relevant, but desperately needed. In a city where a large number of residents are mainly concerned with paying the rent and the violence on the streets, taking time to reflect and acquire tools to a happier life is vital.

Does it have a cost? What would someone be willing to pay?  The lucky few who were able to attend this event in person will, no doubt, have had an experience to remember. Hundreds of school children were there as well. The whole series of talks were recored and are available to watch here. For the price of an Internet connection, or for free at the local library we can also participate, if only as a spectator of this event.

Now that his holiness has left the city, life goes on. There is no doubt that the work and good intentions of the many people involved in this undertaking will satisfy a need. But what about the rest of us? Should we be forced to pay for our spiritual expansion to the guy with a coloured belt at the local strip mall? Or buy books online or in a incense infused crystal strewn  emporium of  trinkets and extracted relics? I don’t think so.

Can you buy enlightenment? The simple answer is no. Having studied martial arts, yoga, Qi Gong and other  practices for more then a decade, I have come to realize this first hand.

There are books, and classes that will inspire you, spiritual practices, prayer and meditation can all uplift and expand your compassion for others, but true enlightenment is a personal journey that can not be taught or bought.There are many great teachers that can guide and acquaint you with parts of yourself you have forgotten or never knew.

You can learn to find it for free. It is in the smallest parts of your everyday life. In your morning coffee, in your children’s laughter, in  your own back yard. A sunny day, a song that takes you away to another place in time. Remembering to breath deeply before reacting to the kids latest squabble, or the burnt dinner. Reflecting on the time spent with people you love. listening to the birds outside your window before getting out of bed in the morning, and being grateful that you can hear them.

We can find peace within ourselves, the secret is that it’s already there, one only needs to take the time to look and it will be revealed.

International Day of Peace

Today, September 21st 2009 is the United Nations International day of Peace.

However you choose to celebrate is up to you. One thing you can do is make a commitment to living a more peaceful life.

John Lennon said  Whatever you do, do it for PEACE

peace_symbol_3Love and Light

From the website here are a few things you can do for peace today;

Examples of Peace Day events:

tree in Stanley Park“Use what talent you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.” Henry Van Dyke


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URBNgreen is committed to education and environmental stewardship. Our objective is share information about what people are doing locally and around the world to create a sustainable future.
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delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at DailyLearners.com