Friday, December 28, 2012

cool links

So I stumbled across this website with a list of different eco-communities

Would love to visit them.... someday maybe!!

Pay it forward

So as I have been helping to fundraise for Sadhana Forest on, I've been learning a little more about fundraising, imagine that!  :)

One tip given was to help support others who are also fundraising.  I found some pretty cool projects
this one only has 4 hours to go!  They work with anaerobic digesters to create green energy and organic compost
One of the world's most biodiverse jungles is facing complete deforestation.  This project is raising awareness to help save this region.  10 days left
This is an organization which educates abouts and protects whales. 3 days left
Saving bees that would otherwise face extermination by bringing them to a bee sanctuary
3 days left
They are offsetting carbon miles! They reached their goal but are still taking funds for the next 4 hours.
supporting the rainforest!

They've all been doing well, which is exciting because they are great projects too!

So anyway for the Sadhana Forest fundraising site, there is a $250 pay it forward christmas gift option.

Which I am in charge of.  On the website it states that it is a home-made surprise.

Well, the first person chose this option today!  Very exciting and such a generous donation!  I left deciding what to make till someone chose the option, which was well today!

I've been trying to decide what I might be able to send out.  I was hoping I might be able to get a few opinions. 

I've made a list of potential things I could send out, I figured the gift could be different depending on maybe a few details about the person I will be sending it to....
anyway here are a few ideas, feel free to leave a comment with your favorite ideas/idea

Nithya suggested I make a list of a 108 things, lol we will see if I get that many ideas.
Although you know those are my favorites.

1.  handmade jewelry
2. home-made vegan chocolate truffles
3. special hot cocoa powder mix
4. home-made vegan goldfish crackers
5. pressed flowers lamenated into something special - book cover, placemats, picture frame
6. handmade soap
7. handmade oil mixture - for example hair oil or body massage oil
8. So I don't really know how to knit, but my mom does.. and maybe she could teach me .. maybe I could make something simple like hot pads.  If they are simple?
9.Hand painted wooden welcome sign
10.A deck of cards with Sadhana Forest pictures on the back of them
11.  vegan cookies
12. some kind of holiday wreath made from items found in my backyard
13.  christmas bread
14. again, can't sew but maybe I could learn how to knit a scarf?
15. I could create a book about Sadhana Forest, including some of my stories from being there and pictures taken, I could include a project discription of Sadhana Forest Kenya - This is one of my favorites, I'll probably do this in addition to whatever else I send out.
16.  pouch of gratitude stones - it might be possible for me to get Sadhana Forest Kenya etched on one side of the stone and the word gratitude on the other side.  These stones can then be given out to more people :)
17. Paint a picture of Sadhana Forest - believe it or not but I can actually paint decently!
18.  Make a nice card
19. Chocolate covered raisins
20. Chocolate covered almonds
21. Potpourri
22. I've made candles before, maybe I could figure it out again! 
23.  Give a pen drive with Sadhana Forest commonly shown movies - but not sure how that would work with copyright etc. hmm or could put pictures and articles on the pen drive about Sadhana Forest
24. Homemade candy.  I know sometimes I write homemade and sometimes I dont.. well it will all be homemade.. lol I like to emphasize it.
25. Handmade paper or envelopes with the persons name on them
26.  canvas bag - never tried to make this before.. but could be a good gift ? I could also fill with a few things ?
27.  incense holder
28. clay pots - never made this either.. maybe I could take a class! lol
29.  Christmas ornaments
30. vegan cheese - however - not sure if it would survive a trip across the country with fedex? hmm could go either way
31. baby plant.. painted pot
32. painted stones from my property
33. chimes made from recycled materials.
34. painted vase
35.  Calendar with Sadhana Forest Pictures and quotes
36. Decorated box filled with surprises
37.  Magnets with Sadhana forest pictures
38. Ring engraved with some earth quote...
39.  Roasted nuts
40. christmas basket with many homemade goodies.
41. puzzle of a picture from sadhana forest kenya
42. painted lampshade

Hmm thats all for now, maybe I can come up with more tomorrow. :)

and if you feel inspired to help out sadhana forest kenya with a pay it forward christmas gift
since you came to my blog, you get to choose what kind of gift you would like! 
All the best,
Happy Holidays

UPDATE:::: deadlines long past to donate today:::

Population Control

The issue of population control is a controversial topic.  On one hand it is argued that the population growth is causing most of the earth’s major problems and on the other hand controlling population is not only an implausible solution which would most likely lead to an array of social injustices and insurgencies- it’s not really addressing the root of the issue at hand.   I believe that although a reduction of population may help some of the earth’s major problems, the real remedy to the solution would be reinventing our consumption patterns and lifestyle of the western world. 

For both the developing world and the developed nations, pollution plagues us both.  Generally speaking, an increase in population only adds to the amount of waste we generate.  This pollution infiltrates our soils, pushing us to seek out pristine places to relocate our farms and homes.  The pollution also flows into our rivers and streams, making us dependent on water bottle companies in many parts of the world.  We cannot forget about the pollution in our oceans which has been creating dead zones and toxic fish.  An increase in our population has not aided in these matters. 

It is true that the more people born into developed nations will contribute more to greenhouse gas emissions.  This is true because people in developed countries have more access to cars and other forms of polluting transportation systems, and not to discount all the food and other needs they acquire from stores which have thousands of transportation miles behind each item- not to mention the polluting factories who have created the items as well as the natural environment destroyed in the creation of the product.  It is also true that the more people being born into developing countries can fuel the deforestation dilemmas, as the population continues to grow and farmers will need more land to grow more food for more people.  However what is often not stated, is that these farmers are typically growing soy, corn or wheat for the feed of cows and chickens for factory farms in industrialized nations for the consumption of industrialized people.  Meat is expensive and is often not eaten much in developing countries.  Cows eat much more than humans do.  According to the USDA, cows on average eat 75-100 lbs a day, while people on average eat only 4-5 lbs daily. Translation, the consumption of meat is a bigger destruction of the rainforest then additional children who only eat plant based foods.  (

                Of course population plays a big role in the destruction of many natural systems.  However, the bigger culprit I see is the mentality of the western world.  That mentality focuses on financial security in the short term.  Healthy rivers, oceans and forests give us financial security in the long term if we choose to live from them in a sustainable manner.  However, our current system is to harvest all we can attain from every forest, mountain and water body, and whatever is left from our pillage we decide to construct concrete buildings and homes in its place.  Of course with every person added to this picture with this mentality, only means more destruction, but as it is controlling the population in every country could be a more difficult task than changing our mindsets- which is actually the root of the issue. 

There are circumstances where children add very little to the environmental problems of the world, as mentioned earlier.  First, is when a child is born into a sustainable community where he/she gets all of her food organic and produced locally and all other needs met by artisans within the community.  Second is when the child is born in an impoverished community where the child must mostly live off of collecting garbage scraps for creating homes, and eating left over food found on the streets.  In other words they are living in wastelands and from wastelands, wastelands created by the modern way of living.  Unfortunately the second scenario may be more common than we may all think as actually 2/3 of the world’s population goes to bed hungry every night.  That means 2/3 of the world’s population doesn’t have access to regular meals.  And 1 billion people worldwide lack adequate housing.  Many people are just trying to get through each day as it comes, 2/3 of the world’s population may only be driven to produce their next meal. 

But none-the-less if population really is the height of all of our problems, could the number of children per family really be enforced worldwide? How would governments control it?  Would they heavily tax families with more children?  What if the families had no money?  Would they arrest the family, would they execute them?  How would we ensure that it’s a fair and honorable system of population control?  How would every country afford to imprison every person who had more kids then they were supposed to?    Perhaps even if population can’t be regulated, education would be the next best thing in terms of population control.  Yes, education on population and global resources should be a mandatory subject in schools and for those who have no access to school, it would be beneficial to create NGO’s specifically to help those underdeveloped societies by educating them about sustainable resource management (that is for those who may be farmers, cutting down the rainforest).  

And of course education is important for everyone to some extent, but, again, I feel we are tip-toeing around the real issue as if it’s a plague.  We live out of balance with nature.  We live completely incongruent with the laws of the earth.  And the impoverished societies in contrary to our modern mind-sets really have little to do with it.  They look up to us; they look up to the ‘modern’ world for solutions.  In reality, it’s only the wealthy who own pristine areas; it’s only the powerful who have access to beautiful land.   We have been deciding its fate for centuries.  The poor follow the rich.  The rich move on to cleaner pastures and the poor have to make do with the destruction.  

                In conclusion, I believe that we should try and do as much as we can, in whatever form possible to get the message across.  In the countries that can afford education, should educate!  But we should educate much more than just on how population is destroying everything.  We should focus on educating on solutions such as natural buildings, organic farming, food forests, living off of natural landscapes- promoting natural systems-only taking enough for one’s need, sustainable communities as well as respect for natural systems.  Curbing population, especially in developing countries where most don’t even have access to schools, is an unrealistic and mostly unhelpful idea not addressing the real issue at hand.  We need more education and innovative thinking as well as technology to help us create livelihoods without having to destroy the earth in the process. 



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Help Support Sadhana Kenya on Facebook :)

Hey Everyone!

Join the event on facebook to help spread the word about Sadhana Forest- Kenya.

Invite your friends :)

Let's make this happen!

Thanks guys!!

or contribute directly to:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

100 reasons to support the Kenya project

Hello Everyone!

I decided to write 100 reasons why this project is an awesome project, and donating here is beneficial!

1.  Because instead of buying something that maybe later you will regret, or clothing that may shrink, or technical devices that may break, or food that will be eaten, or anything that can become old and outdated, instead you are contributing to a cause that will last longer than you and me.

2. My estimated percentage of success for this project is 100%.

3. This isn't the typical run of the mill charity organization, this is a project that will have significant
catalytic components, potentially inspiring much more than its region and perhaps even country! 

4. This project is serving multiple functions at the same time: Ecology, People, Health, Animals. 

5. Not only will this project benefit the locals, but also any travellers who find themselves in this region.  It's ability to inspire is its main attraction for people all over the world.

6.  The founders of Sadhana Forest, have a lot of experience in organization, working with people, creating forests.  They have already done it not only once, but 2 times! 

7.  The Samburu Tribe need support, this is a long term solution to their current crisis.

8.  It feels good to pay it forward.

9.  It gives you security in your life, to know that this place was created with the health of everyone on the planet in mind.  If you ever find yourself in a difficult situation, you know that there is a place, where you can go, in exchange for a little service work, you can live a happy life, close to nature, anytime you want, for however long you will. 

10.  Every penny is spent wisely,  I have lived in Sadhana Forest in India, everyone lives way below your typical 'standard' of comfort, but because of the overall joy of the place, there is absolutely no sense of 'lacking'.  This ensures money goes to where it is needed the most - educational programs and reforestation.

11.  Not only will Sadhana Forest help provide nourishment to those who may not have a choice to better their circumstances, they are doing it in the most thoughtful way!  They are providing them not with 'our food' but with their own!  Literally, all the trees will be bought from a local native tree nursery.  Education will be the focus, so this wonderful tribe will be able to receive the knowledge about how to keep their trees thriving!

12.  Having places like this, gives the rest of us hope. 

13.  Having places like this, inspires more of us, that we can perhaps do the same.

14.  It shows that another way of life is not only possible, but completely abundant in its own right.

15.  It's a way for cultures to come together, respectfully and share our knowledge and our resources as a unit.  This is how we create peace.

16.  It helps teach rural communities that city life isn't always what it may be portrayed as by TV.  That there are many westerners and affluent people who do well and prefer simple lives out of the hustle and bustle.  It helps balance out the perspective that many rural families have, when they assume that happiness means owning lots of cars and living in the city.

17.  It's fun!  Imagine the opportunity that becomes closer to reality every time a dollar is donated.  Want an opportunity to visit a beautiful forest in Kenya and learn about the customs of a whole new culture? 

18.   Indigenous trees! Not only are they going to be planting food trees, but indigenous ones!  This will enable that no matter environmental circumstances, the trees will most likely survive and do well for decades if not centuries! Depending on their life spans :)

19.  The animals will thank you.  Today we cause so much suffering to the animals of this world, because we keep digging into their habitats and taking them as prisoners for our needs and desires.  Not to mention the other abuse we inflict on to them throughout their lives in small cages. 
Sadhana Forest is a Vegan community.  Meaning they do not support the consumption of animal products nor the use of animals in their projects for any means.  Think of how many animals have been saved due to this ethic.  Thank you Sadhana Forest.

20.  Sadhana Forest is flexible.  It's a wonderful place to learn and to grow.  Not just because it attracts amazing brilliant people from all over the world, but because they themselves are open and receiving to grow and to become better.  When ideas are able to bounce from one person to the next freely, is when maximum learning and growing happens.  Nothing lays idol in Sadhana Forest.  The flow of knowledge is always on the bound.

21.  It teaches respect of nature.  Every part of your day, is in direct correlation with natural laws.  You sleep under natural buildings, your floor is the earth, your walls are your skin, your kitchen is your local farms, or your surrounding vegetation, your community is face to face, song to song, heart to heart.  Everything is real and for those not used to living in nature, it can be a shock, but eventually adoration is inevitable.  Nature is beautiful just the way it is.  Even with the mosquitoes. :)

22.  You are supporting people, who support people.  The more we can support the efforts of Sadhana Forest, the more Sadhana Forest can do more to support every person they get in touch with, every donated piece of property, every opportunity that comes their way.  Creating more beautiful places in our world.

23.  You know you want to.

24.  Even if you think you don't have the means- the money, the time, the contacts (to share the message with), actually these are only excuses, if there is a will, there is a way :)

25.  Even if you have a will and there seems to be no way, send your blessings :)  Send your dreams and your hopes.  That's good enough.  Thank you. 

26.  Because none of us can deny all of the times we have been helped in our lives, sometimes by loved ones, sometimes by friends, sometimes by strange coincidences and maybe even most times, by people we don't even know, without even realizing that they perhaps even saved our lives!  How will we ever repay them?  Maybe we can't, but we can pay forward :)

27.  Maybe you aren't interested, but perhaps you know someone who would be excited about this project, surprise them by donating on behalf of them. 

28.  Because perhaps out of all of the continents, Africa has had one of the toughest times in regards to keeping the peace, and economic development.  We owe it to them. 

29.  The land is already there!  We can't have idle land just laying there, we have to do something with it!

30.  Every tree planted takes 1 ton of CO2 out of the atmosphere in its lifetime.  Sadhana Forest will have a capacity for 100,000 seedlings every year to be given/sold away.  That's a lot of carbon they will be saving from the atmosphere!! 

31.  With every tree planted, soil is preserved.  With each grain of soil preserved, we are protecting our waters and the skeletal structure of Earth.  We are keeping our rivers clean and the medium of our life pure.

32.  Encouraging this project, encourages life!  We encourage the life of the Samburus, we encourage the lives of the animals, the ecosystem, the trees and the fish!

33.  Because of this opportunity, there will inevitably be many opportunities for volunteers and even local tribesmen to learn an awful lot.  These people could go on to being the next Gandhi.  We have no way of knowing. 

34.  If the world hits some kind of environmental degradation tipping point, we don't ever want to have to think back at our lives, and say, "What if".  Only if I had done everything I could, only if I had donated to all of the environmental organizations every time I had the opportunity.  Regret, perhaps, is the worst kind of disease.

35.  Sadhana Forest, has a huge emphasis on children's programs!  Children with an access to nature on a regular basis and opportunities to interact with it, have more of an opportunity to set aside their fears and admire the beauty which surrounds them.  Nature has an effect of bringing out children's creative sides in a way that doesn't take away from its beauty.  For example at Sadhana Forest- India I witnessed 2 small girls drawing pictures in the dirt for what seemed like hours, laughing and giggling away with each stroke the stick brushed against the loose soil.  Suddenly the littlest things provide the biggest entertainment.  What a difference from children raised in boxed environments, craving crafts and toys with a deep ecological footprint.   

36.   No pesticides are used, no fertilizers are used.  It means clean water, it means healthy farmers. 

37.  Bringing a community to Kenya, will bring holistic livelihoods to the locals, giving opportunities they may have never even dreamt of prior.

38.   The sooner Sadhana can get started the less likely that some developer will take over and seize everything for himself.  As of now we have the upper hand and Sadhana has real ethics, compared to many companies.. that just.. don't. 

39.  The more trees, the more likely rains will come, the more rain comes, the more life giving a place becomes.  We need more life giving places in our world. :)

40.  It can increase exposure to our knowledge of our world.  As it is, at least in the USA, we have a tendency to only focus on ourselves and our needs.  The more opportunity we have in our world to focus on real solutions for others as well, the more we become a balanced world.

41.  The more we support the Kenya project, the more interest it will generate, and the less we have to worry about if what little contribution we have made has actually made a difference.  It has, no matter how minuscule it may seem!  Even if it's as simple as visiting the page and mumbling a good luck.  It helps!

42.  If we support it enough, maybe they will become such an organization that will be able to support us eventually.  Maybe one day we decide we want to buy land or start a children's program about planting trees, how amazing would it be if there was an organization so successful that at a blink of an eye they could help any other amazing organization no questions asked.

43.  Because as it is, the human population has an overwhelming number of people supporting products and organizations which don't exactly have your or my health and welfare at the top of their concerns.  This needs to change.  These companies are causing economic crisis on earth, environmental destruction on the brink of collapse and serious health epidemics.  We need to shift our focus.

44.  Think if every person were to curb their cigarette addiction, Pepsi addiction, alcohol addiction, by instead of buying the product, donating to a worthy cause, can you imagine the different kind of world we would live in?? Supporting projects like these, is life changing, not only for you, me and the project, but the world! That is huge.

45.   The act of giving does wonders for your health and mental state.

46.  You create artistic inspiration.  Think of the soon to be connections made when this project is built. The integration of peoples and music and art.  People will be bound to become creative and make beautiful pieces of art.  Can we really deny the world this kind of beauty.. I don't think so.

47.  Because your friends are doing it ;P.. or at least I hope they are. 

48.  Most places in the world the water table is suffering severely.  We have created massive holes in the earth in places where we have over exceeded our capacity to take water from out of the earth.  Sadhana Forest uses cutting edge water conservation wisdom in order to preserve underground water tables as well as significantly increase their volumes!  You will be supporting water conservation and water table recharge.

49.  It is the holiday season!!  The holiday season cannot be complete without sharing your joy with the world! 

50.  I would be so happy. 

51.  It would prevent the tribe from finding alternative sources of income or food perhaps at a point of desperation.  People who are dying, and in desperate need of human basic needs, sometimes have a tendency to do very extreme acts.  For example, it's more common for crime to happen in inner city, low income neighborhoods because sometimes people become desperate.  I believe all people are good, but I believe that all people have the potential to be driven to scary measures when they are driven by survival e.g. committing crimes, stealing, breaking laws, abusive behaviors toward people, animals and nature.  Let's lend out a helping hand before measures get too extreme, you never know what's around the corner.

52.  Currently this tribe is receiving food aid from outside.  Food aid is what?  Most often times it means packaged foods, which cause huge amounts of wrappers, plastic, boxes and Styrofoam to have to be disposed of.  This is a huge environmental catastrophe we have created.  Currently small small plastic particles in the Pacific Ocean outweigh Plankton by over 50%.  Now that is a lot of plastic, any measures we can take to reduce our trash count, is beneficial.  Sadhana Forest, recycles everything they possibly can, they discourage any packaged and processed foods on site (as well as non-biodegradable toiletries)

 53.  There is an option to donate on behalf of somebody else, know anyone with a birthday coming up, or feel like having a different kind of Christmas this year?  It's one of the best gifts to receive!  I remember in college, I decided to study abroad in Norway and one of my best friends in New York decided to get together all of my friends and they all donated money on behalf of my birthday to Heifer International - an organization who gifts milking cows, or laying hens to families with no other source of income or food.  My friend sent me this package full of cards from my friends and a card from the organization stating what they had bought for a family and how it helped them.  I was so touched it brought me to tears.  There are absolutely no words for these kinds of gifts.

54.  The world needs this right now.

55.  The more we can show our love by actions, the more love actions will fill our world! 

56.  They say that 10% of what we earn we ought to give away.  I don't know about you, but I am not sure I have stayed true to that, perhaps because I have been in school and I have only really had one proper job in my life, but I think I'm ready to start changing my habits.  After living in India for so long, and realizing all of the ways us Americans have a tendency to overindulge on everything, while still complaining we have no money, is basically a crime.  Day after day in India I see people on the streets with nothing, literally, and some even still manage a smile or a laugh.  What I am trying to say is, we aren't as poor as we think we are, if you have access to the Internet, you are richer than 30% of the planet.  We can afford to help out.

57.  Because we need to expand our wisdom on this topic.  We are dealing with native plant varieties, natural building, water conservation, and nutrition.  Sadhana Forest has started two Forests so far - India and Haiti, but the more it can expand to new places, the more we will learn so much about a whole new range of flora and land characteristics.  The more learned about these new variations of plants and soils, the better apt Sadhana Forest will be to help others in similar locations, and also to expand their own libraries of knowledge on reforestation techniques and restoration work.  Each place is different, however every place aids in the knowledge for the next new place.

58.  We only have one Earth.  Unless we create some crazy clone capacity - like replicating the Earth, we only have one.  We have to treat her with as much care and respect as we can if we wish to stick around.

59.  We need to preserve everything related to natural systems as fast as we can, because there is a much more powerful destroying force at the moment that will wipe all the wisdom and good work away if we decide not to pay attention.

60.  It expands our contact with new languages.  Learning new languages is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life, seeing a world through a whole new perspective, what a gift it is that the world is full of beautiful languages, let's relish in that, and give ourselves the opportunity to experience them first hand!

61.  To ease people like me, I have this overwhelming desire to go to Kenya and help out.  But without the funds, this opportunity is a no go. 

62.  Maybe you actually have an abundant supply of wealth, and you aren't sure just what to do with it, if you feel like taking my word for it..  this is a great, amazing place you can feel happy about putting your money.  :)

63. This will open up opportunities to the Samburu tribe that perhaps they didn't have before.  For example they may have better access to health care and treatment.

64.  Creative project, create creative projects.  Who knows, by creating this place, we have no idea what could be around the corner, maybe they will start some organization which takes in recyclables or trash and creates beautiful buildings and bridges out of them.  Maybe those bridges will inspire the world!  Obviously my mind can only give understatements of the possibilities out there, but they must be huge!

65.  This is a great place to become fit, volunteers work at least 4 hours per day and often times it involves lots of walking, digging, planting, carrying equipment, this builds muscles!  This is a fitness center!  Not only fitness center but great for cleaning out the pollution in the lungs and getting fresh food and water, its a rejuvenation center.

66.  It's a place to go and connect with people from around the globe.  If you are ever feeling lonely, Sadhana Forest is for you!  They will make you feel at home and take you in as one of them.  Suddenly you will have a home in all corners of the world because the nature of the place attracts worldly travelers. 

67.  If you are feeling stuck in your career, or in your life.  Go to Sadhana Forest, being in the open breeze and feeling the earth beneath your feet, you will feel alive.  You may even want to stay.  And so what?  Who cares, you can stay as long as you want.  You will never have to worry about becoming to stagnated at the forest, people are always holding workshops on beautiful topics, knowledge is always flowing. 

68.  Maybe you keep hearing from me how amazing it is, but hey, it's not just me, they even were rewarded with 3rd place the Water and Humanitarian Award 2010 in regards to their international recognition of the quality of their humanitarian and ecological efforts.  The award was from Denmark!    Let's help them get more awards!

69.  They have a gift economy.  No money is used inside of the Forest among volunteers and visitors,  they believe that people should share the gifts they love doing with others.  This enables the community to joyfully interact with each other while making sure everyone's needs are met. 

70.  Not only do they focus on having a clear environment they also focus on having clean inner bodies.  This is a rare one to find in ecological organizations.  Sometimes us green folk have a tendency to get so caught up in the pressing issues of the world that we fail to see what is right in front of us, and the gifts in every moment.  However, Sadhana is equally focused on meditation and yoga.  They love singing and chanting, they enjoy meditation and tree meditation.  It's equally important to keep our inner bodies clear as without that compass all else will never be clean enough. 

71.  They have really cool inventions.  At the start of Sadhana Forest -Auroville - India, they collected energy from bicycles!!  They have a movie night every Friday, so on Fridays they would all pedal away for hours in order to have enough energy to power the movie!!  Too cool.

72. The survival rate of the trees they plant is 80-90%, even on the most degraded soils its 70%.  They know how to do it right.

73.  They have a warm relationship with all of the surrounding villages.  It's rare to see foreigners come to a place and really hit it off, but they did it, and they can do it again.

74.  Ecological workshops are a regular item on the menu.

75.  They teach compassion to children.  Over 1000 kids have planted trees from surrounding villages and 200 come regularly to care for trees. 

76.  This is one of my favorite reasons,  Because what they do is so in line with what nature intended for us, that very little happens when they experience a natural disaster.  When Hurricane Thane hit last January, it took months for many communities to regain power and water supply.  Sadhana Forest had power and water in a couple of days.  They lost only a few buildings, but nothing that would take much effort to rebuild.  Even if something couldn't be rebuilt, those materials happily get absorbed back into the earth and create lovely soil for all species.  The same can't be said about buildings we typically build in today's world.  It is an ugly wreck when hurricanes hit our 'modern' homes.  And there are so many chemicals and non-biodegradable materials, we fill landfill after landfill in our cleanup efforts.  Let's support natural building, alternative energy and water conservation, so we too can be less affected by natural disasters.

77.  Good projects deserve a chance.

78.  All opportunities that support people who may not have another chance, deserve a chance.

79.  Fill in the blank, I'm sure you have a good reason :)

80.  No reason.  Let's give for the sake of giving.

81.  Remember what mother said, don't put all your coins in one purse.  It's to your benefit to add coins in different places :)

82.  It's better to shoot for the stars and miss, than hit a mud pie and hit straight on.  It's better to try and help out, even if it seems so far away, than to support something that just isn't doing any thing to better themselves or the world. 

83.  The world is merely a reflection.  All that you see is you.  So actually supporting this, is no different from supporting yourself. 

84.  Be the change you wish to see in the world.  Now I don't know what kind of change you wish for in the world, and maybe this kind of change isn't the kind of change you might like.  That's great, so find what it is that inspires you and do it!  And who knows maybe your inspired self and Sadhana will end up working together some day and magical things might happen.  lol we just can't know these things.  However if you wish for peace, sustainability, happiness, this place is it.  Live the change by actually checking this place out, be it.

85.  They show really cool movies every week. 

86.  Because they depend on us.  They sell nothing!!  They take nothing away from the earth so that they can make a profit.  They depend on the goodness of others to help them create more places like this on Earth.  Once the place is made, they don't need anything.  How awesome is that?  Can't we make a world where we only work 4 hours a day, we share in eveyone's gifts and we live in a way where our bodies can be healthy and vibrant?  I think we can!!  :)

87.  Because it will give you great karma points.  :) If not from some divine source, at least karma points from me :)

88.  Because the future is unknown.  We never know what tomorrow brings.  We might as well give while we are here and we have the capacity to. 

89.  People will think higher of you the more you give away.

90.  You might even swoon over a gf or a bf by your impressive giving abilities
- maybe even a husband or a wife!

91.  We easily spend money on computers, phones, phone bills, movies and more food than we need sometimes.  But its possible that we don't always have to.  We can skip some of our 'desires' every now and again.  It's possible.  It's possible to allocate that money to a significant cause. 

92.  They have limited electricity usage throughout the day.  Maybe this can be aggravating at times, but actually, it's liberating.  We have become drones to our computers and our phones, we need more opportunities in life where we can be without them.  Suddenly time expands and we notice the moments and beauty around us more.  Let's promote a simpler life. 

93.  Advertisements are taking over our life.  I know this list may seem excessive, but how many advertisements do we see on greening the environment compared with all other advertisements?  I guess the green movement has been picking up in recent years, but it's still pretty negligible considering how many people don't really pay attention to the trash they generate, items they purchase and the environmental impact and the products they use which pollute ground water supply - this is only naming a few.  let's support more green education in advertising.

94.  They are vegans!  Their environmental impact is significantly less than most other green organizations, which I am familiar with at least.  (but that doesn't mean that we still shouldn't support them all ...:) )

95.  Not caring about the environment, is just no longer cool. 

96.  They have a non-chlorinated pool! If we are lucky they will have one in Kenya, everyone deserves a chance to go swimming in a clean place on a hot day.

97. They encourage the use of bicycles, and everyone is given a bike on their first day at Sadhana!  They have a bike manager and they make sure to upkeep all of the bikes.  They practice what they preach.

98.They love animals.  They have several dogs on site and a cat.  Many places in India will beat the dogs and chase them away, but sincere is the place that allows the animals to be.  This is beauty. 

99.  Everyone works together, everything gets accomplished as a team.  There is something very satisfying about that.

100.  Sadhana Forest doesn't believe in competition, there are no competitive games on site, this is important because it enables everyone to have a good time, without these judgment calls and ego trips.  Clean fun, Sadhana Forest is clean fun, and they show the world that it's possible. 

THANK YOU.  lol I think I may have to donate to YOU if you actually read through my whole list! 

Leave a comment, would love to hear from you.

Hope you are having an amazing holiday season.

and despite all of my reasons, please don't donate out of guilt haha I just did this for fun.

You are cool no matter what you decide.  :)

all the best,

(a bit of an update, we reached our inititial goal of 10,000 USD, and now we are on our second round of fundraising this time with a 5,000 dollar goal.  Thank you so much for your support :))

UPDATE (april 2014, please contribute from this site :::::

Sadhana Forest Kenya- a permaculture project!


Fresh air, fresh food, genuine smiles, sincere indigenous forest making and open beautiful natural buildings – these are a few qualities that come to mind when I think of Sadhana Forest in Auroville- India. Sadhana Forest is a sustainable reforestation community which was created 9 years ago. They started off with 70 acres of barren soil, and a borewell that had to go down 26 feet before hitting water. Today they enjoy abundant green surroundings with 30% of the plant species being native and an increase in ground water by 6 meters.

Their community in India has done so well that it brings over 1000 volunteers from all over the world annually to their grounds for a minimum of at least 2 weeks. Inspiration has spread like fire throughout the world and soon they found themselves a parent of a daughter reforestation site in Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti after the earthquake. They are directly fighting hunger and malnutrition by providing native food trees and knowledge. Sadhana Forest in Haiti is working with locals helping them create food forests and kitchen gardens. To date over 40,000 trees have been planted in this area, and a 55,000 tree nursery has been created. The project is no short term solution, it is a long term solution approach, focusing on a sustainable local food supply, alternative energy- solar, soil quality- regular composting of food waste in addition to dry toilet composting, education and water conservation. The education element includes permaculture design certificate courses, helping others understand more deeply the systems behind the work that is being done.

Sadhana Forest's newest endeavor is creating another daughter project in Kenya. The location is in the area of the Maralal in the Samburu district. The indigenous people suffer from severe malnutrition as they are in the process of switching from pastoralism to an agricultural based lifestyle. This has proven very difficult for them as their soils are severely eroded and they do not possess expertise in regenerating soils. The most pressing problem due to the lack of their nutritional needs being met is a high child mortality rate, with only the strongest of newborns standing a chance of reaching maturity.1 This problem is one among: Infant malnutrition, pre-term labor and high mother/infant mortality.

Sadhana Forest is equipped to assist with their expertise, experience and enthusiasm -enabling a health and environmental transformation ineluctable! All they require now is the funds in order to start the work. The minimal amount needed to jump-start the project is $10,000. However, the full cost for the whole setup including salaries of local people for 2 years would be $250,000. So far 1% of funds have been met.

The first action plans for Sadhana Forest – Kenya will be to build a nursery, drill a bore well and construct an infrastructure for a training center. 

The plan from then, is as follows:

Once the tree nursery and the training center are built, we will start producing seedlings at a rate of 100,000 per year, and training members of the local community in basic water conservation and tree planting techniques. 

Those trained will receive free seedlings that they can plant in their kitchen gardens. 

Emphasis will be given to those trees that provide highly nutritious food. We already identified more than 30 species of trees, shrubs and grasses that can grow in our area and can provide nutritious, diverse and tasty food. 
The recent success of our project in Haiti makes us confident that, together with the Samburu people, we will be able to create a strong, positive impact in the Maralal area.
The project in Kenya will have a large volunteer team, headed by an experienced volunteer project director.”
  • citation taken directly from the wethetrees fundraising site:

Any support in this endeavor would be greatly appreciated. Whether it is through volunteering, funds, or even just sharing the message with others.

More information can be found about Sadhana Forest from their website:

To donate and see more about the Kenya project visit:

Contact Esther at:

Contact the director of Sadhana Forest, Aviram, at:

1. Spencer, P. "Samburu Notions of Health and Disease and Their Relationship to Inner Cleanliness." Samburu Notions of Health. East African Institute of Social Research, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2012.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Polar Bears

There's so many amazing causes out there.

I know there are so many organizations out there that I don't receive emails from, but as it is I do receive emails from quite a few.

Maybe I don't have enough money to buy them all out.  But I do have an opportunity to help spread the word and contribute when I get a chance.

Basically what the above link is - its about how the arctic has been opened up for drilling, and polar bears are at stake, along with all of the other amazing animals who live there.

I've taken the below from the greenpeace page:

"For the first time ever the federal government has opened up polar bear habitat for oil drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas of the Arctic. Shell tried to drill there this summer and failed. But the oil giant will be back to drill again next year.

It’s up to us to stop that from happening.
 Thanks to you, we’ve just sent over 50,000 letters calling on President Obama to suspend Shell’s permits and call a ‘timeout’ from Arctic drilling. With your gift today, we’ll mobilize millions around the world, pressure global leaders to sign our ‘Arctic Declaration,’ work to create a global sanctuary in the high Arctic, lead an expedition to the Arctic to plant a flag for all humanity and support all the work we do to protect the environment. "

How can we:

A. Take legislative action so we can be more mindful about where we extract resources from.

B. Advance technology
- either in design or by making things easier to reuse and repair to a point where  we consume very little resources or better yet, learn to build amazing structures and gadgets from waste material. Really take all of our alternative energy knowledge to the next level, I have heard of energy from gravity, crystals, magnets.. is any of this true? Can we really take it to the next level, Planet Earth is full of amazing people with amazing ideas and inventions, how do we bring those minds together? There must be practical affordable solutions to every challenge we face. Actually just found this- gravity light -

The promotion of Hydrogen fuel cells and other alternatives-

C. Redesign our cities in a way where we need very little driving for our errands, work, etc.

D. Change our behaviors so we need less, we crave less. Why do we need so much anyway?

Anyway, those a few dreams! Hope you guys have a good day!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Make a difference

After my time in Sadhana Forest, I really became inspired.

I started studying to go back to school, I feel like I am on track

Sadhana Forest is so engaged with the community and they are so in line with what they believe in regards to everything they do- from the food they eat to the way they do laundry (a bucket of water and a rock).

You know that every penny spent is spent wisely, because what they care about are people and forests- the ecosystem at large.

I heard about this Kenya project, which they have gotten the land, they just haven't gotten the funds to actually start working there yet.  I researched a bit online, and I started applications for crowdfunding sites.

The project ended up getting accepted onto 3 sites, but we ( Aviram - Founder of Sadhana, and his team) decided that we'd stick to one and see how it goes.

The project was launched today, and I couldn't be more excited.  If you feel the holiday spirit and wish to make a contribution, I just want to express my deepest gratitude in advance!  Thank you!!  Regardless, if you do feel inspired feel free to share it with your friends and family :)

All the best on this very auspicious day!  12/12/12

- also if you are curious to learn more, check out my other two blog posts - food forest in the making and 100 reasons to support the Kenya Project

UPDATE:::: donate from here (April 2014)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Planting a Tree: Sadhana Forest Style

I was lucky to be at Sadhana Forest during the time of planting trees!

They plant trees 1 month out of the year, the rest of the time they do water conservation work- creating bunds and reservations of water.

It was great to see how they planted trees because I had never seen anything like it before!

Planting a Tree:

what you will need:
-Shovel or a mumtee (Indian Shovel)
-3-4 buckets of water
-1 bucket of compost
-Cut plastic pipe - 2 feet high with a diameter of 2ft
-Pick axe or a crow bar
-2 wheelbarrows full of mulching material (dry leaves, woodchips, dried plants, paper, etc)
-a tree!

If you are feeling extra ambitious
-an empty water bottle- cap included
-1.5 foot long rope
-small cut pipe or hose 3inches long with a diameter of 1 inch
-adhesive- glue

- Instructions for the latter -
This is  new technique we started using in Sadhana forest to increase watering efficiency for the trees, typically when you water trees from the top, only about 40% of the water makes it to the tree- if that.

- cut a hole in the bottom of the water bottle a little over an inch in diameter.  
-put the rope through the pipe and tie a knot at the end of the rope.  
- Put the side of the pipe with the knot into the hole of the water bottle.  Make sure that the knot is inside of the water bottle, while the pipe can just be touching the hole of the water bottle from the outside. 
-Glue the pipe to the water bottle so that the hole of the water bottle meets the hole of the pipe.  Ensure that there is no point where water could leak.

-Find a place to plant your tree!  If you know what kind of tree you have, it would be helpful to look online how big your tree will get, and plan your place accordingly.  Read up on what type of soil your tree likes and what kind of climate it's used to, as well as how much water is needed.  Also consider if your tree does best in full sun, partial sun or shade.

-Get a crow bar and make the point you wish to plant the tree,  draw a circle around that crowbar, leaving a circle with about 1 meter in diameter.

-Place your 2ftx2ft cut pipe in the center of that circle.

-Start digging outside of that circle you just created.  Don't dig inside of the circle.  All of the dirt dug from outside of the circle will need to be put next to the pipe - not inside of the pipe.  This will eventually create a mound surrounding the center pipe.

-Once your mound is created, pour 2-3 buckets of water inside of your central pipe.  This allows water to be absorbed where it's needed the most.  The reason we dig outside of the circumference of the circle is so that we don't disturb the soil directly in contact with the tree roots.  There are many processes at work under the surface, and for maximum tree growth efficiency those processes need to be left as is.  This is why we dig outside of where the tree will be planted and have direct contact with the soil.

Day 1 is complete!

Continue your work the following day, to allow water absorption!

- get 1 bucket of compost.
- one tree
-one special water bottle (made above) optional
-1 bucket of water
-lots of mulching material - few wheelbarrows.

- First place the water bottle in the center of the pipe, make sure the rope attached to the bottle touches where the tree will be placed.
- Put the tree in the pipe.
-Start pouring the compost in the pipe, burying the roots of the tree and the waterbottle
- Once the roots of the tree is covered, pour about half of the bucket of water over the compost.
- Make sure the soil on the outside of the pipe and the compost on the inside of the pipe are about at equal height.  Try to flatten the soil within a 5'' radius of the outside of a pipe - preferably create a small mote with you hands in this area.  Pour some water into this little mote.
-Take out the pipe! You may need two people to do this.
- Smooth out and pat down the area that the pipe was.  Making sure the tree is well secure.
- Fill the water bottle with water, and close the lid - the water bottle can now water the tree slowly over the next few days.  However, the tightness of the lid will determine how much water is able to flow out.  The tighter the lid, the less water will trickle to the tree, the more open the lid, the more water.  -Experiment with what works best for your tree!
- Now cover the base of the tree and the sides of the mound with mulch!  We used dried leaves from the forest, but whatever you have access to will also work - dry grass clippings, hay, straw, saw dust.. any dry plant material would be great!  This prevents erosion and increases soil processes which keep the tree healthy, it's also a great way to preserve water in the soil!

Happy Plantings!

Friday, November 23, 2012

2 weeks in Sadhana Forest

Past couple of weeks, were spent in Sadhana Forest (70 acres of land being replanted with native trees, started by a family 7 years ago, who came from Israel and welcomed every volunteer that came their way)

I've posted already a brief description of the forest in one of my blogs from October.

What I love about Sadhana Forest, is their attention to detail.  Upon arrival for my stay I was greeted immediately by one of the long term volunteers and given a brief tour.  A more extensive welcome was to come later, so in the meantime I wandered around and made myself useful in the kitchen! Helping to prepare lunch.

After lunch they set us up ( me along with 4 other volunteers who arrived the same day) in our rooms and gave us toiletries along with a more detailed explanation of their rules and norms.

Quite simple accommodations, but a great way to reconnect to nature!  We had a roof over our heads, blanket walls, and a tall bed with a mosquito net.  No floor, no AC, no electricity, no heater, no lights, no table, no shelf, no drawers.  Me, a roof, a bed and hey, a roommate!

Completely open to the outside, to all the little squirrels, dogs, cats, lizards, and yes even snakes.

I know, this intimidated me at first too.  But soon it's very apparent, that it's as comfortable or as uncomfortable as you decide to make it.

In the beginning I was pretty scared of the whole.. what if I see a snake under my bed??  What if some strange creature tries to crawl into bed with me?

But night after night, I found the nighttime to be peaceful, free of all of my abstract stories of, what ifs..

okay okay, fine apart from one, where a cat did jump on the side of my bed, meowed and jumped off.. granted she did scare the dickens out of me.. but only for the moment because just following it was both mine and my roommates roaring laughter.

It's the community cat.  There is one cat in Sadhana forest, and she is a complete cutie.  Super fluffy and elegant.  She likes to make her rounds.

Sadhana forest is a community with a strong ethic.

They are clear about making a positive impact on our planet through the way we live.

They presented us upon arrival with all natural soaps and toiletries.  We received this amazing smelling cinnamon soap, powder shampoo, powder toothpaste - made from their own neem trees, and discouraged us from using any of our own products that would leave contaminants in the soil.

I decided to follow their rules and only use neem sticks and tooth powder to brush my teeth, along with only using water to wash my face, as well as only shampoo powder for the hair.

To be honest.. I was a little unsure if I could do it.. especially my skin is very sensitive and prone to breakouts.  And I am very finicky about cleaning my teeth.

However.. I found all my fears were far from the actuality of things.  After a few days of cleaning only with neem sticks and tooth powder.. I could tell my teeth were actually much cleaner than with toothpaste!! If you think about it.. toothpaste has soo many preservatives, and additives.. not to mention sugar to make it taste good and glycerin that coats your teeth inhibiting your bodies natural ability to clean your teeth.

Now that I have the opportunity to brush with toothpaste again.. I miss the neem sticks!

In regards to not using soap on my face.. you wouldn't believe.. but no breakouts!  Not one in Sadhana forest.. and maybe that also had to do with the overrall amazing lifestyle.

-24/7 access to fresh air- sleeping basically in the open.. living in the open - all buildings are open to the outside.
- daily(if not more) access to a beautiful pond to go swimming in!  Not only just a pond, but the bottom is this rich soil/clay.. which is an awesome exfoliate!
- physically active lifestyle
- fun environment
- plenty of time for vitamin D absorption from the sun!

So no problem with the toiletries!

The community aspect of Sadhana forest is definitely memorable.

The community is very welcoming and happy for everyone and anyone to come and stay.

The day is set up like this:
5:45am wake up song (2 members of the community go around singing for everyone to wake up)
  ( don't get intimidated by the early rise.. basically getting up this early is easy here, because it's the same time the sun gets up.. being basically outside.. it's much easier to be connected to the natural rhythms of our systems)
6:15am morning circle ( goodmornings to the other volunteers, selection of 1st seva, morning hugs, songs and other waking up activities)
6:30 am 1st Seva - tree planting, breakfast making, water conservation - bunding, watering, childrens land, etc. etc - they are also totally open if you have a project in mind that you are interested in doing!
8:30am Breakfast!
9:30am 2nd seva
12:30 pm Lunch

Free for the rest of the day!

6:30 pm dinner

Then every week each person is given 2 extra community shifts, and if anyone is interested in volunteering for other community weekly tasks for a week, they are welcomed and encouraged to do so.

Apart from that, you have a lot of time to explore auroville, surrounding farms, chatting and attending any workshops that may be held at the forest....
-tree meditation
-other meditations
-language workshops - italian, french, german
- basically any talents that people feel like sharing.

Then their are weekly norms:
Sunday evening - community forum - volunteers speak about community aspects that are working or that aren't working.  Long term volunteers go through the rules of the forest, the sevas, the schedule and assign weekly sevas out to people

Monday evening - community sharing - everyone has the opportunity to communicate his or her feelings.. challenges they are facing, joys they are experiencing.. just anything they wish to share.

Wednesday evening- Open stage- untalent show!  Anyone wishing to share a talent or an untalent.. welcome to perform! Afterwards chanting and songs happen!

 Thursday evening - night out!  no dinner is served- you can stay if you wish but otherwise can make a trip to pondy or auroville with everyone.

Friday - tour, dinner and eco movie night!  Sadhana forest welcomes anyone interested in learning more about their work for dinner and a movie - along with a tour.

Saturday and Sunday only breakfast and dinner are provided, no sevas - except particular ones are expected be done on these days.  Free days :)

Overall the life at Sadhana forest from the outside, may seem intimidating but actually it's very fulfilling.  The relationships built with others at the forest become quite strong even after only a few short days.  Because everyone is experiencing something new and fun together.  Everyone is helping each other and no one person is responsible for everything.  It's a great feeling to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

More to come about Sadhana Forest, but I'll stop for now :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

100 ways to know you've made the right decision, or have been making a string of the right decisions.

So yesterday I had a lot of fun making the list of 100 things, I decided to make another one.

It's interesting to me, that the more learned, the more you realize you actually don't really understand it.  I mean, there is an understanding, but really diving into one field, it's as if knowledge is a tree, and every time you think you've zoned in on a specific aspect of that tree- perhaps one branch, it's as if that branch becomes another tree, and every time you further specify your search, you notice dozens of little branches actually coming out of that branch, and each smaller branch containing just as many smaller branches connecting to it.  Life is really amazing that way, everything is so connected that trying to only learn one thing, is either very disconnected from the entire picture, or learning one thing means actually learning many many things.

I'm learning the art of making decisions.  So I decided that this would be a nice topic to try and go for a list of 100 in.  looking at it now, I'm going to pretend I know 100 ways to know if you've made the right decision, but we will soon find out if I can off the top of my head, list some!

1.  You feel at peace.
2. Maybe no one else agrees with what you've decided, but your inner determination is so strong that no other voice but your own matters.
3.  You feel free.
4.  You feel excited and ready to start every day.
5.  Even with the thoughts of all of the worst possible outcomes of that decision, your heart is happy and singing regardless.
6.  Your brain may still be in a bit of turmoil, but despite it's attempts to sabotage your happiness, you cannot stop yourself from making this decision.
7.  There is no doubt in your heart, that this choice was 100% in line with your most innermost values.
8.  People may not agree with what you've decided, but some of them really can't help but notice the sparkle in your eye!
9.  Suddenly the choices of others don't really bog you down, or phase you even, because you feel so content with where you are, and the choices that you are making.
10.  Getting out of bed every day, is as enjoyable as a date with your best friend.
11.  Even if the body may be experiencing some health challenges, your mind is clear.
12.  Even if the body is experiencing some pain, the mind doesn't attach suffering to it.
13.  Not only can you see the benefits for yourself directly, but you see the positive effects of this decision actually also benefiting others - either directly or indirectly.
14.  Whether you are aware of it or not, you've become an inspiration to others.
15. Even the seemingly most daunting task, doesn't seem so serious.
16. All the negative remarks you may still be getting from others, hardly phase you.
17. Previous addictive behaviors you may have had, have either vanished or have significantly reduced.
18.  That inner yearning for appreciation from others isn't quite there anymore.
19.  You can feel the compassion for yourself, ever expanding.
20.  Your happiness feels one with others happiness.
21.  There is a bubbly bursting feeling inside of your gut.
22.  An excitement for life is full, and everything has become interesting!
23. Your ability to focus your attention has increased!
24.  Despite some fears, you don't allow them to get in the way of what you really want.
25.  Any worry over money is gone.
26.  Any worry about how you are spending your time, is less or absent.
27.  The smallest things, become fascinating and life changing for you.
28.  Your skin has taken on a bit of a glow
29.  You find yourself craving fresh fruits and veggies.
30.  Somehow time seems to be expanding.
31.  Insight starts to come in a different kind of way, which you could never have expected.
32. Synchronicities seem to be in full bloom
33.  Laughter happens more often than not.
34.  You find yourself surrounded mostly by people who are joyful to be around.
35.  People who you typically didn't associate with or who weren't really your type, suddenly you are able to find so much in common with them!
36.  Every moment of your day, seems to be in line with your higher most values.
37.  The thought of your family, brings a smile to your face.
38.  Sometimes you are so much in the present moment and enjoying, mealtimes are no longer the central feature of your day, you even find yourself forgetting that a meal time had come and gone!  Yet, no hunger pangs!
39.  The quality of the air that fills your lungs, brings you joy.
40.  You feel complete.
41.  Instead of seeking so much advice, you start noticing people seeking you for advice.
42.  It's joyful to tell your story.
43.  It's inspiring to tell your story.
44.  Your story connects to the hearts of everyone who listens to it.
45.  You feel great appreciation for your journey.
46.  You feel great appreciation for each and every person in your life.
47.  You see the truth in any words spoken.
48.  The need to impress is gone.
49.  The need to show off any material wealth is no longer needed.
50.  You feel comfortable being you.
51.  There is absolutely no other place that you would rather be.
52.  There is absolutely no other feeling, that you would rather be feeling!
53.  There is absolutely no other journey that you would have rather taken.
54.  There is absolutely no person in your life that you wish would disappear.
55.  The blessings in all of life, are clear.
56.  All of your challenges, seem more like opportunities.
57.  Learning hasn't ever been so fun.
58.  You feel strong about asking for what you want.
59.  You feel strongly about not taking things at face value.
60.  It's easy to disconnect what others say and what they actually mean.
61.  You feel strong to try things you have never tried before.
62.  Suddenly your ego, has taken a bit of a backseat.
63.  Accomplishments are no longer the goal.
64.  Connection ignites the motivation
65.  Energy is abounding
66.  Doubts come, but the joy overrides it.
67.  Less overeating
68.  Less sleep is needed
69.  The mind is quieter
70. Meditation is easier.
71. New ideas are in flow.
72. Creativity abounds.
73. You no longer feel the need to defend yourself.
74. You no longer feel the need to judge yourself.
75. You no longer feel the need to convince anyone.
76.  Trust flows.
77.  The heart feels open and receptive.
78.  The mind is optimistic and curious
79.  Negative reactions are less.
80.  Because of the choice, suddenly it feels there are so many doors opening up to you!
81.  Things you once easily overlooked, become almost impossible to overlook now.
82.  Time is no longer rushed
83.  It seems even if you aren't physically smiling, it always feels like your smiling.
84.  External temperatures effect you a little less.
85. The world seems to have really developed a keen sense of humor
86.  It's difficult for  you to deny anyone or anything your love
87.  you recognize everything in your life as a gift
88.  You find that there is hardly anything to complain about.
89.  The past isn't even a part of your thinking anymore.
90.  The future is only bright
91.  It's easy to express yourself.
92.  You feel calm.
93.  Your ability to learn and acquire new skills has doubled
94.  There is an inner glow of confidence
95.  There is an excitement to share your heart with others.
96.  There is a deep sense of belonging.
97.  Everything is good the way it is!
98.  Friends seem to be there, wherever you are!
99.  There seems to be less negative reaction on a cellular level to your surroundings, less sunburns, allergies, mosquito bites.
100.  You would be willing to go through the decision making process all over again, because of the bliss you are currently living!

My husband talks about, whatever you are seeking for yourself, freely give it to others.

I do feel I have made a lot of right decisions in my life, and now that I am at another cross roads, it's helpful to look at all sides of the situation.  These lists according to my husband help open doors to your heart that maybe haven't fully been explored in seeking the answers to life's questions.

May you be happy, may you make awesome decisions!

All the best. :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My list of 100 sustainable life options for the year or years to come

So, I am still feeling this tension between going back to school and not going back to school.  My husband gave me a good idea about writing a list of 100 possible things you could do in the next five years:

1- Go back to school in Utah - spend time with family, friends and pets.  Time in Nature, learning about soil science and agroecology.  Will be able to use that knowledge wherever I go.

2- Go back to school somewhere else - for example canada- learn water and land management be able to do city planning work.. or other land development work.  Relatively inexpensive and a one year program.  Or study green technology - green walls and roofs  Study sustainability management - the art of helping companies become more green and sustainable.

3- Study live food nutrition.

4- Work on a vegan farm

5- Get a job in a green company - rainforest alliance, greenpeace, etc.

6- Work again for an environmental consulting company, save up for more expensive programs - for example .. like the 2 month long multicourse for permaculture in Australia.

7- Start a vegan cafe

8- Continue on and promote the current vegan catering

9-Spend a few years at Sadhana Forest - really get involved.

10- Spend some months or more at Gorukana - write a book about the indigenous people and draw
up a list of all of their plant species and what they use them all for.

11- Continue working more proactively with my husbands foundation.  Dedicate myself to helping it become more sustainable. (which basically it really wouldn't be much to do, but maybe things like - order pen and notepads from sustainable contributors, make sure when he travels - he travels by train... etc.)

12- yoga teacher training

13- raw chef training

14- Stay in Pune and take a bunch of classes - botany, land remediation, hindi, music classes, dance
    -year long ecological course - with ecological society of Pune

15-Start painting full time for sustainable causes - currently I am working on a painting of horse, once finished it will be sold and all proceeds will go to a horse ranch in New York which saves horses about to be slaughtered or who are badly abused.  They also save other animals like, cats, dogs, goats, sheep, etc.

16. Get Hula Hoop teacher trained.

17.  Dedicate myself full time to only using sustainable energy, bicycling everywhere, grow as much food in my apartment as possible, no electric appliances and no gas.  Find natural alternatives to food preparation, lights, cooling and heating systems - DIY stuff.

18.  Make seed bombs full time.  Spend all of my time throwing them around town :)
 Or get seeds from Vandana Siva and other organic farms, plant them in otherwise throw-awayables and give them away to people so they can start their porch gardens.

19.  Make a fermenting business - fermented fruit and vegetable drinks for probiotics and health.

20.  Start playing piano again, hold concerts for supporting ecological causes.

21. Continue to network with all of the vegans, raw foodists, permaculturists, organic food producers, sustainable communities, eco-resorts, eco-businesses.  Keep blogging about their work, form stronger networks and pathways between their work.

22. Work on my mindfulness.  Enjoying every moment.  Chewing every bite atleast 30x.  Practicing gratitude everyday.  Working on Inner peace, no matter my outside choices.

23.  Dedicate to learning something new everyday.  Researching where our 'stuff' comes from, how it is made and what the most sustainable options are in terms of, watches, computers, etc.

24.  Take some classes on sustainable technologies, water filtration systems, alternative energy - for example - sustainable dance floors (floors harvesting energy from people!)

25.  My friend is an art teacher who makes art with the kids out of otherwise throw-awayables - pencil shavings, small pieces of paper.. etc.  They also collect used film from movie theatres and create cool things, like lamp shades out of them!

26.  Work/volunteer in an orphanage

27.   work/volunteer at an animal shelter

28.  Study wholistic animal care/ animal nutrition.  Many of our beloved pets are fed sick animals from slaughter houses, and roadkill.  Many of our beloved pets develop all sorts of strange diseases over time due to this unhealthy food.  Is there a better way to care for them?  Can our animals be fed a more wholistic diet?

29.  Another friend here in Pune works in collecting other peoples unwanted stuff, and sells it at huge 'garage-like-sales'  Not only does she re-sell, but she re-creates them into beautiful works of art.  She has a workshop where she cuts glass bottles in half, paints them and puts lights inside of them!  A great decoration for any modern/metro type household or would be fabulous in any cafe, restaurant, bar or club!

30.  Create a recycling center in India.  There are hardly any here.

31.  Travel the world and find communities like Gorukana who have only recently blended with modern society.  How can we learn from them?  Can we show genuine interest in their lifestyles so they can see that their way of life is amazing as well!  How can we work among the indigenous people's so we can get the best of both worlds - westernization and our roots!

32.  Eco fashion -
some the issues with the system we have today:

- I met someone in Delhi who uses natural/plant dyes for all of her organic cotton clothes!  Beautiful stuff and actually affordable!
Here is another link in the same line:

33. Exploring energy healing more.  I have my Reiki level II, I use it just about every day.  For everything from minor aches and pains to any emotional or other issue.  I've used it in a few situations and surprisingly I've gotten pretty good results!  Every time I don't take western medicine I support a world which doesn't test animals in a cruel way for all of our medicinal needs.  I support a world where we aren't giving our health into the hands of anybody but ourselves.  I'm not saying there aren't situations in which we need outside support, but just saying, there may be a better way.

34.  Studying holistic teeth care.  Currently finding practitioners who understand the teeth on a much deeper level, than just giving quick fixes or pulling out the problem (root canals) is difficult.  I do believe that teeth are meant to be healthy, and I do believe our diet influences them.

35. Converting my car to work on vegetable oil.  Start a small business in helping other cars convert.

36.  Learn clay pottery.  Many people in the world still use clay pots, they are great for oil-free cooking!  And much healthier than Teflon.

37.  Travel to South America, stay at a friend's organic farm, learn to save seeds and all else that happens there

38.  Experiment with making homemade soaps, lotions, mixtures or just plain recipes for skincare, shampoo, and other cosmetics.
       - I've already been experimenting with different natural powders for teeth and other products that are organic and traditional, which I've purchased here in India.  Flax seeds - ground mixed with water actually makes a pretty decent soap.  It would be pretty cool to learn more about natural stuff.

39.  Make more of my own household cleaners - to be honest, I rarely buy any kind of household cleaners and if I do, I try to get the most natural cleaner there is.  Mostly I've started cleaning everything with water.  In India, dust settles very quickly all over.  So it's common for the floors to be mopped once a day.  They generally use cleaners, but I've stopped using cleaner, because mostly it's just to get the dust out.  I've also started making my own dish soap - for handwashing.  Basically flax seeds (ground), vinegar and baking soda.  Works as far as I'm concerned :)

40. Collecting as many seeds and plants as I can - just from vegetables bought from the store, allow some to go bad so I can collect their seeds, and start my own container nursery on my balcony!  I could also collect any containers that would otherwise be thrown to plant in :)

41.  Start vermicomposting.  Both in my apartment and maybe I could volunteer at the place down the road which composts all of our food waste with worms :)

42.  Really start promoting my permaculture design business, be serious about it and take on offers - either voluntarily or having costs covered for stay and what not.

43.  Spend more time outside.  So much happens on the streets of India!  Feed animals, bring the really sick ones to shelters, sit with the homeless, sort trash - separate bags from food - some statistic I read was something like an average cow in India, when it dies, 27 plastic bags are found inside of it's belly.

44. Get a translator, and start speaking to the homeless, asking them their stories and how they ended up there, what they used to do and what's the stories of the families, backgrounds, what their skills are.   Maybe even write a book about it.  Similar maybe to the "Help"

45.  Or, even more similar to movie, "the Help", speak to the actual maids and other workers here in India, find out their stories and how they perceive their lives and life in general, how they compare themselves to it all.

46.  run a marathon

47.  Learn to scuba dive.

48.  Visit all of the farms and organizations on my list of permaculture related stuff in India.

49.  Go to Bangalore and learn from my friend the art of container gardening.

50.  Go to Thailand and apprentice at a permaculture farm, they have permaculture teacher training programs in the summer as well, along with apprenticeships to learn natural building.

51.  learn the ins and outs of natural building!

52.  Learn Botany!

53.  Learn wild foods, indigenous foods/ native species of India and what people used to mostly eat from the wild, in all different parts of India.

53.  Learn wild foods from around the globe, what indigenous people eat, and how they eat it :)

54.  Collect seeds of wild foods both for regions and globally. Rehabilitate unused and bare soils by mulching and planting these wild foods!  Allowing for nature to grow as it does, while we can also make use of it!

55.  Create community gardens in my area and offer to other communities as well!  Have residents get together and ask them if they'd be interested in having gardens and signing petitions to get gardens in these communities.

56.  Work together with the government to create more green spaces, especially for kids.  Kids in India tend to have to play on the roads, due to a lack of place to play.  - Maybe if unused batches of lands could be cleaned up into nice parks?

57.  Have a gathering of people bring any old coats, blankets or clothes that are no longer used.  Take a day and give the material out to the homeless.

58.  Open up the apartment to hold regular clothing swaps, everyone brings clothes which are nice, but they would be willing to give away for something 'new'.  So they come and bring their clothes and other stuff, and take a look at everything else to see if they'd want anything else.  No costs.

59.  Find out all the hidden skills of friends, maybe one friend likes to cook, another likes to sew, another is great at poetry.  Every week, a friend can teach and show everyone else their skill.

60.  Do nothing!

61.  Learn to surf.

62.  Move to Auroville, help out with SHARAN

63.  Learn more about no till farming techniques

64.  Go on a huge hiking trek in the Himalayas!  Maybe meet some yogis!

65.  Visit Bhutan, learn the ways of the happiest place on earth.

66. Volunteer at an elephant nature park in Thailand,

67.  Volunteer at a vegan community in Hawaii or New Zealand:
The description of the place in New Zealand from the website: 
454 acres of magnificent New Zealand countryside that we call Shangri-La; a private valley, with two pristine rivers. Here we accept volunteers each summer season (from November-May) to help lift Shangri-La up to its name, which includes the planting and maintenance of hundreds of fruit trees, lots of flower gardens and several veganic vegetable gardens.

68.  Study oceanography, learn about the huge pile of trash we have in our ocean.. I think actually it's multiple piles of trash.. :/  Can we turn this into an island or something?  Put an airport on it?  Plant some trees?  What can be donee??
- check out the ted talk on this one!! amazing, yet very sad.

69.  My previous option, inspired this option.  Choose no plastic!  Can it be done, can I live a plasticless life?  I could email all of the companies from which I like to buy products and ask them whether they will take my plastic product back and reuse it once i have finished their product or if they can send it to me refilled with their product.  Maybe I could start petitions, have them go viral about getting companies to switch out of using plastic.  Can we get over our plastic addiction!  Help!
- I pasted the same link from above.. because, yes, it's that good, check it out!

70.  After watching that ted X talk about the state of our oceans and the trash island two times as big as Texas.  I could easily spend the next five years of my life filtering plastic from our oceans.  Hey, maybe we could use plastic as some insulation in our buildings?  Possible?   Maybe I can start a plastic building proposal, and maybe this is our solution for mountain top removals (since currently we are cutting open many mountains for all of their metals and what not for building everything) ?  Maybe we can start making our computers and cell phones from used plastics?  What else.. cupboards, tables, chairs.. hey!  Used plastic could be the new oak.. if we start using trash at at least the same rate as we use pristine ecosystems.. We might be able to rid ourselves of this pollution problem?? Hey maybe we will even save a few forests!

71.  Get into the 'business' (more like NGO) of stopping illegal animal trade.  Teach people alternative ways to make money, in fact ways to make money sustainably and in a much more grandios way then their previous disrupting lifestyle of illegal trade of wild animals.  And of course rescue all the wild animals and help them back to their natural habitats.  I could even be a watchmen for these areas, and make sure no one tries to steal them!  lol.

72.  Travel to China and other countries which eat dog and cat.  Give workshops on raw and vegan food with all of its health benefits.  Charm them into loving our animal friends :)  We could also sneak some really adorable baby cat and dog videos in there, all of the really sappy ones, that show that actually these little creatures are not much different from us.

73.  Organize prayer meetings everyday, to send positive wishes to all of the baby animals in the world.  Send positive wishes to earth and the all the people of earth. (as well as the plants, the bugs, the soil, the water and everything else that makes up this world)  The power of prayer!

74.  I can't believe I made it to 74.  At 34, I thought that I was done for .. meaning I wasn't sure if I'd be able to think of anymore.. haha.  kk. let's see.
I could experiment with eco-friendly paints. I could use vegetable and fruit colors.  I could sell them and maybe even hold art classes, using all of these natural vegan materials.

75.  Find out people creating sustainable packaging, start marketing these packaging to big companies as well as small ones, YAY no more plastic!

76.  Or, for all of our plastics, create a culture of washing things out and sending them back to the company to force them to re-use.

77.  Do something nice for someone else everyday, that normally probably wouldn't have happened.

78.  I could make a list like this everyday.  haha.

79.  Learn to knit

80.  Even better learn to use the hair from my llamas ( I know I am a vegan, but my home in Utah is completely an unvegan home - my mom, dad and other relatives.  No matter what I know they will keep their farm, and the hair from the llamas, they will continue to have anyway.  So might as well make use of it right? )  and learn how to make yarn from it :)

81.  Experiment with alternative refrigerator systems, meaning no electricity.

82.  Start city foraging - find out myself, about plants that grow in abundance in the city, make my own names for them, if I can't find them in a reference guide.  Ask locals about them.

83.  Go on walks in the parks, bring my botany book, further refine my indian plant identification skills.

84.  Learn to make bags and jewelry out of trash.

85.  Start collecting unique small trinkets of throw-awayables.  I could maybe make little puja trays with using them, or I could get creative and make ganesh statues :) or bird baths and bird homes.

87.  Start teaching in schools, I could start an eco club at a local highschool, we could collect trash and then make huge beautiful statues out of them.  Or even better, I wrote about this on one of my older blogs but make a green house from bottles!  When I visited the Nilgiris - Earth Trust, they worked with kids and the kids actually did this project.  Their green house was so cool!

88.  This might be more meaningful in the states, where families are a little more separated then they are in India.  But bring kids in to retirement homes.  Let them interact with the elderly - play games and maybe they could do interviews and what not.

89.  Offer a catering service of healthy organic vegan maybe even raw food to hospitals and prisons.  Maybe it could even be an NGO.  Why are we feeding our patients basically airplane food?
I was actually also even considering introducing health foods to my grandmothers retirement center.  Since they have started living there, it seems they have been experiencing more health problems as soon as they moved in.  Basically the diet is pretty laden with dairy and meats.  Like a lot of America.  When I go home, I would like to offer to prepare food for my grandparents on a regular basis.  It's her wish only, I won't force her to eat my food, lol.  But it might be an interesting thing to watch to see if my grandparents experience any improvement in their health?  Might be interesting.

90.  Live everyday to the fullest, get up early, eat light, exercise more than not, never miss an opportunity for that particular moment.  Smile to the biggest, laugh the deepest, love the fullest.  :)

91.  Almost there! Lol. I could start playing more sports, involve all of the kiddos on the streets.

92. Collect all of my leafy green scraps in a separate container, and take that container out every day to feed the cows.  (which are found all over in India)

93.  Continue to experiment in the kitchen with raw cuisine.  Visit villages and find out if they grow different stuff in their garden from what they sell at the market.  Find as much local/ non gmo produce as possible. Contine to experiment with making raw indian food.
- I made an awesome raw saag paneer recipe today!  haha which is entirely misleading because I didn't use saag nor paneer.  I used amaranth leaves and cashew cheese.  If you are interested in the recipe give me an email, I'd be happy to send it out

94.  Learn how to make coconut chutney from scratch, I love coconut.  They say that eating seeds is karmically not the best, so what is better is to regularly plant trees to make up for it.  Check out David Wolfe - The Sunfood Diet successsystem. Awesome book

95.  My husband teaches a "thank you" meditation.  I could do a "thank you" meditation every day.  Basically it is just saying thank you, over and over again in your mind, for the duration of the meditation.  I can't remember which society it is,but they say if you say thank you 1 million times, your life is changed forever.  It's a nice teaching  :)

96.  I can be grateful for all the ways in which I do live sustainably, and all the ways in which I do help others throughout my day, and all the ways in which I already contribute to society at large.

97.  I can learn the Indian Dandiya dance

98.  I could take a weekly fasting day.  Yesterday I fasted, and I found even though I was kinda headachey yesterday, all of today I have felt much lighter as a result, and I found I have been much more aware of the food I have been eating as well as the quantity.  Food in our today's society has become so much of a gobble-it-down culture we really have no idea the work that goes into our food and not to mention the ingredients, many of them pretty toxic to our systems, esp in the quantities that we typically eat.  So I think I could definitely incorporate fasting into my life, if not on a weekly basis a monthly one.  And of course, I can't leave out the impact that regular fasting could have on our world. Everything adds up, and the less we demand from the planet, the better for everyone.

99.  My husband just walked in, and said I could be a meditation teacher. Lol.  I guess I could, what does it take, I guess I would first have to learn to meditate more wholeheartedly.  I have a tendency to get distracted a lot.

100. I finally made it!! this list probably took a good 4 hours.  Which is kind of embarrassing.  But no worries, there were a few breaks in between.  My last one is.. a commitment to having fun, to not taking life too seriously, even with all of my crazy environmentalism shoopla.  I can everyday, remember to be with people I enjoy, relax when needed, laugh at myself, and just have a good time.

Hmm, so I think my husband is right about making a list of 100 answers to a question in your head.  Even if at the end of it, you still feel a little unclear, suddenly the world just doesn't look so black and white anymore... which makes the decision more peaceful.