Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sufficiency vs. Scarcity

From the Soul of Money by Lynne Twist

http://www.soulofmoney.org/blog/

The concept of sufficiency
The idea of sufficiency or “enough” is more important than ever at this time of global economic uncertainty.? The kind of sufficiency that I am talking about is not actually an amount. It is a way of being, seeing and living.

The principle of sufficiency is this: If you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up oceans of energy to make a difference with what you have. When you make a difference with what you have, what you have expands.

Another shorter, perhaps easier to grasp way of saying this: What you appreciate… appreciates.

Gratitude is central to recognizing and acknowledging the sufficiency of what’s already there. When we turn our love and attention away from what we think we need to what we already have — financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually — and nourish it, express it, and most importantly, share it, experiences of profound prosperity, wholeness and sufficiency flood our lives.

Embracing sufficiency thus becomes a radical step that will transform our understanding of economics and of wealth.

Countering the mindset of scarcity
We live in a world that promotes a mindset of scarcity. That mindset eclipses our experience of our own wholeness and sufficiency and turns our attention to wanting what we don’t have. Consumer culture depends on people living in fear of scarcity, feeling inadequate, empty, and deficient so that we think we need to acquire and accumulate more to be okay. We are swimming in messages that tell us we are not enough, that there isn’t enough and that more of anything and everything is better. We’re told that there is no alternative, and that’s just the way it is. This condition of scarcity is made up of toxic unexamined and unconscious beliefs that have us constantly craving what we don’t have, and keep us frantically chasing after money so that we can acquire and accumulate. This mindset is invalid, destructive and disempowering. It is also untrue.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fat Phobia

Fat cooking


I find in life, there are often "themes" and these themes make an interesting topic to write about..

Last night I started the first stage in making soap. I took out all the suet--(beef and lamb fat from the freezer..about 13 pounds of it! I thawed it out, chopped it up, added it to two stockpots of water with tons of salt (1TB salt per pound) and cooked it for a long time until it mostly metlted off of the chunky meat and gristle.  I then strained out the waste, and let the liquid mixture cool. 

This morning it looked like this:

It is a messy smelly job and I have to be very careful about not letting the stuff go down the drain. I ended up dumping my dishwater outside as far away from the house as I could.  While I was working, my daughter plugged her nose complaining that it smelled.  (-; 

But when I went to bed, I had visions of fat..the smell of it in my mind. (I probably smelled of it!)


All in all, it didn't really "gross me out"...much..  It was a very interesting process..watching something change into something else...and it will still yet change as I mix the fat with other fats and lye and water.  I still have one more step with the tallow...to skim/cut it out of the pan..after it has fully separated from the water.

(Later today:  Here is how it turned out!!  )

I did something else yesterday..(It was a productive day)  I joined a gym.  I have long neglected exercise..  I should not neglect it considering that my mother passed away at 55 from a heart attack. Her parents also died from heart disease in their 70's..  It runs in my family.  And my own cholesterol levels are "not normal" 

I have put a lot of energy into food, but I haven't seriously explored exercise...I haven't been quite as excited about that part...but it is just as important.. 

I wouldn't mind losing a few pounds, either...which brings me to my second thought on fats..  I wish to lose fat..fat on my body, fat in my arteries/veins..  tone my muscles, strenghten my heart. 

Interesting...how useful fat is...in the case of making soap..Amazing what fat can do---how "good" it is in so many ways, and also how harmful... How it is can clog the pipes in a house...or the pipes in a body. 

The general consensus is that fat is bad (I think)   Americans are too fat.....eat too much..  cholesterol is bad.  eat, cook chicken w/out the skin..  buy the low fat burgers.  buy the low fat/skim milk.  Saturated fat is bad...

Not all of that is the way to go...  In the case of burgers, the fat cooks off, and if you leave the fat in, you have a much tastier burger.  Many of what I just mentioned are actually not as beneficial as you might think. Whole milk is better than skim or low fat..  Because---the skim/low fat milk is the most processed...to the point of being "slime" and a gross color.  They actually add powdered milk back into it to make it look drinkable.  At least whole milk is closer to the real thing..  (We get raw whole milk from a farm)..the best kind.. (this is a whole other topic I could blog about) But this is one example where it is better to have the fat in the milk..than not.. 

Saturated fat is not as bad as you might think. For one, it is more stable for cooking.  Don't ever cook with canola oil..it is highly unstable and becomes carcinogenic when heated.  That is much worse for you than ingesting "saturated fat"

I tell my kids that there are good fats, medium fats, and bad fats. 

Good fats are in olive oil, medium fats are in meats, but bad fats are in chips and processed foods...those are the kind that have rancid/spoiled oils that are truly the culprit of high cholesterol.  Saturated fats can actually sooth your arteries/veins, but those rancid oils that have been chemically obliterated through processing--are so altered that they are not even recognizable by our bodies..they "inflame"  and "irritate" our bodies..and cause "plaque" 

Eating fat does not necessarily equal becoming fat..or harming our bodies..It is the "bad oils" that cause inflammation..  The latest research is that heart disease is cause by inflammation...  (get the picture) 

I wish I had the time to truly show my references, but a good place to start is Sally Fallon's -Nourishing Traditions. 

Fat is not our enemy...We don't need to be afraid of it.  It is an amazingly useful thing.  You can make soap or candles with it, it makes our food taste sooo good.  (Julia Child used tons of butter in her cooking)  And she lived to be quite old (80's or 90's??)  And from what I've heard, her food was fabulous.  Butter and Lard are WAY better than Crisco..or cooking food in oils that are unstable.  It doesn't matter if those chips are high end organic chips made from vegetables...If they were processed with canola oil...or heated at high temps when being processed, etc, they are not good for you...  Don't be fooled.

Fat is a wonderful thing..  It helps the brain.  Babies need saturated fat..for their brain development.  They need whole milk, etc..  Fat keeps their bodies warm. 

But we are out of balance in this country.. 

Here is my other thought on fat.  about some of the not so good aspects of excess.

Fat is also metaphorically hording.  Storing. Not letting go.  Taking too much. Not knowing a feeling of "enough". Not having enough discipline or integrity..  Not knowing when to stop.  Addicition.  Our homes can be full of "fat"---too much clutter that we don't use...just collect, hold onto..feel emotional about..

Our bodies can store "too much" fat..when we are out of balance.  Our bodies are out of balance. Some bodies don't regulate..and it is not blameworthy...and some minds/hearts are soo sad, lonely...behavior patterns..hard to get out of...there are so many unhealthy aspects to our culture..a culture of consumption...of rugged individualism..  And an unhealthy model of beauty..an unrealistic vision of how thin girls should be to be "beautiful" ....  and it hasn't gotten better..We truly are out of "whack"..  I don't write this in judgement of anyone.  I also "struggle with this everyday"...  With my body, with my "stuff"---trying to find that feeling of "enough" trying to figure out the line...what is a need and what is a want..  am I trying to fill a "hole" on a hard day.. etc..(I do not write this from the perspective of someone who has transcended this struggle)

But, my point is that fat is not our enemy..or something to "fear" or even to avoid.  But excess is what we have to find a way to regulate..and find that feeling of "Enough"  And also realizing that who we are should not be limited to what we look like..and that we come in all shapes and sizes.  Our souls are not a shape or size (that I know of)  It is good to try to be healthy..eat well, exercise, but that is one aspect of who we are..  human beings are much much more than that..Our "fat" or lack of it should not be our defining characteristic.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti

I almost don't want to think about the eathquake in Haiti...and all the people who are suffering right now. Each time something like this happens...I become overwhelmed with the images of the people..and the fear that it could happen to us and the guilt for my own comforts while others are suffering. Our mortal life is so fragile. Our comforts could be fleeting. It is a reminder of that fact. I am honestly, very accustomed to being "comfortable"...the discomforts I feels are miniscule in contrast to what people are going through in Haiti right now. It is important to donate money if you can...or to help others who are suffering..I am glad that there are easy ways to donate towards the victims in Haiti.

One of the easiest, I found was to Text "HAITI" to 90999. The red Cross will get $10 and you'll be billed the $ on your next cell bill. I think $10 is worth it to help save a life. One less lunch out...



"When a crisis sweeps over the world no person should hope to remain intact. We belong to an organic unit and when one part of the organism suffers all the rest of the body will feel its consequence." -Bahá’í Scriptures

Soapmaking

(this is a very good source of soap supplies!)

I have all this extra beef fat (tallow, suet) from ordering beef from a farmer.  (Grassfed beef is delicious, and much healthier btw.. ) Someone told me awhile back that I could make soap from it and it has sat in my mind as something I'd like to try.  Well, now, I am about to try to do it.  I will keep you posted on the process. I am really excited to try this new "adventure"  I have done quite a bit of research on it the past couple of weeks and I thought I'd share some of the resources I've found.  Also, I attended an informal class on making castille soap.  Basically, all you need for ingredients is olive oil, lye, and water.(for the basic castille soap)  I'm a little nervous about using lye, but it seems it isn't so dangerous if you follow the "precautions" and wear gloves, goggles, an apron.  and don't make any of it in aluminum. 

The first thing I have to do is the "render" the tallow.  Basically that involved cooking the fat until it is liquid and straining the pieces of meat out of it, so that I have a usuable fat for my soap. This step, I will be attempting possibly as soon as tomorrow.



Here are some books/sites I have found useful






Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rainbow: Blessings and Tests



picture from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Double-alaskan-rainbow.jpg

Stepped out of the house and there was a break in the clouds as the sun shone so brightly and generated so much warmth! Then at the same time, it started to shower. My daughter exclaimed, "sun and rain--that makes a rainbow!" I looked behind us to look for one and it brought a burst of joy to my heart...a perfectly formed full rainbow..that lasted only as long as the sun was out from the clouds. Felt like a blessing to share that moment with my daughter...and I thought of the Baha'is on trial and in prison in Iran...and how blessings and tests/hardships are so often linked.


Quotation from 'Abdu'l-Baha'

The more difficulties one sees in the world the more perfect one becomes. The more you plough and dig the ground the more fertile it becomes. The more you cut the branches of a tree the higher and stronger it grows. The more you put the gold in the fire, the purer it becomes. The more you sharpen the steel by grinding the better it cuts. Therefore, the more sorrows one sees the more perfect one becomes. That is why, in all times, the Prophets of God have had tribulations and difficulties to withstand. The more often the captain of a ship is in the tempest and difficult sailing the more greater his knowledge becomes. Therefore I am happy that you have had great tribulations and difficulties . . . Strange it is that I love you and still I am happy that you have sorrows. ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Star of the West, vol. XIV, no. 2, p. 41)

Long List of Charges against the Seven Baha’is as their Trial Commences

Long List of Charges against the Seven Baha’is as their Trial Commences


In a clear indication that this is not a fair trial, but a show trial intended to intimidate and scapegoat the Baha’i community, no observers were allowed to enter the court, but film crews for the regime were able to enter the court. In addition, the lawyers for the defense were barely allowed to enter the court, after having little to no access to their clients since their arrest in May and March of 2008.

Special Prayer for the Friends in Iran

"Special Prayer for Freedom of Baha'is > From Prison

(Baha'u'llah instructs that believers must detach themselves from all things and recite this Tablet 9 times)

'He is, in truth, the Omnipotent, the Unconstrained!
O Lord of Names and Fashioner of the Heavens!
Free Thy lovers from the prison of the enemy.
Verily, Thou art the Sovereign Ordainer of Thine irrevocable decree,
He Who alone shineth resplendent on the horizon of creation.
O Everlasting Root! By the life of the All-Glorious,
deprive them not of hope, nay rather aid and assist them.
Verily, Thou rulest as Thou pleasest and within Thy grasp lie the kingdoms of creation.
The fangs of Thine enemies have been whetted, ready to bite into the flesh of Thy lovers.
Protect these companions,
O Thou Who rulest over all humankind and art the Judge on the Day of Judgment.'
- Baha'u'llah"

The canaries in Iran's cages - The Globe and Mail

picture from article--
The canaries in Iran's cages - The Globe and Mail

Facebook | Iran Press Watch: Trial of seven Baha’i leaders under way in Tehran

After being held more than 20 months in Iran's infamous Evin prison, the trial of seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders began today in Iran. Initial reports indicate that the trial is being held and is marked by numerous violations of legal due process."We understand that no observers were allowed in the court," said Diane A......la'i, the Baha'i International Community's representative to the United Nations in Geneva."We find this completely outrageous, given that these seven have been held purely because of their religious beliefs, in total contradiction to any human rights standards."We understand that even the lawyers had to argue their way inside the court ..."



"We understand that even the lawyers had to argue their way inside the court – lawyers who in any case had virtually no access to the accused for nearly two years."
Facebook Iran Press Watch: Trial of seven Baha’i leaders under way in Tehran

Monday, January 11, 2010

Trial of seven Baha'i leaders in Iran looms


Trial of seven Baha'i leaders in Iran looms

Prayers to these amazing people who are having to withstand such persecution for their beliefs-for simply being Baha'is! They have harmed no one. They believe in peace and tolerance.

A trial is going on tonight of the 7 Baha'is who have been imprisoned for simply being Baha'is. Sending them my thoughts and prayers tonight!!

Popular kids’ trinkets loaded with toxic metal - Kids and parenting- msnbc.com

unbelievable! let's replace one toxin(lead) in the childrens market with one worse(cadmium)! hard to believe the lack of conscience somewhere in the marketing chain.. Wondering how this happens? Somewhere along the line many many people compromised any sense of conscience...for greed, or security...but at the cost of children..of the future of generations of people..


Popular kids’ trinkets loaded with toxic metal - Kids and parenting- msnbc.com

Friday, January 8, 2010

Eight Going on Eighteen: Our Daughter and Early Puberty

Eight Going on Eighteen: Our Daughter and Early Puberty


This is an alarming article. The average age of menstration onset in girls is just under 10 now.. Some girls are developing as young as 7, like the girl mentioned in this article. Earlier development = other problems..higher rate of cancer, social issues-more risky sexual behavior, etc.. Why is this happening? =chemicals

I also read somewhere that 1 in 4 college age boys now is infertile.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Biela's Comet: Twin Comets


I am putting together a Baha'i childrens lesson right now for our class laster on today and I really got into the research of it. Most people know the story of Christ's Birth, how there was a special star that lead the Wise Men.  Well, there is a similar parallel in the Baha'i Faith and I wanted to find the facts about it.  In the Baha'i Faith, there were twin messengers/prophets (Manifestiations) of God; The Bab and Baha'u'llah.  The Bab's mission came first..similar to John the Baptist, His role was to open the "gate" to the Promised One.  At this time there was a comet, Biela's comet and at the time when Baha'u'llah began His mission, the comet split in two.  Here is Willam Sears' account of it from his book, Thief in the Night:

. In 1845 a comet appeared soon
after the one in 1843. It was called Rela's Comet. It seemed to
be an ordinary comet, in a year in which some 300 comets had
appeared, and it had appeared many times before in the past. In
1846 it was still visible. At this period in its history, it
became one of the unique comets of all time. It was now entering
into the last dramatic moments of its life. The Encyclopedia
Americana gives the following account of this event: "It was found
again late in November 1845, and in the following month an
observation was made of one of the most remarkable phenomena in
astronomical records, the division of the comet. It put forth no
tail while this alteration was going on. Professor Challis, using
the Northumberland 1846, was inclined to distrust his eyes or his
glass when he beheld two comets where but one had been before. He
would call it, he said, a binary (twin) comet if such a thing had
ever been heard of before. His observations were soon verified,
however."[F2] History shows that there had been other binary (twin
comets) but Rela's was one of the most unusual. Sir James Jeans
wrote of this same comet, saying: "The most interesting story is
that of Rela's comet which broke in two while under observation in
1846." The comet then disappeared. It returned in August, 1852.
This was the very month and the very year in which Bahá'u'lláh was
cast into an underground prison in Tihran. This was the year 1269
of the calendar of Islam. It was also exactly the ninth year after
the Báb's Declaration to Mulla Husayn in the year 1260. The Bab
had prophesied: "Ere nine years have elapsed" the Promised One of
all ages and religions will come. It was but a few weeks later, in
that same prison, that Bahá'u'lláh's Mission began. August, 1852,
was the hour of the reappearance of the comet, the comet that had
split in two to become twin-comets. Strangely enough, at the time
of the reappearance of the twin-comets in 1852, one half had
receded far into the background. The other half, though in a
parallel orbit, now dominated the scene. Just so had the Báb,
the Herald of the Bahá'í Faith, passed into history, and the
219
One Whose coming He had foretold, Bahá'u'lláh, had assumed His
Mission. The Americana record of this astronomical event states:
"Late in August, 1852, the larger portion again came into view; and
three weeks later the smaller one, now much fainter than its former
companion was seen about 1,500,000 miles in the lead." Sir James
Jeans confirms this: "Six years later [1852], when the comet's
orbit again brought it near to the sun, two pieces were observed
to be one and a half million miles apart." Of that hour when the
twin-comets rode the skies above His prison, Bahá'u'lláh has
written: "I was but a man like others, asleep upon my couch, when
lo, the breezes of the All Glorious [God] were wafted over Me and
taught Me the knowledge of all that hath been. This is not from
Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-knowing."[F3] Following
this twin-appearance, Sir James Jeans states, "neither of them has
been seen in cometary form, but the place where they ought to be
is occupied by a swarm of millions of meteors, known as the
Andromedid meteors. Occasionally these meet the earth in its
orbit, and make a grand meteoric display." The two comets were no
longer separate comets, but were mingled in one great shower of
light, just as the Faith of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh are not
separate but one in the light which they shed upon the earth. NOTE
FOUR The Báb was from the line of Bani-Hashim. Hashim was the
great-grandfather of Muhammad.[F1] The Báb was also a descendant
of Abraham through Abraham's second wife, Hagar. The Báb was of
the seed of [Isma'il], and through him of the "seed of Abraham."
When Abraham, as is related in the book of Genesis, said unto God:
"O that Ishmael might live before Thee," God replied: "And as for
Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will
make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve
princes shall be beget, and I will make of him a great nation."[F2]


(William Sears, Release the Sun, p. 219)

I also found this account:
During the years between 1834 and 1844, astronomer F. Bessel found that Sirius had wavy irregularities in its motion through space, and came to the conclusion that the star had an invisible companion revolving about it in a period of about 50 years.
http://souledout.org/cosmology/highlights/siriushighlights/siriusheavenlyhost.html
c. On March 21, 1844, astronomers discovered that Sirius, the brightest star observable to man, was not one but two stars that orbit one another. Could this have been a sign from the 'visible' heavens of the advent of the two Promised Ones from the 'invisible' heavens?: Know thou verily that many an astronomer hath announced the appearance of its star in the visible heaven. ... before the revelation of each of the Mirrors reflecting the divine Essence, the signs heralding their advent must needs be revealed in the visible heaven as well as in the invisible ... (Baha'u'llah: The Kitab-i-Iqan, pages 65-66)
http://newsletters.cephasministry.com/bahai_11_99.html


On a side note: This just passed New Years, there was a Blue Moon and a partial eclipse of that moon!  My friend Cathy, took some beautiful pictures of it and posted them to her website:

http://tundratantrum.blogspot.com/2010/01/blue-moon.html

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