Ventabren, France in Provence | workaway Jan. ’18 | idyllic town, castle ruins | architectural & textile beauty

A number of weeks after my trip to the New Delhhi airport and back to Frankfurt, during a number of days in limbo in a vacant office building over Christmas in a town not far from Frankfurt, I made a plan. I had warmth, electricity and internet access.  I arranged to go to a workaway in Heuchlingen, German, a work exchange in a village not too far from Stuttgart where I did some outdoor work as well as cooking. I realized my ex beau lived not far from there and visited him in Germany as well.  I documented the trip with lots of photos https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2019/02/02/new-beginnings-germany-a-workaway-in-heuchlingen-december-2017/

I had already begun arranging the  workaway in Ventabren, France in Provence to follow the one in Germany. It was January 2018. Ventabren is a village not far from Aix-en-Provence, which is a gorgeous city. That’s where I met my host and her son, A Russian woman Vicka and her son Maxim.

I visited Aix-en-Provence and took pictures in an earlier hitch to Nice from Montpellier, France to visit my sister. https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/hitchabout-nice-antibes-aix-en-provence-arles-and-back-to-a-redefined-montpellier-home/

Aix-en-Provence France Sept. 2017

After having visited Aix-en-Provence and taken the pictures in Sept. 23, 2017, I was now back there in Jan. 2018 about to meet my hosts of the workaway. I happened upon Rue du 4 Septembre in Aix-en-Provence where I took lots of pictures. This was the nearest city to the village where I would do my workaway in Ventabren.

In Aix-en-Provence, I was particularly drawn to the rue du quatre de septembre, because that’s the anniversary of my father’s death in 2012. That’s why I made an album specifically of these signs of rue du 4 Septembre. I had to look up the significance of this date in France. The significance of the date in France is that on the 4th of September, 1870 a new republic was declared.

4th of September France

The 4th of September has personal significance. My father died on the 4th of September, 2012.

On the road leaving Aix-en-Provence en route to the hilled town of Ventabren, this aqueduct was pointed out. Are you kidding me?

Roquefavour Aqueduct, Ventabren, France, Provence, travel, beauty, craftsmanship

Roquefavour Aqueduct near Ventabren France in Provence

Ventabren is a fairy tale, idyllic hilled, once-fortressed town with the ruins of a castle – Château of Queen Jeanne – at the town’s peak.

Ventabren, France, Provence, travel,

Ventabren in Provence, France

Here are the numerous pictures that I took during my stay in Ventabren, France. I was absolutely delighted with the fairy tale landscape and history and the craftsmanship of stone walls, streets, stairs and architecture. The home I resided in is particularly elegant, a breathtakingly gorgeous home with a tailored choice of fine materials; tiles, slate, ceramic, wood. It has beautifully crafted tiles, colors and fabrics and a gorgeous layout of space. Windows look over narrow streets and copper tiled roofs. One doesn’t need to occupy a huge square footage to demonstrate taste and elegance.

Ventabren, workaway, Provence, France

Ventabren in Provence, France 2018

workaway in Ventabren, France, Provence, art, architecture

Ventabren town and interiors in Provence, France 2018

Ultimately, this workaway, in this idyllic town was where circumstances lead me to decide not to continue on the path that I had intended, to organize one after another workaway on a farm or whatever kind of property in France. My VISA had expired. I didn’t want to be informed that i could not return to the country that I love. I also realized that although most of these properties are quite gorgeous and interesting, and i particularly would seek out places with animals, I decided that most are by their nature, remote. It was after that first ‘weekend’ in this idyllic town of Ventabren, that I realized, there wasn’t really any communal place to go to, no night life. I didn’t know anyone other than this family. This would be the same case in most of the other workaways. I had spent the 6 months in Montpellier, a town with multiple universities and tourist town. I could promenade along a street with hundreds of people passing by, go to one among a hundreds of bars and cafés, and found places to dance. I bicycled everywhere in that hilly town, Mont means mountain, so a mt. bike was necessary to adequately peruse the streets.

As you see in Ventabren, my room was adopted by the house cat Croquette. I was very happy about that.

house cat Croquette

house cat Croquette

my room

Ventabren

my room in Ventabren

hanging clothes to get the hitchhiking travel wrinkles out

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What I learned on My Week Long One and a Half Hour Trip to India

I was sitting in an airport hotel room in Kuwait when i began writing this very long story, for a very brief visit to my destination. I’ve decided to make it since a shorter story. I had sent just my family members a long email detailing my plans to embark on a journey to nature and wildlife, in pursuit of elephants.

I since had spent the last 4 days leading up to and beyond Christmas – which is also my birthday – mostly alone in an office, in a huge building, outside of Frankfurt, Germany; courtesy of the guy whose start-up it is. The building empty for christmas holidays, this huge building hollowed of people, was my home. It was actually the perfect place for the time. The electricity, WiFi, expansive desk and foldout bed upon which I laid my sleeping bag, served my time to continue to communicate and peruse the internet with ideas of where I would go now that my plans were no longer pertinent. I basically spent Christmas and my Birthday in a room alone behind a computer screen; catching up, filing, investigating my next possible moves, reading and writing. Something that I actually love to do, hence a gifted appropriate space.

I’ve been on a continued search of where to go, where to land, that is inexpensive, to create time. My intent is to complete my book in the next two months. That was what I was also after in planning a trip to India. My search there was for elephant sanctuaries and an elephant village. With India out of the picture, I considered hitching to Spain and ferrying to Morocco, to further hitch to a workaway there. A google for an elephant sanctuary surprisingly brought me to France. This shifted my efforts to look for workaway exchanges in France because it feels less risky. I’m going to a workaway host tomorrow in Germany, and have a host in southern France that I’m looking forward to that is booked for a later period of time.

Historic quarter red flag christmas

Historic quarter red flag christmas

I was living in Montpellier France, when I was asked to leave several weeks ago. I had a room with a mother and daughter for reduced rent, in exchange for English instruction to the daughter for the duration of the school year. I didn’t have much time to find a new living situation. I didn’t know where to go. I almost flew back to the United States. Family close and yet far, I decided to continue another intended segment of my journey, to participate somehow in helping elephants in their natural habitat.

I haven’t had income, so looking for any normal priced rental in shared housing in France seemed dubious. I decided to embark on a trip to Africa or Asia, something I have yet to do, to spring into the wilder places of our wondrous planet to experience seeing various different creatures in their natural habitats, while they’re still here.  Before climate breakdown, human overpopulation and ecocide (thank you George Monbiot for your continued fervor in sharing information) clip them out of existence. I’ve wanted to see elephants in particular. I was googling for sanctuaries where I could volunteer, found an elephant village. Tears came to my eyes when I discovered that these as well as potential workaway living/work exchange programs working with elephants. I have written about the majesty of trees, the regenerative properties of fungus, about plastic in our oceans, human corpocrisy, greed, the impossibility of continuous consumption on a finite planet, of overpopulation, of health, various methods of renewable energy and the splendid creatures and life forms with whom we share this planet. I alternately share other peoples’ inspiring or provocative articles or write my own in my blogs.

I decided to take this leap of faith to begin the travel that I’ve intended to do, to the wilder places of this living planet to see some of this splendor, before they are extinguished from existence from ecocide. I don’t like to kill even a spider or a fly. I love all life forms. I figured that once I arrive, the overhead will be considerably cheaper. I had little time.

Still pressured, not sure where I’d go. I write often about ecology and sustainability, with various ideas and potential solutions to matching the need of human power to create community gardens, bee highways, animal bridges, sustainable building and energy resources. I saw a way of creating a win/win situation of matching refugees who long for a home with projects that could be started all over the globe – in renewable energy as well as elder in home care, so that people could remain in their homes and have help stay with them. I thought that my huge love of animals and the natural world could lead me to apply my writing, creative and communicative skills towards matching with groups to educate locals on how to appreciate and live in harmony with the animals around them, to preserve their habitats.
I thought I’d go to a place with elephants. I honed the African safari countries down to Tanzania, however the US State Department had a rather fear provoking portrayal so full of warnings, that I was scared away. I had attended a lecture of an Elephant Dr. of Assam, India in Santa Fe, New Mexico a year ago and had this in the back of my mind since. I lived in Santa Fe last year where I busily working as a substitute teaching for K -12th graders teaching all subjects for the Santa Fe public schools during most weekdays, and working for the Santa Fe ski basin as a 1st year ski instructor for adults weekends and holidays. I loved it.

I have been writing a book that I keep having just small amounts of time to devote to. I have numerous times looked for and applied to artist residencies, but really have never been fully devoted to the task. Many of the residencies or asking for a patron require inquiring way in advance, and with small windows of open times  I had the opportunity this last spring to devote a big chunk of time to continuing with my book, through a friend’s lending me space as an office in his home in Taos, with the electricity and internet connection that I needed. It is a huge priority. I have been continually searching for affordable housing, or work/living exchanges with hosts with internet. And haven’t really found what I’m looking for yet: a group of artists/writers/musicians living under the same cooperative roof; each with a deadline and from time to time showcasing what they’ve accomplished from one hurdle to the next.

The pressure was on in my residence in Montpellier, holidays were coming. I continued searching, now India. Spent hours and days investigating flights, VISAs, vaccine requirement, safety. Booked a flight hastily, because each day closer to the 25th would go up in price. Then started the online application process for an Indian eVISA. That seemed pretty straight forward. I then found like a magnet, a perfect host through workaway. I hadn’t been really able to easily negotiate the WWOOF site, and upon clicking on workaway, of which I’d already been a member but needed to renew it, I found the site sophisticated, user friendly, and plus they list ‘last minute hosts’. I found an excellent match, in the same general area in northern india where I wanted to be. It was a Hindu Priest and his wife and kids who are descendants of the local deity of this Temple of Rats. They also also operate a Camel business. I was delighted and relieved, now having a place to land. All of this took an enormous amount of investigating and comparing and searching and reading and organizing. I had decided to fly out of Frankfurt, an airport hub, because I had over-extended my tourist VISA in France, besides having applied for jobs and attempted to get a working permit.

The adventure begin. Taking an inexpensive bus – a day and a half prior to my flight, because otherwise I would have exceeded the departure time, and I was now ready and willing to skip some comfort and sleep.

I had a long conversation in French with a woman who had been a school director. We had rapport on a lot of subjects. The sleep deprivation had begun. I arrive at the immigration to get to the flight, and I am asked something in German about Berlin. I figured it was about a train ticket, for once getting caught by controllers for not paying a €2,50 U-bahn ticket. The 25 year old German policeman was stern. He eventually walked me back to a waiting area. The price was not €100, or 200, but €1,000. He told me I needed to pay them €1,000 in cash to get on the flight. Uh, I guess the interest accrued over the years. He wouldn’t listen to any explanations, that I haven’t lived in Germany…He walked back to their offices behind a glass wall and I saw him laughing with his colleagues. I decided to take a picture of this, and another man rushed to the door and I deleted it before him. He left.

The other option was 15 days in jail, which wasn’t really an identifiable option, when one has just booked a flight, paid for an eVISA, and made all the preparations. I wonder how many times they do this? I walked to an ATM conveniently located just a few yards away. Typically I don’t get cash from a cc, it’s too expensive. Now was withdrawing a thousand euro, with which the exchange rate and ATM fees added to $1,450. I typically travel by bicycle, and have a loved mt. bike in Montpellier that cost a little more than the lock. There’s a lot of bike theft in Montpellier, I found out with the disappearance of my first bike. I’ve learned my lesson concerning outstanding tickets. I wanted to fight it, and now accept it.

Determined to fight this 1,000 Euro fine

I stayed some days in Frankfurt,Germany upon my return with the intention of getting this money back – criminal injustice. This was now out of the airport police jurisdiction and in the hands of Berlin. I decided to go do a workaway instead.

So, I pay and board the flight. In retrospect, was thinking that this amount of money is worth being able to re-enter France.

flickr_Trip Pics Frankfurt Oasis Plastic plug in Kuwait

flickr_Trip Pics Frankfurt Oasis Plastic plug in Kuwait

I had planned to sleep on my 21 hour layover of the Kuwait Airways at the Kuwait terminal (an online booking of the most inexpensive fare). And was shock delighted, to learn upon approaching the airways immediately and asking about their transit visas, I learned that I was to be provided a hotel and food, due to having over an 8 hour layover. This lead to a delightful series of conversations with Indian employees, from whom I learned a lot about their lives in Kuwait.

My Kuwait Airways experience was marvelous, especially the sophisticated jet that I was on en route to India, and the hospitality I received on the 1 day VISA layover in Kuwait.

Jan. 2018 – featured a complimentary Hilton Hotel room for those who had longer than an 8 hour wait. I was one. Processed a transit VISA there at the airport. The 777 jet was modern with a sophisticated interactive panel: featuring downward cameras, forward cameras, a map of timezones, flight trajectory map and zoom in images of earth from any point on the globe. I was investigating the depletion of trees in the Amazon rainforest at one point. Checking out a lovely unusual feature in New Zealand on a peninsula near Christchurch

Almost every Indian man when asking ‘how long have you been in Kuwait?’ answered 10 years. So I was met with a van taking me to the Kuwait Holiday inn, free of charge transportation from the airport, and complimentary meals and and room service. Things were looking great. The next flight on an equally sophisticated 777 jet with great interactive video features. I had a great person sitting next to me with whom I had a non-stop 4 hour conversation with a bright Indian girl attending NYC, daughter of two doctors, who was full of information and with whom I also had a great rapport. I’ve met wonderful people with whom I’ve communicated and learned a lot of fascinating information, as well as seen a lot of the impacts of globalization; on slave workers from Asia to the Arab countries, families broken up, over-the-top pollution in Delhi…

flickr_Kuwait Airways experiences

flickr_Kuwait Airways experiences

I arrived at the Delhi airport and proceeded to immigration, and now it was pointed out that the papers I printed out from the initial eVISA were not an actual VISA. There had been problems on the eVISA form, when after the 1st pdf file of my passport pic was not the correct size (after i attempted to resize it in photoshop, when I decided to go back to the copy shop, this time a different service woman scanned it with the precise dimensions that i stated. My error I presume for not communicating this the first time, or realizing that it had to be done initially within the proper dimensions. The form would not let me upload the correct size, now for a 3rd attempt. I contacted the Indian govt office link provided and explained with documentation my case # and so forth and sent them the attached pdf, showing my passport pic at the size that was appropriate. This information was not transferred. I was denied, and I assumed it was because of this technical failure. I was told I could not enter the country, and had 15 minutes to book a flight out of it.

They had no WiFi, I have no smart phone. Upon my continued demand for WiFi access, a young Indian guy with his smart phone was delivered. He became the person supervising and keeping me in check. His phone provided me with internet. I didn’t know where to fly to. I have left things of value at a friends in Montpellier. I didn’t want to fly back to the States. I was beginning to investigate flights to Nepal, where I was told there is ‘visa upon entry’. I was just about at the point of choosing a flight and paying, when the man approached and said, your 15 minutes are up.

He said I would be sent back to Frankfurt, from where I started, on a flight in several hours. My passport was passed from one to another official. This flight unlike the sleek, modern sophisticated 777, was smaller, older and packed with mostly men of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladesh origins, returning to work in whatever Arab country, where they leave their wives and kids at home for years. Another layover in Kuwait, but this time at an airport hotel, designed to be a lockdown, for those without VISA entry status. I met a bunch of people, Indians who are residents in NYC, a doctor and his doctor wife, an IT guy, another Nepalese IT guy, an aging Israeli hippy type who teaches yoga in NYC and who was carrying these Tibetan bowls, which he used for 7 of us to have a healing ceremony, laying down on carpets in one corner of the lobby, with our eyes closed and he guiding us with visualization and sending out tone reverberations of each of these bowls (which probably weighed altogether 75 pounds). The conversations we all had together were fantastic.

I arrived at Frankfurt and was about to approach the steward who had my passport, when a tall, big bellied, borderline disheveled man approached me with an envelope and sort of leaned into me and quipped, why did you go to India without a VISA? You need to pay for this flight. He was bullying and aggressive. It then occurred to me that he must have worked in the same department as these immigration police, who I felt, were using the parameters of the situation there at airport departing immigration to extort money. In such a sophisticated cyber system that they could almost instantaneously track fees, with years of interest rates, how was it that they couldn’t contact me via email, to inform me that I had an outstanding fee? Were they not able to discern that I was no longer living in the country? Or recognize mail delivery being returned? I demanded this guy to have my passport and then asked him what his name is, leaning down to read his name tag, and as quickly as he appeared, he receded.

So I arrive in Frankfurt ready to go to the police, above the police there at immigration, and find that there at the airport are the federal police. I tried to make an appt to reach someone at the embassy, where you can visit by appointment only, and there are no places to book it in their online system. I have a number I will call tomorrow, just to get advice on how this has come to be. I never saw the alleged ticket or anything in documentation. the guy had given me a flimsy 1×2 inch receipt, that surely would have been lost or forgotten, if I hadn’t been immediately sent back to land in Frankfurt.

I am sorry, I think that I have just formulated the blog I’m about to post, as I continued to ramble on to you, telling you the story. I have been waiting for days through the three days of celebrating Christmas in the German tradition, alone in this space, a bit daunted to leave it, because I wasn’t sure that I could get back in, even with the supposedly appropriate keys. I am still exhausted. I have now after writing for the last days, created two cover letters to ask would be hosts if I can stay with them in Morocco, and have begun investigating how to get there. I probably will use the Flixbus voucher I now have to return to Montpellier, where I have to ask someone if I can stay there.  Whoops, just as I waited the last few days for the American consulate to be open, I would have to wait a week here in Limbo for the holiday prices to drop down to their regular price. They appear to be doubled, even tripled during the holidays. And having packed for India, am pretty much ready to launch off to a new conservatively dressed

 

 

I had a workaday lined up, my laptop and electronic equipment with, absorbing all of the information about how to be street smart in India as a single female traveler. Had thought of going to Tanzania, but was scared away by the US State Dept rather fear provoking portrayal. So I decided upon India, and was pulling this decision and actions towards making it happen together in a matter of weeks. This coincided with the death of my only brother, on the 2nd of December and the decision of the last housing situation, mother of the daughter wanting to learn English in exchange for less expensive rent. When she told me, no discussion, that I needed to leave and kept pressuring me, I felt sort of fed up with having the last several shared housing situations evaporate. Money is an issue. I so much want to spend merely 2 months on completing my book, and want to continue to learn, research, absorb information and write my blogs. I thought that since my love is languages and animals and a feeling of urgency about the environment, that I could do cultural exchanges, live inexpensively and live for a bit of time at elephant sanctuaries….I found an inexpensive flight, then immediately processed an online eVISA, then set to contact potential hosts. Found some great workways. Felt so excited to finally embark on going East of Eastern Europe…had found a delightful sounding place to land, had researched like crazy, then had some technical issues with the pdf file of my passport not being clear, because it had not been properly scanned and digitized the 1st time and when I realized that I needed to do this again, it was now the 3rd time i was uploading the pdf pic of my passport and the reform kept saying ‘you already uploaded this’. I nevertheless sent the resized form to this office along with all of the documentation, and departed. I met a wonderful woman with whom i gained a lot of information and exchanged a lot on our ride on this inexpensive bus lines. Shared considerably a lot between our points of view of education….I had been doing so much research, so much, about where…how, guests of when. Then I arrive in Frankfurt, Germany airport hub, found a great cafe to do yet more investigating of the train station the new host informed me i needed to take on this long journey, after arriving in the int’l New Delhi airport, also a hub. I get to customs, and this 25 or younger hardliner, stern, police officer working at customs at the airport, when I was there with enough time to look at prices for the electronic equipment i want to purchase either there or in Delhi to not fry my laptop with unstable electric currents, and he basically says, about this ticket i didn’t pay, for a metro Berlin rail ticket, maybe i was given a fine for €35 euro or something. He said, you can’t get on the flight unless you pay €1,000 dollars. WHAT! this girl here is so fucking frugal i can live on 1,000 for 6 months. I never eat out, i have bought 2 beers in bars, way over my budget. i’m the purchase a can and drink it in the park to save money kinda gal. So, then he escorts me to this back waiting room where about 10 other officers were mingling about. I said, okay, and i was speaking in German, that this must have been something that accrued, over 5 or 6 years. what? he said, either pay me 1,000 in cash or go to jail for 15 days. I would have taken jail, but I just spent a GINORMOUS amount of time and effort to finally make moves towards this dream. So, angry, but naturally one can not reveal anger to an officer, tears starting to stream. The clock ticking. Investments and contacts and huge effort already made, basically thinking that the school year deal that this family had now suddenly retracted, left me with just not the funds to pay rents…..What got me was that this guy then behind the glass walls of the police desks, was laughing. I took a picture, and another officer almost ran out to me to grab my phone, and i deleted the pic in front of him. I mean, for me 100 dollars is extravagant. I realize now, and after sitting on the flight with a very bright Indian girl going to NYU who was returning to India for her winter break, that this is not something I’m just going to let slide. 

I never do. I wrote to Verizon wireless once in a complaint letter signing it at the end ‘Can You Hear Me Now?’

So, yeah, he escorted me to the ATM, and i handed over more cash than I’ve held in my hands in any one time, EVER. yep, i write, draw, paint, take photos, blog, research, have had numerous mega stints writing my book so now it is about %90 completed and I’m so, so into it and so excited and proud and fervent about what i’m introducing in this science fantasy tale with history, geography, science, biology…..woven into it. And this little nazi basically used extortion, intimidation and threats, and then laughed with his colleagues about what he was getting away with as i stood there helpless. Wow, is that ever criminal, super criminal. 

Well, then I have this continuous delightful conversation with the very insightful and bright young Indian woman whose both parents are doctors. She gave me many many insights into the Indian culture and places to visit…Mentioning that the phenomenon of males exporting themselves to Arab countries to work is more of a working class phenomenon. Then I arrive at the Indian customs, and basically the Indian version of the German dude, decides that regardless of whether the eVISA was rejected because of an IT flaw or passport blurry, when I contacted them 3 more times with officially explaining what happened. He decided that this American woman was going to have to bow down to his authority. And about an hour and a half later, he basically in a tone convincing and authorizing his boss to not let me in, lead to his boss saying that I can not enter the country. he said, you have 15 minutes to book a flight. uh, what? ok. do you have internet? no. well i don’t have a smart phone sir, EVERYTHING i do, job seeking, housing seeking, communication with family…..is though the internet. He then got this rather hot young guy in a suit to provide his phone to give me internet access. 

Oh, yeah, forgot to mention that after the 1 day bus ride and one night waiting for the flight, then anticipated 21 hour layover in Kuwait on Kuwait Airways, figuring I’ll be entertained looking at the people streaming by, i get a hunch. find a Kuwait desk upon arrival, and it turns out, the airline allows you to fill out forms to be ushered a transit visa, and the airline provide complimentary transport to a Kuwait Hilton, complimentary room, with slippers, room service, three meals, pool. This is a chick who only couch surfers or sleeps in lobbies, as I had the night before my flight, among an assortment of other airport campers, where I also met a really cool young Greek girl with whom I also had an engaging conversation. 

So, yeah, perks like this are VERY appreciated by me, sort of like a Fantasy. I immediately go to open a window, damn, windows in most hotels i guess don’t open, climate controlled, then when I did walk outside, i was like, shit, i can smell something funky in the air quality, so maybe it’s just as well to have a room that has a slight dank musty smell. I was loving life. Got an adapter to use….and the flight was really cool. Excellent interactive maps, movies…complimentary this and that. Yeah, so the green  tree-hugger just massively contributed to 777 chem trails.  

Okay, so I’m like 15 minutes to choose where to go? uh, okay, do i return? do i Nepal, okay, yeah, Nepal, sort of close. And was starting to configure in my head what I could do. go there, apply for the eVISA again. and then the (was just about to use another pejorative term for the supervisor) dude returns to say, times up, too late, what? so when he said, 15 minutes, he meant it. Now I was too late to book a flight, and was going to be sent back, deported from my 1 and a half hour stay in India. Thank fucking god that the airline paid to deport me, rather than now racking up another thousand for a last minute flight. The mobile phone guy was quite cute, gave him my card to check out the blogs etc. and then he walked back to say are you on FB? which appears to be a very heavily used network, because this was the same question of the young Indian woman who was among our group at the airport (tremendously more shabby) hotel where we (some new fabulous people i connected with who had missed their connecting flight to NYC) mostly Indian, a couple who are doctors, an IT guy father, another Nepalese IT guy and an Israeli yoga teacher who did a Tibetan bell healing ceremony with all 7 of us in the corner of the Kuwait airport lobby in the hooka area, where we laid down and he performed this ceremony. As this time none of us had transit VISA’s as i had had the 1st time around, we were sort of in ‘hotel arrest’, that is, no one in this hotel could walk outside, security, security, like i’ve never seen. Ganesh, the IT guy living in New Jersey reminded me that India hadn’t existed previous to its creation by the British. It had been a collection of separate city-states, each with their own language…of which there are approaching 300 or more. And that not only may there be religious clashes, but regional. Sushi, the NYU girl mentions that there’s sort of a disdain between those of northern and southern India. The north are fairer skinned and the south have a higher literacy rate. She also mentioned that the students that populate the student body of NYU in Manhattan (which has campuses all over the world including Ghana) are first in number, Chinese, second Indian and then the down home American students.

It was a series of meals and fantastic conversations among our little group who found one another who really quite connected. So, I’ve learned a lot, more than I have time to go into here, except that I see MASSIVE pollution. I mean Kuwait, like i said. Delhi, was unfuckingbelievably polluted now in the morning. I mean, as this plane was taking off today, now on a smaller, and more shabby and much less sophisticated plane, it was filled with mostly Indian, Pakistani and Bangladesh men, coming to work, in their quasi slave labor for the wealthy Arabs. 

I found out after asking, i always ask a lot of questions, that one Egyptian guy here, 10 years, and Indian guy from Kerala, here 10 years, uh, each with children and wives. What, you mean India is filled with women and their babies and all the men are abroad, for TEN YEARS? MY NEXT QUESTION, WHO ARE serving as THE PROSTITUTES? Well, I wound up chatting with the Kasaskstan (sp?) and Indian flight stewardesses at length in their service area. They told me of the Kuwait women, many many wearing toe to hijab designer clothes, yes, even the head scarf, and that the the Arab men technically can have several wives. And that the women in their black burkas, with only a slit revealing the eyes, also sport having different boyfriends and no one ever knows who is walking behind this head scarf. And they described a few times that a women is sitting down in seat 32 K or whatever in a black burka, then they come back and there’s a woman with a low cut top, mini skirt, high heels and tons of makeup. And they say, where’s the…oh, it’s her. She went into the bathroom on the flight and returns to her seat on her way to Paris, giving her phone number to whomever. It was hysterical listening to them. They had a lot of insights. I listened to cross-cultural comparisons of the woman from Kurdistan, (i may be saying the wrong  name) but a country that was once Russia, and hence she knows Russia and her own language better than English, and looks Chinese or Siberian! Then the two of them went on to describe that it’s young Indian girls who are the prostitutes, with a high turnover rate. And that it really sort of is slave labor, the Kuwaitis or Qutarians will hold onto the passports of the of their workers, and treat them like shit in some cases, and because they have no rights or ability to leave, they are stuck in these conditions. 

So, wow, I’m so tired that earlier today i had to make sure my laptop was on my little bedside table and not my lap, because i kept nodding out. And now, though i thought i was going to go to bed at 9pm. Our dinner gathering among these delightful mostly Indian native people and the Nepalese and Israeli (looking very much like a hippy) dude who performed this ceremony after our dinner conversations, now has turned into me deciding with my endorphins from sleep deprivation to begin to write. 

I first started to look at workaways, because frankly, i don’t have a clue of what i’m going to do or where I’m going to live. However I do know that I wish to complete my book, and that I have diversified interests and skills, health and strength to contribute to workaway or WWOOF projects, as long as they guarantee internet (necessary in research and writing the ebook) and can offer the time left over from the 5 hours/day 5 days a week to focus on full-steam ahead on the book. It’s cold everywhere, south of france, morocco, germany, and yeah. that’s what’s going on. 

So I’ve just had numerous conversations with all sorts of insights arriving from smart people contributing their ideas and experience. 

And do you know what? The developing and industrializing nations who are outsourced from imperial capitalists and corporate globalization, is just redistributing the dirt, grime and destruction and massive pollution that comes form construction and industry, and is just dumping it into the rest of the worlds back yards, not to mention tearing up social fabric, splitting up families who can’t get buy with the prices of the GDP affecting their now countries. and the Western Northern imperialists and affect of globalization is choking up the entire world. 

 

It is time for people to stop looking the other way. This is ALL OF OUR PROBLEM. In fact, I can’t believe that morally, business and politics can turn a blind eye. I googled before departing for my one hour and a half India trip, and learned that the Indian Prime Minister, like the US Orange MisFit each are in the pocket of industry. Preferring lining pockets for the GDP and forgetting the decency and morality and conscience of what ruin and spoil their actions of profit, for profit alone, are doing to the planet. When the plane was this morning rolling onto the waiting path of the runway and you COULD NOT SEE 20 YARDS, frankly, not EVEN 10 YARDS VISIBILITY out the window of the jet. I just thought, oh my fucking god. what are we doing? As long as no one knows, know one cares. Not in my back yard, not my problem. PEOPLE THIS WAS A HORRIFIC WAKEUP CALL. and yeah, appropriate to tack on this handy international real-time pollution index. Looks like i have to wake up in 2 and a half hours, but hey, I had to get this out there. 

Our House is on Fire – Greta Thunberg WEForum | It is Worse Than That – Mark Doll

Greta Thunberg’s Special Address, Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019

Greta Thunberg | Special Address, Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019

Greta Thunberg | Special Address, Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2019

Greta’s speech, among each that she has made to the public, is remarkable.

The words of this man, Mark Doll, are equally noteworthy and important.

Each are the reason that I decided to take time from the writing of my book to put out another blog.

Mark Doll posted the following comments today and it was chilling and heart-wrenching. But it deserves to be read in the context of this little girl’s courage at Davos.

I hope that for a change, people who do not have the time or patience to read, read this.

“…I realize there is something I have known for some time but have never said, and, since I have just spent another 4 hours of my life in climate change academia I have to get this out of my system.

Please understand that many you reading this won’t live to an old age… and likely will start scrolling after one or 2 more paragraphs… (edit…Ok I was wrong on this point. This is now my 2nd most shared post of all time)

The IPCC report and Paris accord are incredibly overly optimistic and that commits the world to a target that means the death of hundreds of millions if not more.

But it is worse than that.

Even the commitments made by countries in the Paris accord don’t get us to a 2 degree world.

But it is worse than that.

The 2 degree target is now unattainable (unless the entire civilization of the world doesn’t do a 180 today…) target is based on geo-engineering the climate of the earth as well as the sequestering of every molecule of carbon we produced over the last number of years and every molecule we are producing today and every molecule we produce tomorrow…. these technologies that don’t exist wont exist and even if they did would likely cause as many if not more problems than they fix.

But it is worse than that.

The 2 degree target of the IPCC does not factor in the feedback loops that such as the increased albedo effect caused by the 70% loss of ice in the arctic, The release of methane from a thawing arctic. (there is more energy stored in the arctic methane than there is in coal in the world). This is called the methane dragon. If the process of the release of the methane, currently frozen in the soil and ocean beds of the arctic, which has already begun, spins out of control we are looking a an 8 degree rise in temperature. (this ignores the scientists that don’t see this feedback stopping and ends up resulting in the world oceans boiling off and earth becomes Venus…but I digress.

But it is worse than that

The report which give us 12 years to get our head’s out of our arses underestimated the amount of heat stored in the world’s oceans by 40%… so no , we don’t have 12 years.

But it is worse than that.

The IPCC report ignores the effects of humans messing up the Nitrogen cycle through agricultural fertilizers and more… Don’t go down this rabbit hole if you want to sleep at night.

But it is worse than that.

Sea level rise will not be gradual. Even assuming that the billions of tons of water that is currently being dumped down to the ground level of Greenland isn’t creating a lubricant which eventually will allow the ice to free-flow into the northern oceans as it is only the friction to the islands surface that is currently holding the ice back coupled with the same process is happening in Antarctica but is also coupled with the disappearance of the ice shelves which act as buttresses holding the glaciers from free flowing into the southern ocean we are not looking at maintaining the 3.4mm/yr increase in sea level rise (which incidentally is terrifying when you multiply it out over decades and centuries. We will be looking at major calving events that will result in much bigger yearly increases coupled with an exponential increase in glacial melting. FYI Alberta is going to need a pipeline… just not for oil. More likely for desalinated water from tidewater…

But it is worse than that… We can no longer save the society that we live in and many of us are going to be dead long before our life expectancy would suggest.

If your idea of hope is having some slightly modified Standard of living going forward and live to ripe old age… there is no hope. This civilization is over…

… but there is hope.. There is a way for some to come through this and have an enjoyable life on the other side. Every day we delay can be measured in human lives. There will come a day of inaction when that number includes someone you love, yourself or myself.
So we have 2 options. Wake the fuck up. If we do we will only have to experience the end of our society as we know it aka…the inevitable economic collapse which is now unavoidable, but be able to save and rebuild something new on the other side. This would require a deep adaptation. Words like sustainability would need to be seen as toxic and our focus needs be on regeneration. Regeneration of soil, forest ocean etc…. This is all possible.
Option 2 is the path we are on. Think we can slowly adapt to change. This not only ensures we experience collapse but also condemns humanity to not just economic and social collapse but in a 8 degree world… extinction.

I am sick of pipeline discussions. I am sick of any argument that is predicated on the defeatist assumption that we will continue to burn oil at an ever increasing rate. Fact is if we do we are not just fucked, we are dead. I am sick of people who don’t understand how their food is produced, and its effect on the climate.(both carnivores who eat feed lot meat and vegans who eat industrially produced mono cropped veggies as they are equally guilty here as the consumption of either is devastating).

I am sick of the argument that our oil is less poisonous than someone else’s. Firstly, no it isn’t and secondly, It doesn’t fucking matter. I am sick of people that can’t even handle the ridiculously small only the tip of the iceberg of the changes we need to accept; the carbon tax. I am sick of my own hypocrisy that allows me to still use fossil fuels for transportation. I am sick of those who use hypocrisy as an argument against action.

I am sick of the Leadership of my country that argues we can have economic growth and survivable environment… we can’t.

I am sickened by the normalizing of the leadership of our Southern neighbour who as the most polluting nation in the world officially ignores even the tragedy that is the Paris accord. I am sick of the politicians I worked to get elected being impotent on this subject…

I am sick that the next image I put up of my kids, cheese, pets or bread is going to garner immeasurably more attention than a post such as this which actually has meaning… I am sick about the fact that all the information I referenced here is easily discoverable in scientific journals but will be characterized by many as hyperbolic.
I am especially sick that my future and the future of my children is dependent on the dozens of people that saw this post, said there goes Marc off the deep end again and chose to remain ignorant of the basic facts about our near future.

There is a path forward. But every day we delay the path forward includes fewer of us.

Build community, build resilience, work for food security, think regeneration, plant food producing trees, think perennial food production, eat food that does not mine the soil and is locally produced, eat meat that is grass fed that is used to provide nutrients to vegetation, get to know a farmer or become one yourself, park your car, do not vote for anyone who either ignores climate change or says we can have our cake and eat it too, quit your job if it is fossil fuel related, stop buying shit, Stop buying things that are designed to break and be disposed of, let go of this society slowly and by your own volition (its better than being forced to do it quickly), rip up your lawn and plant a garden with veggies, fruit bushes, fruit trees and nut trees, learn to compost your own poop, get a smaller house on a bigger lot and regenerate that land, plant a guerrilla garden on a city road allowance, return to the multi-generational house, realize that growth has only been a thing in human civilization for 250 years and it is about to end and make preparations for this change, teach this to your children, buy only the necessities, don’t buy new clothes-go to the thrift store, don’t use single use plastic or if you do re-purpose it, unplug your garberator and compost everything, don’t let yourself get away with the argument that the plane is going there anyway when you book a holiday, understand that there is no such thing as the new normal because next year will be worse, understand before you make the argument that we need to reduce human population … meaning the population elsewhere… that it is not overpopulation in China or India that is causing the current problem… It is us and our lifestyle.

Understand that those that are currently arguing against refugees and climate change are both increasing the effects of climate change and causing millions on climate refugees… which will be arriving on Canada’s doorstep because Canada will, on the whole, be one of the last countries affected, understand that the densification of cities is condemning those in that density to a food-less future.

Stop tolerating the middle ground on climate change. there is no middle ground on gravity, the earth is round, and we are on the verge of collapse.”

Care for the Natural World – Treat it with Respect and Reverence | The Duke of Cambridge interviews Sir David | WEForum

Sir David Attenborough interviewed by Prince William aka the Duke of Cambridge, at the World Economic Forum, in Davos – the 22nd to 25th of January. Prince William has very thoughtful and prescient questions. It’s evident that Princess Diana’s son is very in touch with what is essential, and is bringing these points out in his interview to the esteemed Sir David Attenborough, who has a great deal of wisdom to share (working 70 years bringing the natural world to people’s homes through television and documentaries).

Sir David Attenborough interviewed by Prince William, HRH Duke of Cambridge

Sir David Attenborough interviewed by Prince William, HRH Duke of Cambridge

I think this should be required listening, required in schools and by world leaders, especially the bimbo in the Whitehouse and any Republican climate science deniers. Sir David Attenborough says,”presently we’re living in the paradox, in which there have never been so many people out of touch with the natural world (more than half of the worlds population live in metropolitan areas), and yet every breath of air and every mouthful of food that we take comes from the natural world. if we damage it, we damage ourselves. The essential part of human life is a healthy planet. We are in danger of wrecking that.”

Asking what he wishes to communicate to the audience of global leaders, Sir David Attenborough responded.

“Care for the natural world. Treat it with respect and reverence. The natural world is the source of all wonder. The future of the natural world is in our hands. We have never been more powerful or populated. We can wreck it with ease, and without even realizing that we’re doing it.

We wreck it, we wreck ourselves. DO NOT WASTE THE RICHES OF THE NATURAL WORLD ON WHICH WE DEPEND. Do not throw food away, do not use energy wastefully. THIS DISASTER OVERTAKING THE WORLD STARTED IN BRITAIN IN THE 18TH CENTURY, THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. > THE AIM WAS TO CONQUER THE NATURAL WORLD, SHOW OUR MASTERY, WHICH WAS TO DESTROY IT. We know better now. It is time to act.

True Leaders Discuss Climate Change Solutions | Invest Your Time in this Critical Town Hall Discussion

I have not been writing any blogs because I am diving into completing my book. However I found this discovery of a town hall meeting that took place December 3rd, to be critical to share.

Town Hall Discussion on Climate Change

Town Hall Discussion on Climate Change

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hosted a national town hall on Monday, Dec. 3, aimed at addressing the global threat of climate change and exploring solutions that can protect the planet from devastation and create tens of millions of good-paying jobs.

Sanders was joined by 350.org founder and author Bill McKibben; actress, activist and Our Revolution board member Shailene Woodley; CNN host and author Van Jones; Earth Guardians Youth Director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez; Congresswoman-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Union of Concerned Scientists Director of Climate Science Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel; Dr. Camilla Bausch, President of Ecologic Institute; and Dale Ross, mayor of Georgetown, Texas

Tragedy of the Commons | Oskar Eustis | George Monbiot | Invest in our CommonWealth

I’m from Pennsylvania, one of four States of the 52, which is a Commonwealth. I never really knew how that distinguished PA from any other state. I learned of the concept of the Commons through the writings of George Monbiot. He wrote this article published in the Guardian September 27th, 2017. Don’t let the rich get even richer on the assets we all share – It’s time for communities to seize back control of resources upon which their prosperity depends

Monbiot states that the commons has three main elements. “First a resource, such as land, water, minerals, scientific research, hardware or software. Second a community of people who have shared and equal rights to this resource, and organise themselves to manage it. Third the rules, systems and negotiations they develop to sustain it and allocate the benefits.” He goes on to state:

The commons have been attacked by both state power and capitalism for centuries. Resources that no one invented or created, or that a large number of people created together, are stolen by those who sniff an opportunity for profit…those who capture essential resources force everyone else to pay for access.”

What comes to my mind immediately is companies that for example take (extract/steal)  a region’s water, and then force the local people to pay for what they bottle. Or the fact that various individuals and companies throughout history who tried to buy, destroy or steal the plans of various individuals who designed medical or energy devices that could have provided a product to the public for almost no cost. Instead, they were hidden from public knowledge so that the perpetrators could make a profit through their own devices. By obscuring the competitor’s inventions, they were able to bank on their own goods or services.

Monbiot subsequently published essentially the same themed article in his blog Common Wealth on the 2nd of October, 2018. Entitled Common Wealth – Hope lies with a great, neglected sector of the economy, through which we can create a system that is neither capitalist nor state communist.”

The commons is water, land, air, natural resources, scientific knowledge, natural parks.

Commons is managed for wellbeing.

Tragedy of the Commons, Nicholas Amendolare

Tragedy of the Commons video by Nicholas Amendolare

The Tragedy of the Commons is eloquently described in this video. Basically if a community consumes a common resource too fast for regeneration to occur, people must choose between restricting their own consumption for the good of the community, for if they continue to consume at a rate that satisfies their immediate “self-interest”, there may be dire consequences later. That seems to be what is occurring on the earth presently. However, in terms of consuming and/or spoiling resources, the fact is that it isn’t really the individuals who make up communities who are necessarily at fault. In the last several generations, the resources and supply has for the most part been in the control of a very few. This has upset the balance and tweaked the demand curve.

We’ve gotten into a weird state of affairs in the USA, which is being replicated all over the globe. It used to be the land of effulgent possibilities. Labeled the Land of Opportunity, the American Dream. The land of entrepreneurship. The place where people could be assured that their ideas and efforts could be strengthened and developed. But the dream has been taken hostage by just a small percentage of individuals and groups, who have been able to use their money to buy their passage, gobble up competitors, purchase the media and think tanks to hurl out propaganda and crush anyone in their way.

In the last decades, as a friend says the last 70 years, the emphasis in the States has become top-heavy towards enriching the industrial interests, which has coincided with buttressing the military. A handful of people have been controlling these interests. The process has downright gutted many of the small businesses. Anyone who has been alive long enough in the United States of Amnesia, has seen their local hardware stores, five & dime stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, local boutiques etc, in which you knew the families of the people who owned and operated them, disappear. Now Big Box Stores like Walmart have replaced them. They can’t compete. I mention this in my other blog. https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2018/12/06/the-photo-ark-half-earth-project-plastic-ocean-dolphin-deaths-sonar-seismic-tests-patriotism-to-finance-the-military-industrial-gdp-ecocide/

Robert Reich explains in this video THE MONOPOLIZATION OF AMERICA: The Biggest Economic Problem You’re Hearing Almost Nothing About about how this phenomenon evolved. He says that a century ago there were anti-trust laws preventing any company from getting too large, but that these protections disappeared during the Reagan years. Reich points out that the less businesses there are in competition, the more the few who are in control can create their own prices as well as the wages. No competitor, no problem, for those making the rules.

Robert Reich Monopolization of America Health Care Monopolies 2016

Robert Reich Monopolization of America Health Care Monopolies 2016

Robert Reich Monopolization of America Walmart Drives Down Workers Wages

Robert Reich Monopolization of America Walmart Drives Down Workers Wages

 USA, business, Walmart Nation, Health Care, Boeing

The USA according to what businesses ‘control’ each state. Walmart Nation, Health Care Boeing

 

What we need to do is to step by step, reinvest in our own communities, and take the tools to work side by side. Forming relationships with people and seeing our own work and voices mirrored, empowering people to be intimately tied to their own land. I’m living in a town next to the birthplace of the industrial revolution. A number of people told me how toxic the river was that flowed through this town. The townspeople and any other life that had been here certainly suffered, while the industries reaped financial rewards. The trend in the USA has been for cities to clean up their waterfronts and create common spaces that people can enjoy. That is their heritage, to walk and commune freely with others in public spaces. That’s what I’m talking about here. Except not just riverfront property. I’m talking about fields and woods surrounding towns, forests on the periphery, about national parks, about creating once again and maintaining spaces that are naturally the habitat of other life forms. About taking picks to break up parking lots and creating community gardens instead. About people engaging in these public spaces, with love of the land, connectedness among the people and the desire to protect and allow the land and all the other life forms to flourish.

What I understand in the idea of ‘taking back’ the commons – is for community members, you and I, to have joint ownership of the land; for community members to be entitled to make decisions on how best to use this resource and to together create community works, community theatre, community stores, community gardens, community farms. Because when something is shared and invested in physically and monetarily, one will put effort, love and pride into maintaining it. We have had this tremendous land grab by companies, private sectors, who own vast stretches of land which, one would think, should rightfully be a heritage of the people who walk on the earth. So if the people collectively owned these swaths of land, fields, forests, grasslands, natural parks and so forth, then we the people would be engaged in participating in protecting it. It would be something that belonged to the people, and therefore, instead of being neglected or some other owner reaping vast rewards while the local populations received little, the people could benefit from either choosing to create fields, community gardens, parks with fruit and nut trees. In other words, this would deliver the ownership to the people and the wealth of the land would be valued by the people and recirculated among the people, not trickled off to enrich an owner far away.

Oskar Eustis, Why theater is essential to democracy, TED Talk

Oskar Eustis TED Talk
Why theater is essential to democracy

I had the pleasure of listening to Oskar Eustis, the director of Hamilton, speak at a salon coordinated by the Athenaeum in Providence, Rhode Island. His words echoed the same concepts, of the need to bring back community theatre and arts and take back the country from all who have been dispossessed and cheated. The idea of power coming from below, from the community. He launched the audience with his humor and great storytelling into the past, to the first theatre and the fist actors of ancient Greek history. He mentioned Thespis, the first person ever to appear on stage and Aeschylus, the father of tragedy. He mentioned that it was the Persians who brought to the stage for the first time – not just one actor donning various masks – but two actors to stand side by side on the stage. This new perspective, with dialogue revealing that there could be more than one isolated truth, but a dialectic in which a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view could establish a truth through reasoned arguments, happened to coincide with the beginnings of Democracy at about this same time period.

Eustis stated that the Truth is dialectical. Precedent to Hegel’s dialectic, dialogue asks the audience to listen to two points of view, recognizing that each lead to the truth. Thus theatre, storytelling in its beginnings, came with this perception of each person having a voice. And this recognition through theatre, precipitated Democracy.

Oskar spoke at length about how bringing the theatre to the public, to allow actors and non actors to participate, empowers people. Project Discovery, which Trinity created is theatre of, for and by the people. He mentioned that creativity is inherent in all people, and that it is human to have the desire to create. Some people have had more practice. Creativity simply needs to be nourished.

Oskar Eustis spoke of the fate of the marketplace. That the economy and technology of the last decades has turned its back on the people. Wall Street and corporations operating in this global economy have robbed people of jobs. As the jobs disappeared – outsourced to other countries for cheaper labor – it has pulled communities apart. He talked of revitalizing communities through investing in projects such as theatre. When people can see their own story and speak their own story, they are empowered to share their stories.

Oskar states that “It is our job to knit this country back together, not to be right.

Oskar Eustis’ TED Talk weaves together the idea of a public theatre, common voice and a democratic government.

The Work That Reconnects, Pat van Boeckel

The Work That Reconnects Pat van Boeckel

 

 

One of the practices within The Work that Reconnects is an exercise called the Riddle of the Commons Game. It brings to awareness the fact that people need to balance between their own self-interest and collective self-interest. Each is necessary for the common good.

Greta Thunberg, speech Swedish Parliament, Swedish Schoolstrike

Greta’s powerful speech to Swedish people before the Parliament

 

 

 

 

‘We Have Not Come Here to Beg World Leaders to Care,’ 15-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Tells COP24. “We Have Come to Let Them Know Change Is Coming. We can no longer save the world by playing by the rules,” says Greta Thunberg, “because the rules have to be changed.”

There’s nothing more important than recognizing that change can happen. Coming through education and arts and activities within your own communities. We can drive that change. If one young girl has already sparked and inspired students in Australia, in another continent, this can ripple. We need to look very, very hard, at what we are choosing, so that we don’t lose what is most precious. You may think your own immediate children are the most precious, but what if there are no trees, woods, grasses, available food, no clean oceans or rivers or lakes, or air, and no other life? It is an astoundingly clear choice to me. We’ve got to make some changes, and we’re going to do this together. And plenty of people are pointing the way, and your own ideas will be as valuable as anyones, collaboratively we will create this change.

My friend Loren Booda states, “Start with hope, funding of positive efforts to return nature and, with native education, make everyone responsible for and aware of their use of resources. The major problem? Almost all of us usually put other needs or wants before the environment.” Full-circle back to The Tragedy of the Commons.

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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December 10th, 2018 Carol Keiter

Innsæi – The Power of Intuition | Nature Is Our Silent Witness

“The biggest obstacle to intuition is noise. We are bombarded with information and distraction all the time, and in particular, noise. The noise of the external world is muting our attention to the internal world.”

~ Malidoma Patrice Somé

Innsæi – The power of Intuition is an inspiring and thought-provoking documentary film in English with Icelandic subtitles. It was made by two Icelandic women Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir and Kristín Ólafsdóttir. They tell their story by distilling wisdom and insights from divers sources. They eloquently reveal that the modern western tendency is for people to disconnect from themselves and one another, ironically, the more that they think they’re connecting, through their devices.

Innsæi – The Power of Intuition, Icelandic documentary film

Innsæi – The Power of Intuition

INNSAEI O PODER DA INTUIÇÃO DOCUMENTÁRIO 2016 COMPLETO LEGENDADO HD

Insight and intuition comes through that silent connection between one’s thoughts and feelings. It’s an emotional connection. One person interviewed mentions that 95% of our mental processes are unconscious. When interacting with another person, our brains process most of the information from implicit cues we pick up unconsciously; through gesture, tone of voice, choice of word, facial expression. Intuition lies outside of the things that we’re consciously aware of, yet can play an important role in guiding us, if we allow it to, by not being so enormously distracted with information and noise.

Innsæi, Iceland, Documentary Film, Nature is Silent Witness, Intuition

Innsæi Documentary Film

The richness of our lives emotionally, psychologically and spiritually emerges through the wealth of diversity of plants and animals which make up the life system of our earth. We are part of a huge, fabulously intricate and awesome network of life woven together. The more we tune into it, the more human built distractions will diminish. We need to cherish and support the entire living system and do our best to safeguard it. The refrain of Joni Mitchel’s song Big Yellow Taxi couldn’t be more accurate. “don’t It always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, they paved paradise, put up a parking lot”.

Icelandic film, Iceland, Documentary Film, Nature is Silent Witness, Innsæi, The Power of Intuition

Nature is our Silent Witness, Intuition needs the vocabulary and many languages of nature

An excellent synopsis of the documentary film here in Zeitgest Films informs you that the film makers “Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir and Kristín Ólafsdóttir go on a soul-searching, global journey to uncover the art of connecting within in today’s world of distraction, disconnection and stress.”

This writer plucked out a lot of the important points of the film.

Intuition plays through the creative insight of the right hemisphere of the brain that coordinates information coming from many senses. In a recent conversation with a girl I met, I was talking about seeing through the heart and that we have a lot of neurons in our heart and gut. She brought up the fact that when speaking with people regarding sensitive topics like ‘climate crisis’, it’s extremely important what words one chooses. A word is linked to an emotional connection. A person’s attention may be immediately diverted because of their preconceived notion and association of that word. A word can cause someone to tune out, because of what they associate it with, or cause them to respond, because it is integral to their own way of responding to life – their operating system. Unconsciously, we label and draw conclusions from our associations with the word.

The mention of the performance artist Marina Abramovic who drew a tremendous response when people lined up to sit on a chair facing her, to look into her eyes. Her complete presence in the moment became this clear reflection into the person’s psyche. In that silence they are seeing themselves. “Something people rarely take time to do”, she says. In quietness with no disruptive waves, as she breathed slowly and aligned her attention and eyes to meet those of the stranger before her, people would in this silent communication melt into tears, or flicker into rage. She advises people to go into the unknown, to enter into a different pattern. Making mistakes is the way we grow.

The joy in his eyes and complete confidence in his tone of voice made me eager to attend to every single utterance. The more he said, the more it resonated. Malidoma Patrice Somé is an African elder who was interviewed. He was born in a Dagara community in Dano, Burkina Faso.

Malidoma Patrice Somé, African, Dagara, Dano, Burkina Faso

Malidoma Patrice Somé

He talks of our need for nature, that “Nature is a Silent Witness to our Intuition”. We couldn’t have intuition without nature. He wishes westerners would give credence to and have faith in their intuition, because this is how one connects with their past, present and future and makes sense of our own lives.

Somé says “The biggest obstacle to intuition is noise. We are bombarded with information and distraction all the time, and in particular, noise. The noise of the external world is muting our attention to the internal world.

He mentioned the Dagara tribe and I found this article written by a woman Sobonfu Somé, same name.

THE SEEN AND THE UNSEEN: SPIRITUALITY AMONG THE DAGARA PEOPLE

These words in particular pulled me in. “In the Dagara tradition, the healers have you walk so they can see how your body moves. Is your body ready to deal with this or are you still in conflict? The other way that healing happens is in the context of a community. If someone comes down with a particular illness, it is not seen as that person’s problem. It is a problem of the community, because that person is actually the voice of what is deeper in the core, in the fabric of the community.”

Last evening while watching a show of ice skaters at an outdoor rink, I smiled and clapped for the cute, hopeful, aspiring and the excellent technical maneuvers. I endured some of the music, telling myself, this is what this performer chose. And then a former olympic female figure skater entered and I recognized the first two or three notes of Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria. My eyes welled with tears and continued for almost the duration of the piece. I can’t say I was feeling sad or that it was bringing up a reference to a specific event. To me it is one of those astoundingly touching songs, like “Beautiful World” in which the melody and voice convey something beyond words, into something that launches emotions with piercing clarity.

We all know that it is the music in films that determines how the audience will interpret a scene; to be lighthearted, comical, tense, melancholy or frightening. It’s the emotional impact of art, the intuitive, that opens the doors.

Take some time for quiet moments, to notice things and ponder. And especially to go into the unknown, the source of the known.

Meditate! Listen and observe.

Peace

When You Do Nothing, You Are Part of the Problem

Sarah J. S. said this in her facebook post, and then I responded. I just decided to put it out there – un edited – beyond facebook.

Sarah J. S. says:

“Unless you are loud and explicit in your outrage, I consider you complicit in every death at the hands of another white terrorist, every suicide by a transgender American, every black person killed by law enforcement, every Latino child crying for her parents, every Brasilian forest cleared, every Sri Lankan cabinet member who gets sacked or killed, every German protester who’s maced in the forest, every journalist assassinated inside an embassy, EVERYTHING. All of it.

IF YOU ARE SILENT, YOU NO LONGER HAVE THE LUXURY OF THINKING YOURSELF “GOOD.” You simply aren’t a good person. You’re a comfortable person, but you are not good. You are the silent German neighbor in the 1930s who watched your childhood friend forced onto a train. You are the silent American in the 1960s who watched your neighbor return from the hospital with burns on her face.

And if you remain silent in 2018, you have made the decision, however tacit, to support the venomous hate that is galvanizing killers and burning holes into the fabric of humanity.

If you won’t stand proudly in your values, and if you won’t stand with humanitarians on the right side of history, I no longer understand you, and feel no remorse whatsoever in outing you as an oppressor and forcing you to stand in shame in your silence. Your implicit endorsement of oppression does not merit the peace of comfort.

Those of us who feel and respond to the pain of the world have been forced to feel discomfort for so long, while you have made our job harder by “staying out of politics.” Well, it’s not politics anymore, it’s life and death, and if you can’t be woken up enough to support life, may you find enough delusion to sustain you when they come for you—as they certainly will—and no neighbors come to your rescue.”

I respond.

I met Sarah J.S. when we were both participating in the http://placetob.org during the Paris climate talks. everyone there, from all over the world, were either there representing their countries who had already been devastated in the years preceding by global warming; from parts of the world feeling the brunt of the loss of their land to water or victims of massive storms- which most of the Global Northern hemisphere have been causing because of their appetites and demands for energy and comfort. There were people there who have gone all over the globe to do things to help people to help themselves, to stand up to industries and recognize that their forests are worth more alive, than dead, etc. we are living in a strange lie, in which incessant building and focus on profit, continues to wipe out community, compassion, empathy, connectedness (to one another and to nature and other life). The world is a big place, so that unless you know someone who is victimized by losing their access to clean water and air due to fracking or coal mining or oil spills, it just doesn’t really impact you. I grew up eating meat, driving in cars, living in a spacious home, when the word extinction was not used, it was a far off idea. Now, we live in a world in which everything is continually commodified – and it’s been sort of backed up with Christian ideology. The cows and pigs are there for humans to consume. We are, so the idea has been, at the top of the pyramid. We displaced the native Americans (but kept their names of territories as a nice gesture) and basically eradicated them. Native American indigenous people traditionally used only what they needed, and saw their connection and relationship to all of life – as something to honor. Western man has cut off any recognition of how they are part of a much larger web, in which all of this is splendor and awesome, and of which, man is only a small part. But humans have become so obsessive about material acquisition and domination, that they are just absolutely killing the planet and displacing all the life forms. The talk of walls, a border wall, is the most loathsome thing as far as all the OTHER LIFE FORMS ON THE PLANET WHO ACTUALLY DON’T HAVE POLITICAL BORDERS – THEY ARE ANIMALS THAT NORMALLY ROAM. WHAT THE FUCK PEOPLE? WHAT THE FUCK? every time some new mall or Wallmart or Costco or housing development, or highway cuts through land, it is killing off all the species. the idea of ever continuing to exploit oil and coal, or mines are just destroying habitats. the idea of minding the arctic or antarctic or bottom of the ocean, to just take, take, take and build, build build…is crippling every other species. we do not need new updated iPhones and computers and whatever in shorter and shorter generations. we have the capacity to do much more with our minds and hearts, and we are just continually seduced and misguided by media, and beguiled, yes, completely misinformed and used by political leaders. the billionaires club. All other life forms, people, air, water, land…are not valued as something worth alive, and left to be in its best form. we are fucking everything up as we continually build, increase square footage of homes, plow down trees, wipe out communal spaces, privatize, obsess about making a profit, obsess about acquiring things, relying more and more on the automobile, on comfort, on ease..okay well, I thought I’d add a few words to Sarah J.S.‘s

A letter to my sister | preciousness of life | Carl Sagan: freedom through scientific skepticism | Le Petit Prince

I was looking over my blog stats and saw someone read this, posted several years ago. I decided to post it again, since it’s relevant, from a moral and political standpoint – uh, yes, at one time I believe, the two were part of the same fabric. uh, now wait a minute, maybe morality and political leadership have rarely been paired, and that it is an exception! I mean, as long as royal leaders, and tyrants, and corporations have the reins, morality has little to do with the people who wish to maintain their power, control and profits.

Here’s the letter:
I am certainly happy to hear from you. Naturally I think about you every time that I enter the room to look at the lovely paper lanterns you hung for Mother’s birthday party and the teepee you constructed in the yard – which I‘m still raking! Memories of things people share and artifacts that they leave behind imbue all of these things with the spirit of the person. I am sorry that we had difficulties communicating at times. I have not been ‘above’ reacting emotionally to someone’s emotional reactions towards me. However, that doesn’t mean that I can not attempt to move beyond my reactions to reach out with more compassion and understanding.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author, Le Petit Prince, The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of Le Petit Prince
The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a pilot, and author of the remarkable children’s book, for adults, Le Petit Prince/ The Little Prince. There appear to be exceptions to this formidable quote, if the person happens to be morally repugnant and arrogant!

Le Petit Prince, Antoine Saint-Exupery, the Phenomenon

Le Petit Prince, written by Antoine Saint-Exupery
the Phenomenon

I went out with a family friend last night and afterwards, realized that he knows even more profoundly how precious life is, as he has lost both of his parents. Certainly, if we all had an acute awareness of death (sitting on our shoulders) – Carlos Castaneda style i.e. “the Teachings of Don Juan” – in each response to every moment, we would never be anything but kind to all people and creatures, at all times.

That sounds like a pretty heavy way to live. The context is not, to be continually fearful, but rather, continually present with the fact that every moment of life is precious. People need to accept the rights of others to be and perceive as they will. It is a rather large task, to put differences and competitiveness, jealousy, envy and judgments … aside. Yet it’s the only way for everyone to get along. (I just read in Salon dot com a rather scathing article about the writer Carlos Castaneda, saying that Don Juan was not only an astounding hoax, but that Castaneda went on to form a bizarre cult.) He nevertheless had strong poetic and spiritual points to emphasize in his writings.

It’s pretty much a life-long task, given the fact that all humans have a tendency to subjectively interpret and judge other peoples’ actions. I do it, we all do it, from personal complaints, grievances, expectations, disappointments on up to community and cultural, political and religious differences of interpretation, that result in the worst cases to prolonged wars and strife between ethnic groups and neighboring countries.

This appears to be one of the biggest challenges and aspirations for humankind; to look beyond differences and strive for understanding, compassion and kindness. The ‘tree-hugger/environmental activist side of me’ is kicking out judgements every time I see people’s actions or material opulence (not to mention hearing about plans for more gas drilling in the arctic etc.) which I perceive as offensive. I put them into a box I label offender/perpetrator; a personal judgement which is my own way of playing in the ‘us against them’ scenario. So, I’m as guilty as anyone. The obvious extreme is the fact that people are blowing each other up in the Middle East …. and that wars and conflicts and ominous actions of manipulation continue to proliferate worldwide, despite the fact that most humans have access to rather extraordinary tools.

We are technologically light years ahead of where we are emotionally!

As Carl Sagan mentions in this interview “A Way of Thinking” in which he delivers insights into the dangers in our present culture; based on the fact that we’re a science and technology-based culture, the inner workings of which few comprehend. That puts us in a position in which we are in danger of being more easily manipulated.

Sagan points out that science is a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. And that it’s dramatically important for each of us to ask skeptical questions about everything, particularly to those in authority; otherwise we are up for grabs by the next charlatan, political or religious, that comes along. He mentions that Thomas Jefferson said that people need to be educated in order to practice their skepticism, otherwise ‘we don’t run the government, the government runs us’.

Carol Keiter the blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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Happy World Animal Day | Car-a-holics in Northern Hemisphere Affect Global Disasters

Today is World Animal Day. In fact, with the climate collapse induced by human actions, mostly in the Northern Hemisphere of the Globe and among the wealthier nations, many of the populations (certainly not all) oblivious to how their energy habits are triggering these worldwide weather extremes and just basically destroying so many habitats of creatures.

Happy World Animal Day

Happy World Animal Day

Share a Happy World Animal Day

Share a Happy World Animal Day

 

world animal day october 4th

 

#worldanimalday

Donggala epicenter of the quake, Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

Donggala at the epicenter of the quake and Palu just south in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

 

 

I am very sorry, that once again the archipelago of Indonesia has been struck a week ago with another tremendous earthquake and tsunami, causing devastation among the populations of many towns. My heart goes out to the people and families who have lost people, animals and treasures that they love.

Global Solutions New thinking on the most pressing issues facing people and the planet.

Sumatran Rhino Rescue, National Geographic

Sumatran Rhino Rescue National Geographic

 

The transportation sector makes the highest hit presently. I’m about to write to Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island, whom a passer by whom I asked if he ‘believed in global warming, human induced global warming’ responded saying that this Senator is aware and supportive of this issue. That’s after to my bafflement, I dined among two white American men who each DID NOT. This circa 85 year old man I intercepted as he walked with mail in his hand towards a mail box said, yes indeed. I mentioned I had written to both the RI mayor and governor regarding the atrocious number of people I find of all walks of life, ages and race, sitting in their cars nonchalantly with the engines idling. This man said, well, that’s part of it, but it really is the entire oil industry and these dirty industries…which is when he mentioned that this Senator Whitehouse is actually not blindly blithely ignoring the issue because of being in the pocket of dirty industries.

A Yale study revealing What the World Thinks About Climate Change emphasizes, “Limiting climate change will involve major shifts in public policy and individual behavior regarding energy, transportation, consumption, and more, note the researchers. Likewise, they said, preparing for and adapting to climate change impacts will require changes in current practices, and governments will need public support for and engagement in climate change solutions. This new research suggests that gaining public engagement will vary from country to country, depending on local culture, economy, education and other factors, said the researchers.”

Well, if people would just figure out a way to find alternative energies, putting some solar on your house, opting to ride a bicycle more, walk more, drive less and interact with the beauty of nature and recognize that when it comes down to it, most people go ‘on vacation’ to go be around nature. It’s the most lovely and formidably delightful thing you can do > to be among trees and animals and birds and immerse yourself in nature >for your physical, emotional and spiritual health. Spiritual health? What’s that? It’s recognizing with AWE how beautiful this planet is and in fact, you can’t purchase anything that will come close to intelligence, beauty and diversity and spectacularly fascinating creatures that are all around us.

What? You have to get out of your car? Your machine? What? You have walk without looking down at your phone? Look up from your phone and take your headphones off? What? You can do it? Try it for a block? Then two, and try for a real challenge to actually start conversing with the people around you.

Audubon Birds and Climate Change Report

Audubon Birds and Climate Change Report

Now having lived in Europe several times, I can say, now that I’m in New England of the USA, that the BIGGEST difference, is how disconnected people are with one another and nature. In Montpellier, Nice, and Paris France, in Rome, Italy, in Berlin, Germany certainly in the Netherlands and Scandinavia….

p e o p l e    w a l k   a r o u n d        they promenade, they hang out in public places that are designed with beauty to attract people to hang out. they promenade. That’s why promenade is a noun and a verb, a street and the act of casually walking, with not necessarily a specific destination in mind…people lingering in cafes on narrow streets into the sidewalks.

I told people last evening who actually were by two benches, that the walkways and area by the water, if it were in Europe, would be packed, all of the time, just as the WaterFire festival brings. All summer long, and believe me, I traversed the area by the water…and yes, there were gondola rides, and Providence does have a lot of summer outdoor concerts and festivals, but typically this riverside area, is eerily e m p t y. what? why?

Americans are car-a-holics. They are comfort-a-holics, energy hogs….and guess who is suffering the most? Every other person and creature on the planet, both two feet away from your idling exhaust pipe and insistence on driving everywhere along with the lack of walking infrastructure (thank you automobile and oil industry). And most of the local animals habitats and pathways are being paved by the minute – gotta have those highways, more roads, more building, more pavement. And the fires on every continent and radical storms and recent tsunami are without a doubt, due to the dirty industries feeding this demand for comfort. People become indignant with the thought of having to consider losing some of the efficiency and comfort that they have. Actually, the cool way would be to invest (your homes, your actions and your lifestyles) to let a few other creatures and cultures around the globe live, who are getting hit the hardest.

Oh yeah, so it’s world animal day. It just so happens that if people don’t have the time, or patience or are two self important to adjust their lifestyles or switch to supporting cleaner, sustainable energies, transportation, eating habits and purchasing practices, then when you go on vacation and there are no more animals or birds….whaddya gonna do, go into virtual reality to ‘pretend’?

regenerative cultures, Wendell Berry

regenerative cultures Wendell Berry learn what is good for the world

We have to do this together, we have to acknowledge that EVERYTHING has to change. The entire way I was raised in a little town in Pennsylvania in the USA was comfort, driving, eating meat, buying new clothes each new school season, keeping up with the Kardashians…WTF? You can be decked out in the fanciest clothing and stepping into your oversized car, but if you are overweight from bad habits, too exhausted to even want to read or pursue new information about the wonders of this world, but would rather take out, drive, dismiss, ignore, pop a pill and not be in the present moment, moment after moment of appreciating life and all of the life that also shares this planet, then what exactly are you living for?

Gosh, I think that this planet, and interacting and meeting new people and observing the incredible nature of which we are a part, is the most spectacular thing. It can’t get any better.

Please think about how your choices are affecting your immediate environment and the most biodiverse habitats on the other side of the globe. Human over population and indulgence has to slow down.

Natural Capital Project : Our Relationship with Nature

It just so happens to be the World Animal Day today, and because I love and appreciate all creatures, tiny and humongous as adorable and with the right to live, I just had to let off steam writing this. I hope it triggers a twitch of a thought to change an action.

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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I bicycled en train de faires mes affaires partout, I road all over town and to the next state circa 20 mi. greeting people with the info of this special day.