Just What I Need … for now

I decided to incorporate the comments I recently posted accompanying a message asking people to make their voice heard, opposing the ritual in Norway of whale slaughter and any kind of animal abuse in general.

It is time to stop acting as if all of creation is ours to extract, entertain ourselves with, spoil, pollute, damage, mutilate and take from more than we need; simply because the human population has diverted itself down the path of mutually agreeing that profit and consumption are our purpose on this planet. In the process of severely limiting our experience and full capacity, we are accepting that our description of what is of value, and what we are enslaved to with our time and lives, is actually a diversion from reality and a virtual representation, of what this planet’s true grandiosity is worth in terms of its biodiversity. To live in awe of the world that we are briefly passing through, and to ensure that our children have the same wealth of experience and health to live their own lives, is something that 21st century human beings should have in their conscious awareness. To begin to fully become human, as empathetic beings, ‘who do what they love and love what they’re doing’ with the joy and empowerment to extend love towards all of existence, is what we can all strive for, and mutually help one another in the process. However, overpopulation, greed and misconceptions about what is of value, is what we are presently enslaved to. Those at the top of this hierarchy of tyrannical powers wish nothing more than that we remain content, complacent and unaware of how our consent is feeding the destructive actions of those holding the power. People all over the planet are often acting out of fear, which creates a population even more malleable. Talk to one another more in person, instead of through a screen, and share insights into how we can inform one another and lighten up to love.

Prince Ea’s video message Future Generations ‘Sorry’

Prince Ea has a lot of profound things to say.

When I arrived in Santa Fe in August, I had no key, whatsoever. Okay, I believe I had a mini padlock stashed in my suitcase, with its key. I had no transportation vehicle; no bike or lock for it, no automobile. I left Tucson the day I moved out of the apartment there, hitchhiking with two back packs and a small suitcase on wheels August 1st, 2016.

hitching, Tucson, AZ , Santa Fe, NM

hitching route from Tucson, AZ to Santa Fe, NM 567 miles

As I looked like I was wearing a boy scout or brownie uniform, the driver who gave me a ride the entire way, 567 miles to Santa Fe, New Mexico, thought I was a teenage boy with my baseball cap obscuring my face. This was via Albuquerque, a bonus stop to visit my friend living there. I could no longer stay in Tucson after paying the rent for several months in a row with a credit card (having found no paid income), and now could no longer afford the minimum cc payments. I had gone to Arizona specifically to do a WWOOF, rather than being homeless in Pennsylvania.

Just a month prior to arriving at the WWOOF ranch in Arizona, I meditated on discerning the most appropriate path, and happened through a series of synchronicities to connect with a former colleague, which lead me to discovering a group he was involved with participating in the climate talks in Paris, on their own contemporary platform, the Place to B.

Place to B, Climate, COP21

Place to B It’s Time to Talk Differently about the Climate – art and educational forum took place during COP21 Nov-Dec in Paris Nov-Dec 2015

I knew the Paris Climate Talks COP21 were about to take place and somehow felt an inclination to be there among other activists, journalists…I could never have imagined the fantastic voyage I was about to enter into. And I stumbled into it with synchronicities I couldn’t look away from. Their venue of lectures, events, music and art shared among people from 40 countries was extraordinary, a perfect combination of meetings socially and information shared. I could not have imagined it. I’m sure that the presenters were also captivated with what they had created.

I attempted to book a one-way (in my usual poverty mentality thinking that it would be more cost effective to just figure out my way from there, once I was already on the continent). However, the one-way was blocked, providing me the time allowance to ‘sleep on it’ and divine that the coincidences were too marvelous to ignore. This whole excursion and opportunity appeared only after I connected with a former colleague who happened to be involved with the ‘place to b‘.

It turned out to be a spectacular learning experience; attending two weeks of organized lectures, seminars, demonstrations among activists, artists, writers and entrepreneurs. There were people coming from all over the world to discuss the impact of their community from climate change. This event coincided with the COP21 Climate Talks. It was the most exhilarating mix of people and information to meet and participate in which I never could have imagined. I left knowing that I had created the right path and chosen wisely, and now have a great deal to learn.

Now, weeks later, having returned to the US and moved onto a ‘WorkAway’ on a boat in Brooklyn, New York, as had been planned for a month prior to Christmas, I learned following the Christmas holidays which I shared with family in PA, that the boat wasn’t going to work out. I had to drive back to Brooklyn to move all of my stuff out. I was subsequently informed that i was given two weeks to depart from where I was temporarily staying in Pennsylvania. I now had to explore and come up with some quick alternatives and investigate my options. Most of my investigation is online.

At this point, I was learning to take every one of these turns and obstacles, expulsions and disruptions, with calm. I told myself, “Obviously THIS is not what I’m supposed to be doing right now” and allow myself to be open for what it was that was the better option. Instead of feeling panicked or distressed, I let myself flow along with new directions as they arrived. My research was prolific, my ideas extending in all directions like the tentacled hair of medusa. These actions helped things to evolve.

I knew that I wanted to write and to learn from people actively participating in working harmoniously with the land. The idea of a ‘workaway’ or ‘wwoof’ – the latter which my sister reminded me of, now came alive again. I had been investigating these in France and Italy; Sardinia and southern France were inviting. In the meantime I applied for my dream job, creating it and presenting it to an ecoliteracy group in California. I imagined being a liaison for their work, using my language skills to establish their works in France and Germany. I considered pairing my luggage down to the minimum to enable me to begin traveling, now with no excuses, as now I would investigate ways among other travelers to be nomadic and find ways to engage to exchange for shelter and food.

I investigated ‘workaways’ and WWOOFs in France and Italy. I applied for a job (which I created) with an educational institution I wanted to work with. I considered simply reducing my luggage to what I could hitchhike with, traveling to Central and South America The Zika virus in the news thwarted my plans. Ironically, I thought of going to South America to find and interview the man in Brazil who I had just discovered. In the last decades, he dramatically reforested the land around him with his novel agroforestry projects. I just came upon an article about him in the last days. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/man-re-planting-forests-lost-to-cattle-ranching-in-brazil/

Antonio Vicente, reforested, deforested, cattle ranching, Brazil

Antonio Vicente reforested areas for 40 years, deforested from cattle ranching in Brazil

Few stories are as inspirational as this one about Antonio Vicente, a man who has dedicated the past forty years of his life to reforesting the precious natural ecosystems of Brazil.

February was approaching. The only working farm that needed immediate help (as most growing seasons in the country weren’t ready to begin) was a ranch in Arizona which needed help with their recently born baby goats. I isolated only looking at WWOOFs which offered I required internet and food, together with the provision of shelter. I found one and coordinated driving a car that needed to be transported immediately, almost for the price of a tank of gas. I was kicked out of this ranch prematurely, 2 weeks into the 3 month planned stay. I contacted my cousin who I believed was living somewhere in Arizona, and he responded immediately to my email. I landed there and investigated this town for employment, the arts, refugee volunteering, sports. I found the local ultimate frisbee leagues and art centers…and then had to leave, as I had not earned any money for months. I hitched with my two backpacks and now a third small piece of luggage on wheels. The one tremendously long ride with a great vibe that brought me except for the first rides to get to the highway in Tucson, the entire way to my destination.

hitchhiking

Driver Garth on the hitch from Tucson to Santa Fe, New Mexico via Albuquerque

ride through storm from Tucson to Santa Fe, New Mexico via Albuquerque

I then rolled into more work than I could have imagined. I’ve run into more obstacles and challenges too. Each step of the way, as I do all that I can do to work out and resolve problems, I am empowered and delighted with what I’ve accomplished and how appreciative I am.

Sitting in a Starbucks here in Santa Fe a number of days ago

interior_light_reflection in Starbucks

– which I hadn’t known existed until a week ago when I suddenly let their logo form an image in my mind’s eye knowing that they typically have internet, I walked in. This is because suddenly my internet connection at chez moi was not working. I came off the mountain Ski Santa fe where I’m a first year ski instructor.

Ski Santa Fe

Ski Santa Fe

Most of the instructors were pulled into this busy day of teaching 145 high school band students from Austin, Texas, most of whom had never skied. It was a warm spring like day, on the lower part of the mountain. And now I’ve come to step into the other part of my life, the part that loves to explore, do art, take photographs, learn languages and communicate. Wow, what fortune that suddenly i have no internet connection at home. I just met in this cafe two French speaking woman on vacation who live in Sweden, with whom I discussed differences in ‘car culture’ in the United States. They mentioned that in Sweden, many, many more people bicycle and use public transportation. They commented that in some, or many towns in the United States, they are shocked to not see any people walking around. They mentioned that in a number of cities in Sweden cars are interdit ‘not allowed’ in the center of town. Funny thing, right after these women left with their coffees after chatting, a mother and her two kids whom I recognized from the day before in this cafe, joined this same large table. Turns out that they live in Texas, and this woman is also French. They also pointed out that they don’t see people walking around, promenading in many town in the United States. Same thing my Bolivian boyfriend from years ago mentioned when I brought him to the town where I was raised in Pennsylvania. He exclaimed, “Where are all the people?” I retorted, they’re either driving in their cars, at the mall or home watching television…So both of these Europeans noticed that at least in Santa Fe, because it’s a tourist town, and perhaps the Spanish element of the town, there is a square and there are people walking around.

Simply Enough Just What I Need, for now

Okay, so back to what I wanted to write about. The fact that months ago I had no key, and now I have almost 10. Weird. A case of theft lead me to moving to a place very quickly that has locks all over the place, a safety deposit box key…I’ve managed to acquire a loaned bicycle to get to my substitute teaching jobs and town, and hitch to work at the ski area. I have just the pans and pots lent to me that I need to prepare meals, along with my one glass, one nicely rounded bowl, rounded coffee cup to drink my espresso, and a round soup spoon. I like round surfaces in their design. I purchased one lamp and futon, and have just the furniture that I need, just enough, a desk and chair. In fact, the other day was the first time I made a bed, after sleeping in a sleeping bag on my futon for months. I realized I had two sheets, a pillow case and a comforter and another zipped something or other which I’m using as the encasement of the comforter. It all works. I’ve found items I’ve purchased at a used thrift store appropriately called, “Look What the Cat Dragged In. They donate proceeds to the local animal shelter. There I got my coffee cup, small plate, steak knife, 1 spatula…and recently bought a can opener. We’re talking minimalist. I love it. I don’t need more. I accumulated clothing that have become my ski wear that are wind and cold resistant, and happened to have some gloves and other clothes that I then brought along back here, now graduating from two backpacks to an additional large and small suitcase. Bass guitar is always of value to have wherever I go, and I have my fav piano book so that I can stop in at places with piano to play.

I created the cup in the picture (a utensil container) an art class i participated in, joining my students in their class. Great, all the materials provided: clay & glaze and it was fired in their kiln a few weeks later.

cup made in art class in a school with students in Santa Fe
clay formed, glazed and fired

The cup is a utensil container, because it leaks! I use it to hold my one fork, knife and spoon, 1 wooden spoon…

I made a painting in an art class too, along the theme of my book.

February art class Waterfunnel painting

Carol Keiter the blogger, writer, artist, musician, composer, photographer

Carol Keiter the blogger, writer, artist, musician, composer, photographer

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Transformation | Presents of Presence | Asking the Right Questions

I suddenly have very limited time. Nothing like time constraints to force one into action! In fact, the underlying current of this blog is about constraints put on from the outside, which have actually been blessings because they have been lighting the flames to blaze my path. I’ve fortunately welcomed these, as I have wished to set into motion my path and cast a net of wider options. Aiming for excellence as opposed to perfection, I’m striving to accomplish projects as efficiently as possible and simply ‘get them out there’.

I’m presently living on a ranch on the dusty outskirts of Florence, Arizona in the Sonoran desert.

Entrance, Ranch, Florence, Arizona

Entrance and front porch to my living quarters on Ranch near Florence, Arizona

A town I had never heard of and a place I hadn’t fathomed living in several weeks ago. A month ago I shoveled two and a half feet of snow

2.5 feet, snow, Pennsylvania

2.5 feet of snow in Pennsylvania

in Pennsylvania, the largest snowfall in a decade, despite 2015 being the warmest year globally, on record. Here are some pics of my 1st WWOOF experience on Veteran’s Ranch off the town of Florence, Arizona in the Sonoran desert.

Here are some pics of my 1st WWOOF, Veteran’s Ranch, Florence, Arizona, Sonoran desert.

Here are some pics of my 1st WWOOF experience on Veteran’s Ranch off the town of Florence, Arizona in the Sonoran desert.

Back in midsummer I was suddenly pushed to move out of my ‘childhood’ home, where I had been residing once again after moving back from Berlin, Germany. I anticipated having to leave this residence, eventually, yet had – from my perspective – an enormous task ahead of me. I needed to ‘go through’ a large closet packed with my possessions that had been stored there while I lived on the East and West coasts of the US and several European countries. The beginning of tackling this was through the serendipitously timed message of an online coworking coach, regarding approaching large tasks much more easily, by setting oneself very small goals: ‘mini habits’. This invoked me to begin stretching, meditating and eventually to begin ‘going through’ one, then another box, in un-intimidating doses. The task felt enormous, because rather than dealing with large pieces of furniture, it was with minute pieces of paper – boxes upon boxes of journals, sketches, letters – which I would eventually sift through and decide what to recycle and what to photograph and digitize, along with creating folders and a methodology of cataloguing so that I could easily retrieve this mass of media.

When I was forced to leave the home with a very short notice, my first response was not to panic and scramble looking for where to immediately go, but to pour my heart and mind into the intent of where I would ultimately love to go. I put out this notice https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/posting-a-jobhomecommunity-relocation-info-ad-for-myself/

The timing of it triggered me to go through my stuff, while awaiting an opening at a workaway position in Brooklyn, New York on a Ferry Boat – another deadline. I fortunately was offered a temporary residence which gave me the space to accomplish this task. A friend of my housing host repeatedly asked me “Aren’t you excited about moving to Brooklyn?”, to which I responded that I wasn’t in the least bit thinking about it, as I was focused in the present; doing the best job that I could in sorting through and digitizing a huge glutton of my past.

I made it through this material, while continuing to eat healthy foods, stretching daily and practicing heart-rhthym meditations. Then another synchronisitic event occurred. Aware that the Paris Climate Talks were approaching, as someone who blogs consistently about corpocrisy, animal rights, environmental, political and economic topics, I now happened upon the concept from the textbook of the ‘iamheart School of Heart Rhythm meditations‘ about directing a question during the meditation exercise. Some of the letters which kept surfacing while sifting through my stuff, connected with a discovery that emerged during and within hours of this meditation. A week later I was on a flight on my way to Paris within days of the beginning of the COP21. I joined a crew of 600 others to participate in the learning and transformative activist and journalism movement of Place to B, a gathering of people involved in actively engaging and transforming our relationship to the world ecologically.

Within the first minute of getting into my seat of the WOW airlines flight from Baltimore Washington to Reykjavik Airport, connecting to a flight to Paris; Kadi and I introduced ourselves and discovered that we were each headed to the same destination, Paris, for the COP21. We high-fived! I was heading to PlacetoB whereas she had a pass to enter the floor of dignitaries of the COP.

Carol Keiter, USA, Kadi Kenk, Estonia, WOW airlines, Paris COP21, Climate Talks

Carol Keiter from the USA and Kadi Kenk from Estonia sitting next to one another on the WOW airlines flight from Baltimore Washington to Reykjavik Airport, connecting to a flight to Paris; Each going to the Paris COP21 Climate Talks

She mentioned an Estonian designer who recognized the enormity of waste in the design industry of unused fabric, who started a ‘trash to trend’ movement. The ‘Reet Aus’ label means ‘up made’.

Trash to Trend, Estonian, Upcycled, Clothing Design

‘Trash to Trend’ Estonian 100% Upcycled Clothing Design Line

It implies all of the leftover fabric that is used instead of being thrown away. The designer works not with recycled, but 100% upcycled clothing line. As we talked, Kadi mentioned that she’s a lawyer in tax law. She had started to volunteer at letsdoitworld a World Cleanup Day designated for 2018. Once she finished her position and realized she had no limitations, she began to open up to see things that were always there, but that she hadn’t noticed before: not just opportunities, but a completely different way of living one’s life.

She mentioned that things open up for people who are willing to open themselves to seeing things in a new way.

By going with the flow and trusting in one’s intuition, this allows one to be able to now see things, even though they were always there, but which one wasn’t able to see.

Let's do It, World Cleanup Day 2018

Let’s do It World Cleanup Day 2018

One of the first distinctions I realized upon sitting in my first day seminar at the PlacetoB, was a palatable spiritual essence within the presentations. Here were people who gathered because of their longing to make positive changes in the world. Changemakers, innovators, creatives and media professionals here in Paris to explore solutions to sustainable living, with the intent to share stories and seed their own media in ways to help create change. People with ideals they believe in, and the incentive and intent act on their creative instincts in whatever ways they conceptualized. I would say that one common denominator is that all think outside of the box; going with their hearts to manifest what they believe in. It was no accident that my heart meditations brought me there. On my first day there attending a seminar at PlacetoB, the host of the Transformational Media Summit, Jeremy Wickremer’s message reverberated with me. He spoke of the importance of asking the right questions. More important than driving towards answers, is asking questions, as this already is less limiting, and opening oneself up to a field of creativity. Wickremer prompted zealously emphasizing that “The quality of our questions affects the quality of our lives. It affects where we focus our efforts and what we achieve.”

I am daily asking questions within my meditations of how best I can serve, doing what I love to do and what I feel passionately about. Trusting in this, with the steady stream of various messages that have helped to guide and nudge me into a secure space, despite having subsequently moved to this workaway Ferry boat gig in Brooklyn, New York days following my return from Paris and told that it wasn’t going to work. And then moving back to the place which was my temporary refuge while I sifted through my stuff, and was told that this as well was not going to work, I felt that each was a gift, to push me to move on towards what will be the better way for me to manifest my dreams and use my skills best.

Once again rather than panicking about having shelter, my first instinct was to follow through with a blog I was putting together, that suddenly erupted into yet another synchronistic series of connections; the fact that in my research I happened upon the same organization that I later discovered was what had also been sent to me by one of my PlacetoB comrades. I delved first into contacting an organization with an introduction to myself and defining what I would love to do with them, using a set of skills from illustration to writing, conceptualizing to marketing their service abroad with my language skills. I then prompted myself to put out another pair of blogs as a christening of the job application. My approaching deadline of potential homelessness now serendipitously called me to consider paring down to what I could carry on my back, as in Paris, just two backpacks. Now my Facebook groups emerged with concepts of hitchhiking South (having just shoveled two and a half feet of snow in PA days earlier). Now I was looking at posts in the hitchhiking group about ways to travel and sleep for free, several of which I had already been acquainted with. In this process of investigation into now the possibility of simply beginning to travel South, with the idea of contacting and interviewing successful agroforestry farmers in Central and South America, I learned of a Frenchman born in 1937 who basically hitchhiked and traveled more extensively than anyone, André Antoine Brugiroux, who between 1955 and 2005, visited every country and territory in the world.

Having not heard back from the Center for Ecoliteracy organization in Berkeley, California where I created my own position which I presented to them, and having little savings and an ever increasing credit card debt, I now was inspired to begin hitching, however then the Zika virus scare erupted into the news. I then aimed towards the idea of searching for workaways in Europe, where ultimately I would love to reside, to ever expand my language skills. From Sicily to France, the idea of learning ecological practices from the pros, those with their own farms to then communicate in writing, this was now my pursuit. I went as far as investigating universities in France to combine studying French as a foreign language with ecological studies, yet the timing was not quite right, the semester was just starting and I had yet to acquire a student VISA. A sister of mine then reminded me of the WWOOFing concept which I new of vaguely. Within days of joining and creating yet another online profile about what I can offer and lots of investigation, I received an answer. Within minutes I remembered autodriveaway as possibility of transporting myself as I had use previously when driving back to the East coast from California with the car packed with my own stuff. This time there were only two autos on their entire list – in February – that needed to be transported. I opted for the one from the East to the West coast. The person who had been lined up to transport this car backed out at the last minute and now it was urgent. I had just enough money with more cc debt to manage the deposit, and now my plan was coalescing. I coordinated what I’d need to be a Ranch hand (hiking boots, sturdy clothes to get mucked up and gloves, sunscreen) and hitched to the location to pick up the car. My first ride within minutes of standing by the road in central PA with a sign to the next highway, was a guy who was listening while he drove to ‘The Secret‘ on his laptop in his van, and decided that there was ‘a reason for picking me up’. He drove me most of the way, having no specific jobs of urgency that morning. As he pulled into a gas station for us to find out where we were in relation to Washington D.C., he had just gotten a text about a job that sprung up, and I saw a well dressed man in his hat walking to his car. Something told me to launch out, leaving my luggage to approach this man and ask if he was driving towards D.C. He was my ride to one of the outer metro stops that would bring me from the northern tip of the Washington District of Columbia metropolitan subway transit system to where I needed to go on the southern end in Alexandria, Virginia to pick up the car. The woman working for the transit system was my third hitch, she gave me a pass to show upon arrival at my station stop.

I drove a Honda Civic (same automobile that I was driving of my mother) across the country. Leaving behind as a gift, the magnets a friend handcrafted in Taos, New Mexico – signifying to me the spiritual essence of life’s path.

Magical Magnets handcrafted by Betsy Pierce

Magical Magnets handcrafted by Betsy Pierce

and was off

the last sunset shot in Pennsylvania

the last sunset shot in Pennsylvania

And having taken a photo of the last sunset I saw in central Pennsylvania, I met my new host after climbing into her truck to take a lovely sunset photo here in my new environment, the Arizona desert.

Arizona sunset at the pickup point off Interstate 10.

Arizona sunset at the pickup point off Interstate 10.

Besides the changing landscapes that evolved from the thick moist air of the Washington D.C. area to then the hills of Tennessee and then the obvious encroaching desert of Oklahoma, were the accompanying radio stations which were now broadcasting more Christian radio shows and Christian rock, the further south and west I drove. By the time I was in the Pan Handle of Texas, there was a preacher-like radio caster who denounced Planned Parenthood as something to be handcuffed, and that the applauded birth-rate drop while it was still in existence, was to him, nothing to boast about. I guess he doesn’t notice the global problems due to overpopulation…

I managed to pull a 17 hour day drive so that I could arrive in Albuquerque NM the following day at a reasonable hour to meet up with my friend since the days when I lived in Taos. The timing was perfect, non-calculated yet having driven with the incentive to have some spare time.

The down sleeping bag that the former captain of my Berlin Ultimate Frisbee team gifted to me.

Glad I had the down sleeping bag that my former captain of my Berlin Ultimate Frisbee team “Yeehaw” gifted to me, as the windshield upon waking was sketched with crystals of ice.

I stopped at the Ranch to drop off my two backpacks and to become introduced to what I was about to commit to. I wasn’t yet sure how I’d return to Arizona from Los Angeles once I delivered the car. However after investigating Greyhound, then put some ads in the LA craigslist rideshare, and even scouted out local public and private Los Angeles airports with the idea of hitching a plan, I sent out a message to a friend who lives there. We had lived in San Francisco at the same time, then met up randomly at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah and then became housemates in Santa Fe, New Mexico and he tipped me to get a job working at the Santa Fe Ski Basin. We then were for a period both living in Berlin, Germany at the same time and now each back in the States. It turned out that though numerous people answered my craigslist ad looking for a ride, my friend Paul was just returning from a day’s ski trip and was leaving in another day and a half to drive to Tucson, Arizona to attend the Gem and Jam music festival which he had purchased tickets for in advance. It just so happened that he’d be driving on Interstate 10, which is the route I took to CA from AZ, and where I could be picked up by the Rancher. Yep, another rather scintillating example of synchronistic timing! Here are pics of the road trip

flickr pics of my East to West autodriveaway trip transporting a Honda Civic (I love these cars) and of some scenes in Los Angeles

flickr pics of my East to West autodriveaway trip transporting a Honda Civic (I love these cars) and of some scenes in Los Angeles

and also of some interesting Los Angeles scenes.

Now I’m working rather long hours and doing physically harder work than I’ve ever done in my life, yet with absolute love for the animals I’m helping to take care of for a rancher who is a tremendously hard worker. She is teaching me efficiency, as she juggles multiple tasks; a job, milking goats with a machine, raising chickens, turkeys, two pot-bellied pigs and making lotions and soap with the goat milk base. She is also part of a volunteer Search & Rescue team who must ride horses for their operation; the most efficacious way to search for a lost person in the desert is not with an automobile, but by horse. Her husband tends to the horses and cattle. They have 6 dogs, three of which are ‘working dogs’ yet completely lovable pets, and all of which are at least 80 pounds a piece. WWOOFing is excellent for the hosts, who as farmers and ranchers typically have endless chores and work to maintain their operations, and great for people like myself who can step into a completely new environment, and learn continuously about aspects of farming etc. that are new; offering one’s physical help in exchange for room and board. I specified in my search that I needed internet access. Voila! In this solitude, living in the middle of nowhere in the sonoran desert with no vehicle (except for my thumb), I opted to bring a folder of all of my Paris paraphernalia and my digital camera and laptop; to continue to spread all that I learned during the two weeks in Paris and to complete my book and start composing more music. It is a purposeful isolation, and really quite unique. As someone who has still not marketed myself nor find an artist residency, nor a publisher willing to gamble on an unpublished writer, nor any grants or funds from a foundation to assist, this seemed to be the best option – specifically since the whole theme of the Paris COP21 and PlacetoB is about transforming all of our habits towards ecologically healthy ones for humans and all inhabitants of the planet, for a better world.

For anyone who has read this far, I can say that this is giving me a taste of what it is like to be a prisoner. I am the only worker here, so all of the load is falling on me, and it is sort of endless and presently a bit overwhelming. I have no days off, must be up at 6am every day, and rarely are the hours contained to the typical WWOOF schedule of 5 hours/day, totaling 30 hours a week. I have felt at times like what it must be like to be an indentured servant; for example a Pakistani immigrant worker in Saudi Arabia, working for ‘masters’ who may not be very gracious or kind. I feel like I am consistently fighting to keep the hours per day to a reasonable workload so that I can have time to work on my own projects, and it has been a continued struggle. Now I am wondering what it is that I can do, where to go, as I am earning no money whatsoever. It sounded like a reasonable way to accomplish things and this place seemed ideal in my minds eye; to put myself into solitude where I would just work on my projects. Up front it was stated that no smoking, drinking or drugs would be tolerated. I typically have a glass of red wine with my dinner, a smoke once in a while and yet certainly I am demonstrating that I’m not addicted to any of these because I can carry on fine without. Yet I feel like I hardly have any time. I am now questioning why it is that I somehow can not manage to find work that employs my skills; illustrating, writing, conversational German, French and Spanish and administrative skills and plenty of creative and conceptual ideas. I’m also a very social person who presently is sort of marooned in an area so rural with no vehicle or bicycle, so that I can’t go out at all. In fact, I feel that I am not being treated with much dignity or respect, and wondering why I have come to this place? What was it in the stars that compelled me to idealize this one, and launch myself here? Perhaps the lesson is that I have not worked on completing my book or composing any new music. I am not sure what the ‘universe’ is telling me? Perhaps it is that the joke is on me for not having had the courage or belief in myself to really dive into crafting my own skills and putting this out there. Therefore, I am definitely on a transition, and I’m not sure to where? Hmmm, within an hour of writing this paragraph and perusing Facebook while eating my dinner, I came across this post which my sister shared. It seems to hold the key!

self-sabotage, limiting beliefs

Within an Hour of adding this previous paragraph, I discovered this post which my sister had shared on her Facebook Wall | Are you Blocking your own Success

In retrospect, though the message is essentially solid, once I checked out this woman’s video I got a little annoyed with the typical selling strategy: buy now or you’ll lose out, and with this offer, you’ll get such and such for free, only while it lasts!!!! I just don’t go for these gimmicks and sales techniques, they turn me off. Funny, when I first tuned in to get my free counseling video, suddenly my computer decided to ‘update my safari browser’ and then the whole ‘streaming’ was glitchy using another browser. I do appreciate the information; about the ways that a person can be self-sabotaging through subconscious thoughts and ‘limiting beliefs’ that were imprinted into the unconscious during childhood when a person is operating mostly on ‘Theta Brainwaves’. And her points about repetition of empowering and positive thoughts envisioned and surrounding oneself with positive and supportive people who take action and make creative changes in their lives….yet I think that one can tap into this through meditation, opening up a channel to the ‘intelligence of the universe’ or whatever you wish to call IT.

Here I am,

carol_keiter_blogger_wwoof_res_feb20

carol_keiter_blogger_wwoof_res_feb20

the blogger in my ‘moose lake lodge’ in the Sonoran desert where I’m participating in my first WWOOF experience on the Veteran’s Ranch, a means of avoiding homelessness while at the same time being very interested in learning about farming techniques from the pros – the people who run the farms and ranches – and I absolutely love and adore animals of every type.

 

When I’m not working with the animals or on my own projects, I’m taking pictures of the sunsets, which have been gorgeous lately.

the sunset from all angles on this Sonoran desert feb 19th evening

the sunset from all angles on this Sonoran desert feb 19th evening

As an avid blogger who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook to complete it and and beginning again to compose music, I ask you rather unambiguously to please donate, if you are able. !-))

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Earth to Paris | Place to B | Heart Dimension

Earth to Paris , Paris to Earth

Earth to Paris Paris to Earth

UN Foundation, Earth to Paris,  message to combat climate change to world leaders

Earth to Paris rallied people to urge world leaders to make bold committments to combat climate change World Leaders need to Hear from the World

As I excitedly told the custom’s agent returning from Paris with the words gushing out of me describing my adventure and the phenomenal gathering of people I had just been a part of, he responded smilingly, “Sounds like it was the place to be”. “Bah Oui Hey, THAT IS the NAME of it, Place to B!” And that is how the synchronicities were flying the entire time, in fact even before I knew that I’d be going there to participate.

And Indeed it was the Place to B.

Place to B and the Place to Brief homepage

Place to B and the Place to Brief homepage

It was the Place to Brief among climate activists, bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs, artists and people representing their communities that have already been in the last years affected by global warming. This alternative media session of organized talks and workshops took place mostly under one roof, where many of 600 people from 40 countries who the attended it and participated slept under one roof, headquartered at the St. Christopher’s Inns, conveniently located at a triangular point within a few hundred meters of both the Gare de l’Est and the Gare du Nord, in central Paris. The event of information sharing was geared towards rewriting the story and presenting new ways to approach Climate Change from the media standpoint and learning about a plethora of techniques already successfully in practice to make a difference with better knowledge, understanding, information about degenerative agriculture as opposed to regenerative and sharing success stories of all sorts of entrepreneurs who are out in the world using their ingenuity and actions to dramatically affect peoples’ lives.

This epicenter gathering of people sharing information about ways to talk about climate change and sustainable alternatives and tremendously successful projects took place simultaneously during the two week sessions of heads of state meeting together just a bit northeast of Paris at the COP21, the Conference of Parties ‘Sustainable Innovation Forum 2015’.

Place to B set up by Anne-Sophie Novel and a team of 165 people to create this world-class event.

Place to B set up by Anne-Sophie Novel and a team of 165 people to create this world-class event.

The Place to B and particularly the Place to Brief, was conceived of by a French journalist and writer

The Place to B: Place to Brief was conceived of and founded by the journalist and author Anne-Sophie Novel and the director of production Nicolas Bienvenue. They were surrounded by a team of people who coordinated the continuous flurry of learning events and entertainment, with a tremendous group of visiting presenters, entrepreneurs and activists who each delivered their scintillating information and testimonies of successes and inspirational savvy from all corners of the world. Anne-Sophie thought of the idea in response to the journalists being blocked out of the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. She marched forward with her terrific idea of creating a focal point where activists and news media could gather, and more and more people joined in with their support and energy towards the idea. It certainly did involve a huge commitment and coordination from so many people, with a packed two week schedule of events.

I, as well as many people will be seeding this information. I’ve learned so much that I was unaware of, such as the distinction between degenerative and regenerative agriculture. We were all introduced to so many new perspectives and ways of looking at everything; new information about methods of agriculture, devices that can be made quite easily at a very low cost that can dramatically aid peoples’ lives, save lives and improve their quality of life. We were also endowed with a lot of historical insights peeling away what we don’t learn through the media, such as why the economy is the way it is, why the degradation of the environment has spun out of control the way it has with the evolution of the Western profit-driven capitalist world. Speakers like Amy Goodman, Vandana Shiva and Naomi Klein shared their powerful insights.

At the same time, there was an uncanny – as if carefully planned – theme of information that talked of re-creating the story, probing for different ways of framing the situation, different ways of presenting ‘climate change’ to the public. The event was infused with spirituality, in the sense of feeling a connectedness, a buzz of excitement coming from a group of people brimming with inspiration and aspirations. There was a palpable empathy there among the participants, who had come from all over the world, each inspired to learn, gather information and express their ideas. One felt a connection with others, with oneself and with the cause of tipping the direction that humanity has taken to a new trajectory. There were meditation classes, yoga sessions, dance, music, artist workshops, loads of media discussions, lectures and continual briefings about what was being discussed at the COP and more importantly, what we could all collaboratively and collectively learn from one another. Certainly, the task of all who were there, is to keep spreading this information of hope and the knowledge that we can each do something to make small changes that will aggregate to make vast ones.

Every Small Gesture Has Significance

Many little voices make a tremendous noise, and many little gestures, create big changes.

step from paradigm of control, ask how you can serve, and the opportunities will arise

When you feel that you are here in service, and bow to that, opportunities will arise to allow you to act on that intention.

It was in a meditative state that I posed these questions, what may be the best thing for me to do to connect, to use my skills…and after a bunch of synchronicities fluttered towards me, I took a leap of faith to Paris within a week of learning about the Place to B through having reconnected with a former colleague of years back who happened to be one of the organizers.

One of the workshops I attended was the Transformational Media Summit : Storytelling and Media for a Better World. The New Story summit was hosted by Jeremy Wickremer, co-founder of Transformational Media Initiative In his presentation, Jeremy Wickremer spoke of the fact that each of us are potentially change-agents, with the capacity to do actions that can have a big impact on the environment – our own lives, our communities and the larger environment. And that what is more potent than merely drawing up solutions from a logical methodology, is to start with the right questions, which prompts creativity in itself.

Specifically, he mentioned that your intention – within the guise of a question – will often be answered. He more recently wrote in an article “Our Invisible World” about the fact that many things which steer human behavior, emotions, health, psychological and spiritual well-being have to do with the energy that lies beneath the actions. And that the common illnesses which affect modern man and the crisis of violence that threat human cultures, have to do with a disconnect. This disconnect is within our own selves, our patterns and habits of how we live our lives. There is a disconnect within ourselves, among one another and that humans have with other creatures and nature; which is presently resulting in the greatest magnitude of habitat destruction, dissemination of species and global ecological balances and health.

The biggest disharmony of all is perhaps our relationship with the natural world.

Eisenstein, in his Sustainable Man video about The New Story, which I wrote about in my other blog, talks of stepping out of this paradigm of control and allowing oneself to be of service to this larger body of which we all are a part. And that as we direct our questions and intent to ask ‘what we can do to serve?’ that indeed, the answers and direction will arise in response to the intention.

Daniel Goleman, Ecological Intelligence, Hidden Impacts, What We Buy

Daniel Goleman Ecological Intelligence: The Hidden Impacts of What We Buy

Daniel Goleman is the psychologist, science journalist and author of “Emotional Intelligence”. He posits that non-cognitive skills can matter as much as a person’s I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient) for workplace success in “Working with Emotional Intelligence”. In 2007, Goleman wrote about “Social Intelligence” and in 2009, “Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy

Besides the rational means of digesting information, there is the whole realm of the invisible. I’ll call it the domain of the heart. Herein lies the capacity of a person to intuit something and feel whether the information is in alignment with the words. A person can sense whether they feel good around a person, or uneasy. A person can have an impression beyond the rational, about whether the words of another person seem to convey the same as their gestures, or whether something is not quite in synch. One can sense whether something they read or see feels accurate and sound, or whether there is something amiss. Many animals can sense with a heightened capacity – with sense organs much more highly tuned to frequencies beyond those of human beings – to see, hear, detect movements and subtle alternations in the environment.

I mention the heart literally and figuratively as a metaphor. The heart is the central organ in the body – lets just talk about human beings – that is consistently circulating oxygen, nutrients and carrying away wastes throughout the body. The heart pumping station, is also by its nature generating an electromagnetic field which is larger than that produced by the brain. The heart also has a complex system of neurons, cells that are consistently transmitting information to the rest of the body. When the heart is in synch in the individual with feelings of joy and love, this invisible field expands. When an individual is more channeled into negative emotions of fear and anger, this field constricts.

The perception of the heart has everything to do with the health of all of the other organs of our body, of individual health in general, of the health of societies, permeating into healthy relationships with other organisms and with the health of the earth, which is an organism just as we are.

The heart is also metaphorically an organ of connection with others. Besides wonder, exuberance, joy and gratitude that a person can feel within him or herself, the words love, compassion and empathy typically imply a connection with another.

And as we begin to take tiny actions that follow the logic of the heart – which knows that each act is significant – the logic of the mind of the older world begins to be replaced. This power of repetition which can physically build muscles, is what occurs mentally, neurologically. Each time you think differently, you are rewiring your brain. This concept called Neuroplasticity has to do with the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This rewiring allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

Listening to Intuition is the Wisdom of the Heart.

My introduction into the wisdom of the heart probably began through readings of Deepak Chopra. A physician and author, meditation guide and founder of the Chopra Center; who introduced this awareness that has been understood for Millenia in various Eastern spiritual traditions, of the effectiveness of meditation and this connection to the vast unknown dimension of energy. Chopra has teamed more recently with Oprah Winfrey to bring this domain of the spirit, of tapping into the hidden world of energy through stillness and meditation.

HRM Heart Rhythm Meditation synchronizes, breathe, the heart beat, respiratory, circulation, nervous system, coherence

HRM Heart Rhythm Meditation synchronizes the breathe with the heart beat; coordinating the bodys respiratory, circulation and nervous systems into coherence

I then was introduced to the practice of ‘Heart Rhythm meditation’ which purports a harmonious and healing relationship within oneself and the universe beyond, through simply aligning the rhythm of one’s breathing to the rhythm of one’s heart beat. It is a practice introduced to the West by a Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan who descended from Pashtuns, an ethnic group originally from Afghanistan and Pakistan. This meditation practice was brought to me by a certified AMA physician who understands the multidimensional healing that this practice provides – from reducing stress, to lowering blood pressure, creating a more harmonious heart rate and allowing oneself to access in this stillness, the domain of energy that stretches way beyond the physical heart and body.

HRM Heart Rhythm Meditation synchronizes, breathe, the heart beat, respiratory, circulation, nervous system, coherence

HRM Heart Rhythm Meditation synchronizes the breathe with the heart beat; coordinating the bodys respiratory, circulation and nervous systems into coherence

So called ‘primitive people’, without having had the use of technological tools that more ‘advanced’ civilizations have had at their disposal and for their distraction, have had thousands of years of penetration into the invisible world that the modern Western world has only been starting to grasp is in the last 50 years. And with the spiritual and emotional well-being deficit that modern man has come to feel, this dis-ease of the human spirit, disconnect with oneself, growing obesity, growing psychological disorders and reliance on quick-fixes such as pharmaceuticals, and growing disharmony and feelings of isolation, have reached towards and cherished many ancient traditions that have evolved in the Eastern World to ease their dis-ease and treat their disharmony with something more than a quick fix of treating the symptoms instead of the disorder. They have reached towards practices of meditation, yoga, t’ai chi and walking into nature and silence, with a visceral understanding that these practices have short and long term benefits.

no external universe, every action we do, we do  to ourselves

I will do my best to deliver in chewable-sized increments all that I’ve learned over a series of blogs.

Liberté? Censorship in the West | Teju Cole The New Yorker | Kabir Chibber Quartz

I came across these two articles amidst the hubbub of the media’s portrayal of events in Paris after the attack on Charlie Hebdo and feel they need to be shared. Each point out the bigger picture, censorship and colonialism in the West.

One written by Teju Cole for the New Yorker January 9th, Unmournable Bodies

Charlie Hebdo, the New Yorker, Teju Cole, the Eiffel Tower

“Unmournable Bodies” article by Teju Cole for the New Yorker, the Eiffel Tower dark after attack on Charlie Hebdo

“This week’s events took place against the backdrop of France’s ugly colonial history, its sizable Muslim population, and the suppression, in the name of secularism, of some Islamic cultural expressions, such as the hijab.

Rather than posit that the Paris attacks are the moment of crisis in free speech—as so many commentators have done—it is necessary to understand that free speech and other expressions of liberté are already in crisis in Western societies; the crisis was not precipitated by three deranged gunmen. The U.S., for example, has consolidated its traditional monopoly on extreme violence, and, in the era of big data, has also hoarded information about its deployment of that violence. There are harsh consequences for those who interrogate this monopoly. The only person in prison for the C.I.A.’s abominable torture regime is John Kiriakou, the whistle-blower. Edward Snowden is a hunted man for divulging information about mass surveillance. Chelsea Manning is serving a thirty-five-year sentence for her role in WikiLeaks. They, too, are blasphemers, but they have not been universally valorized, as have the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo.”

The other submitted by the author Kabir Chibber, a number of hours ago on January 11th, for Quartz Boko Haram is turning into the next Islamic State

World Leaders, Hypocrites, Charlie Hebdo, liberté

World Leaders in Paris Today 2015-01-11 Quartz Biggest Hypocrites re: Free Speech

Kabir Chibber states “These are the biggest hypocrites celebrating free speech today in Paris.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The schoolgirls were kidnapped 8 months ago and are still missing.

Boka Haram #BringBackOurGirls Quartz

Boka Haram #BringBackOurGirls Quartz

This week, Boko Haram used a 10 year old girl as a suicide bomber. Last week, Boko Haram committed its worst atrocity yet, killing as many as 2,000 people in Baga (Nigeria). Most of the victims were reportedly children, women and elderly people who “could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents,” The Guardian reported. Civilians gave up on trying to count all the bodies.

Kabir mentions that the recent massacre barely made a ripple in the international media. Not enough people are paying attention!

I caught this the other evening and thought it interesting. An interview with Nawaz Gerges, Middle East expert talks about the clash of ideologies on ‘Consider This‘ – an Al Jazeera America news show. He mentions that France’s secular ideology (i.e. dis approval of Muslim traditions such as women wearing the hijab (headscarf and veil in schools) causing some young people (mostly men) to feel disenchanted and disenfranchised in their place in the country. This can wind up motivating them to become recruits into the extremist groups. At the same time, he mentions that the extremists are trying to divide Western society. They recruit the disaffected militants (like the Paris gunmen who are like pawns) to carry out their missions like ‘hit men’ for the larger cause. As I listened to this interview I recalled George Bush Jr.’s (the President at the time) reaction and statements to the public on the day of the 2001 synchronized terrorist attacks in the United States, and thought, he was sort of guilty of the same thing. By talking about an ‘Axis of Evil’ and pointing to the Muslim world he was driving a wedge into international relations. Even if he had specified a smaller segment of militant extremists, somehow the ‘stamp’ of Muslim stuck as ‘someone to be feared’. Am I wrong or missing something?

hitchabout Paris

hitchabout from Berlin to Paris, frankly, i think this particular time i took a bus back!-) but definitely had a good experience hitching there ‘-))