Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Feng Shui? Or just good hygeine?

Check out this article from TreeHugger.com. In Feng Shui tradition removing your shoes at the door represents leaving worldly goods behind, but these are some other great reasons to go shoeless!

These "shoe off" and "door mat" practices came about to reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked into your home. Shoes clearly can be a source of substantial dirt, as is evident from the footprints left when you walk in shoes on a clean, wet floor. Not only can shoes bring dirt into your home, but they can also bring pesticides, lead, and other chemicals that can be present in dirt. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, showed that people bring lawn pesticides into their homes on their shoes. These pesticide-laden shoes were a major source of pesticide exposures, especially for young children who spend a lot of time on the floor and who put dirty fingers, dust, and toys in their mouths. Somewhat surprising was that the study showed that indoor shoe-wearing was a larger source of children’s pesticide exposures than eating non-organic fruits and vegetables. Taking your shoes off and wiping your feet on a door mat or other carpeting before entering were found to be important pollutant reduction measures.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Trash to Treasure? Donate!

Do we really need all that is in our homes, imagine the good we could do by sharing our extras with others. There are many organizations out there that specialize in making use out of consumer excess. Listed below are a few favorites:
www.excessaccess.org – helps you to locate local charities that need what you want to donate
www.fairygodmothersinc.com – finds prom dresses etc. for young girls
www.dressforsuccess.org – provides suits for individuals entering the work force
www.onewarmcoat.org – donates coats to those in need
www.hatsoff-to-chemo.org – provides hats to patients receiving chemotherapy
www.suitcasesforkids.org – provides foster children with suitcases
www.solesforsouls.com – donates shoes to disaster victims

If one cannot find a home for something you can recycle all paper, plastic, and glass through your curbside recycler. Other items may also be recycled and www.earth911.org will tell you where and how!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Weekend Meditation Class spills over into everyday life....

My meditation class at the Shiwa Center for Peace started up again this past weekend after a summer hiatus. The Shiwa Center for Peace is located in Mount Pleasant and offers various meditation classes even one for children and teens. "Shiwa", which is the Tibetan word for "peace", is a non-profit organization and classes are offered on a donation basis. The director of the center is Bhakhang Tulku Rinpoche, he is also our guide in establishing a meditation practice. Upon entering Shiwa the first thing you will notice is the overwhelming sense of calm you will feel, the center is truly a reflection of Rinpoche's teachings and way of life. It is a great opportunity to learn the practice of insight meditation which allows us to be more alive, mindful, and balanced in everyday life. When I leave Shiwa I see how the practice of meditation can be applied to everything in life. When we sweep the floor, do the dishes, eat a meal, talk with a friend, we are present and in the moment. Please go to the web site http://www.shiwacenter.org/ for more information.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

This is in response to my "sister" in California who posted the below in response to the Physical Clutter = Mental Clutter Blog:

What about plastics? There has been all this research recently that has come out regarding plastics. Most kitchens are stocked full of plastics especially those who have kids. Do we know which ones are good and bad? That is certainly a way to reduce clutter, throw out the stuff that's chocked full of estrogen....

Yes! A cabinet full of plastic and old Tupperware is clutter. I also agree that an even better reason to purge are the health risks associated with the use of plastics. Years ago I recycled all my Tupperware containers and switched to glass but sippy cups, water bottles, and Blues Clues plates still lingered. With the recent press and current research everything made a trip to the local recycling plant. I replaced water bottles with stainless steel and SIGGS. Available at www.samandbellie.com and www.reusablebags.com. For those with little ones, there is a brand called Born Free that is made of a plastic that does not leach. Leach? Research shows that polycarbonate plastic (clear and hard) leaches Bisphenol A (BPA) which is known to interfere with hormone balance & growth patterns affecting prostate and breast health. Disposable (soft) water bottles may leach DEHA, a known carcinogen, and should be disposed after one use. Or better yet decrease your environmental impact and use a stainless bottle that lasts forever! Fact: Americans use 2.5 million water bottles per hour and little are recycled! So what do you do with little ones that you don't want using your best china? Remember your mom's Corelle dishes? Not only are they inexpensive, they are made of glass yet are shatter resistant, they last, and come in sectional plates for kids who don't like the peas to touch the apples.

Back to the Basics!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Physical Clutter = Mental Clutter

What is Clutter? Here is a great way to determine what stays and what goes when trying to create a more balanced space:
  1. Does it celebrate you & what you are passionate about?
  2. Is it useful & functional on a regular basis? (yes, a bread maker is useful and functional but not if it has been collecting dust for 5 years)

If it does not fit the above criteria IT IS CLUTTER!!!!

I just had the great opportunity of helping a close friend with her kitchen. We spent about 4 hours going through cabinets and separated into baskets to recycle and donate. Her positive attitude and non-attachment to material goods made the process very easy. She let go with love and it felt very cathartic as well as exhausting. We finished with a nice relaxing lunch. Not only did the process benefit her but she was able to give items to others that no longer had purpose in her home but would serve someone else well.

A little Karma Yoga anyone?