It’s Easy Being Green: 10 Powerful, Visual Reminders

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Over the years, I’ve become increasingly conscious of the impact of my lifestyle on the planet. Many of us have,  yet we hear of the devastation of climate change, see the images of melting ice caps and dead whales with plastic-filled stomachs and are forced to wonder.

Will our efforts be enough?

Here in Guatemala, the environmental situation can seem dire. Many people litter on the streets, because they never learned that littering is harmful to nature. Deforestation is rampant. This small country has amazing biodiversity but more and more animal and plant species are endangered or extinct.

My friend Alfredo Maul is a Guatemalan architect and eco-activist. His non-profit promotes environmental education and motivation. He walks his talk, living, breathing and teaching sustainability every day. One of his organization’s awareness-raising campaigns points out the ways in which we live and consume illogically.

He uses simple, bold images in his campaign to illustrate how we can shift into making smarter, more ecological choices.

Read full post.

See many more of the images from this campaign here.

What Yoga Isn’t.

Originally published on elephant journal.

“Yoga is the mere or sheer participation in the wonder of Life as it is already perfectly given.”
~ Mark Whitwell, Yoga of Heart

The word “yoga” has become popular, mainstream and confused.

The question for today is: are we practicing actual yoga? Or are we making our yoga yet another item on our endless task list, an appointment in our weekly agenda after which we can go back to being miserable?

Are we creating spiritual practice just to have something to do or to attain enlightenment or flat abs or the perfect life?

The teacher is within. A guru can light the path, but only the yogi can walk that path.

Every yogi has her own practice.

There are as many yogas as yogis.

Yoga isn’t asana.

Yoga isn’t meditation.

Yoga isn’t ethics and morals.

Yoga isn’t studying the Gita or the Sutras.

“You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” ~ Sharon Gannon

Yoga isn’t a lifestyle; yoga is life.

Yoga is not a lineage. Yoga does not require any particular equipment, apparel or paraphernalia. Yoga is not just on the mat. Yoga is not just in a studio. Yoga is not just formal practice.

Yoga isn’t the conscious inhale and exhale.

Yoga isn’t perfect balance.

Yoga isn’t New Age relaxation.

Yoga isn’t flexibility.

Yoga isn’t mindfulness.

Yoga blesses us with well being and freedom from inflexibility, weakness and chronic imbalance. Freedom from rigid beliefs about life, God and our own bodies and abilities.

Yoga is the dance of the soul, the root of the smile, the hollow center inside the space that fills the heart.

Yoga isn’t exclusive.

Yoga isn’t expensive.

Yoga isn’t a business or a marketplace or a commercial for the happy, healthy, mindful life.

Yoga is who we are and always have been.

“Yoga must be adapted to our needs, and no standardized approach will work.” ~ Mark Whitwell

We mustn’t integrate Yoga into our lives—that would be impossible, as it is already integrated. What we can do is learn certain movements, exercises and breath techniques for our body type and personality. What we can do is meditate and cultivate mindfulness and heartfulness throughout our days and years on the planet.

Yoga is realization that we are the energy to live fully, serve others and give love, kindness and compassion to all beings, including ourselves.

We are practicing everywhere, all the time, whether we know it or not.

Yoga is union.

Union of what?

Not the little self to the Big Self. Not the ego to the divine. Those are already connected, and there is no way of separating Us versus Them or me versus God.

We are nature, and nature is us. Yoga helps us realize that.

Smile Pretty & Abandon Hope.

chapinThe secret to a happy life:

Give up hope.

Or, should I say, hope wisely.

Cultivate wise hope.

In When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chodron writes: “You could even put ‘Abandon hope’ on your refrigerator door instead of more conventional aspirations…”

Chapter 7: Hopelessness and Death

“Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.”

Unwise hope and fear are two sides of the same corrupt, worthless coin.

Wise hope and wise letting go are two side of the golden coin that will make you rich.

Our minds produce thoughts. From where do those thoughts come? Where do they go? How quickly they come and go. Emotions too.

Meditation does not stop the thoughts from coming.

Mindfulness does not mean you are always happy-go-lucky and living 100% in the present moment.

Meditation is pure awareness, beyond concentration.

Mindfulness is present moment awareness, and the present sometimes (often) includes memories of the past and plans for the future.

Smiling is the universal language of contentment, joy, pleasure, happiness, gratitude, friendship.

Smile pretty. Shine from the inside out. Don’t fake smile.

Notice all the storylines, dramas and expectations constantly being played out in your mind.

Notice what you are hoping will happen. Notice what you are hoping will not happen.

Let go.

Abandon hope.

Put it on your refrigerator.

28 Ways to be (More) Real.

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  1. Say what you feel.
  2. Admit failure.
  3. Make more eye contact.
  4. Remember your own (and every being’s) basic goodness.
  5. Sing! (Even if you can’t sing.)
  6. Dance! (Even if you can’t dance.)
  7. Admit it when you’re wrong. And say sorry.
  8. Look fear in the face.
  9. Write heartfelt notes to friends.
  10. Give up small talk.
  11. Don’t be fake.
  12. Cry.
  13. Laugh loudly.
  14. Practice pausing and noticing the present moment.
  15. Contemplate death.
  16. Communicate!
  17. Practice intimacy.
  18. Don’t try to make your life seem perfect on social media.
  19. Do what you feel like doing.
  20. Have a meaningful career.
  21. Practice yoga. Fall down. Get up again.
  22. Practice meditation, every day.
  23. Surround yourself with real people.
  24. Write.
  25. Create art.
  26. Read.
  27. Learn.
  28. Remember: everyone wants happiness & does not want pain. Remember, we are all the same.