23 July 2009

simplify, simplify

My mantra for the year. I've been decluttering, refocusing, letting go of bad habits and saying hello to new (good) ones. Part of living in a sustainable way is making sure the ol' noggin' can sustain all that's thrown at it as well.

And who do I have to thank? Well, yours truly, of course. But I couldn't have done it without my loved ones, and a few dear strangers that I know mostly through books and blogs. Here's a list of those who get me through the day in one piece:

Thich Nhat Hanh

It doesn't matter which book you start with, all of this Vietnamese Buddhist monk's writings are simply stated and sure to calm the mind and spirit. Not one iota of religious dogma. I'm psyched to be hearing him speak at the Beacon Theatre this October.

Patanjali & Sri Swami Satchidananda

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - this is what yoga is all about. I read a sutra or two before I go to sleep at night.

Gail Blanke

I was skeptical of this one, especially since the title is telling me to 'throw out' things. I don't take kindly to that sort of message. But inside this little gem are some practical (and somewhat ecological) tips on letting go of the stuff that clutters your physical and mental space. Right on, Gail.

Elephant Journal

I can't quite remember how I stumbled upon the elephant, but I'm ever-so-glad I did. I caught them just as they were shutting down print ops to launch their all-online version. I knew as soon as I opened the first page and saw what kind of ads they were running (yoga, healthy food, eco stuff) it was my kind of magazine. Here's a little story: I was in a cafe in Sydney, Australia last year, reading one of the ol' paper & ink issues of the mag and a young lady (another American) sitting at the table next to me asked where I got it. I told her I subscribed. She told me she contributed, and was just so surprised to see someone in Oz reading the humble magazine from Boulder, Colorado. Small world.


I'm not really talking about the man, here, more about the method. Not sure how I feel about all of his principles (the proprietary ones), but this 90-minute, hot & sweaty, 26-posture "open-eyed moving meditation" has sure gotten me through some tough days. I'd say it's at least 95% mental, and it ain't so bad for the bod, either.

Think Simple Now

Through a sparse and thoughtfully written blog, Tina Su, et al, help others do just as the title suggests: Think Simple - Now. I used to be skeptical of self-help stuff like this, but some little voice started telling me that it can actually help to be open-minded and take a serving of helpful advice once in awhile. It's good to listen to those little voices sometimes.

Zen Habits

Nope, this isn't a blog about monk's robes. It's another well-thought-out and simply stated blog that reminds me to keep it simple, and do it with a smile.

Lots of Tweeters
Twitter can be a distraction, but it's also been an amazing resource for connecting with some new friends and like-minded individuals. Here are a few (off the top of my head) who remind me to simplify:

And here are a couple of tools that don't hurt:

My zafu & zabuton (meditation cushions)

Made in Vermont by Samadhi Cushions

Meditation candles

100% Beeswax & essential oils by Big Dipper Wax Works

Who keeps you sane?

grow your knowledge in an east village garden

Come learn about the latest in sustainable design in a quaint little garden in the East Village. Brought to you by the New York Restoration Project.

Series on Sustainable Design in East Village Garden!
Toyota Children’s Learning Garden
603 E 11th St between avenues B & C

Join us in the Toyota Children’s Learning Garden for a 4 part discussion series highlighting techniques to green our limited urban space. Whether you’re working in a garden, apartment, business, or home, come and learn from New York City’s leaders in sustainable design.

The discussions and workshops will take place every other Thursday, July 30th-September 24th, in the garden from 7:00-8:00pm. We will also highlight the area's environmentally conscious restaurants and businesses at the presentations. Following the discussions we invite everyone to join us for hors d'oeuvre and giveaways in the garden generously donated by Sustainable NYC, Angelica’s Kitchen, Quintessence, Hummus Place, Spino, and more.

July 30, 2009: Sarah Siegel, of Michael Van Valkenburg Associates: designer of the Toyota Children’s Learning Garden. She will give a short garden tour and speak about urban garden design, specifically the shad tolerant planting palette and sustainable technologies in this garden.

August 13, 2009: Chris Collins, Executive Director Solar1, will discuss benefits of renewable energy, the work of Solar1, and how to feasibly incorporate such technologies in your everyday life.

August 27, 2009: GreenItYourself Green Roof Workshop: Lori Gibbs and Atom Cianfarani, believe that living a healthy and environmentally responsible lifestyle should be accessible to everyone! They will teach about green roofing and prove tips and techniques for gardening in small spaces.

September 10, 2009: Marni Horowitz, CEO and founder Alive Structures, will speak about green wall installation and other techniques to make sue of our abundantly available vertical space. She will also discuss ecological gardening practices which mimic natural ecosystems that increase abundance, beauty, and biodiversity.

Space is limited, to RSVP and for more information about New York Restoration Project please contact Rachael Brody, 212-333-2552 or rbrody@nyrp.org