Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Clothes are Nature Too, All Too Often Caught in Exploitative Patterns

The paradigm I'm working in is that everything in our physical world is part of natural/physical/biological intelligence.

That includes your clothing.

In the United States, where I live, the weekend following Thanksgiving is when all kinds of stuff is discounted heavily. People who've spent days preparing the Thanksgiving party then chase deals. Hours-long line-ups (some last all night long) and intensely crowded shopping conditions are the norm on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving. Sometimes violence erupts.

The retailers offering these discounts claim we'll save money if we shop at these sales. And... my time, energy, and calm are all very valuable to me. In fact, the state of my time, energy, and mood impacts my earning power. So I never participate in this shopping ritual. I just don't think the potential dollars saved are worth my time, energy, and stress.

Then there are the people who participate from far away—they usually live in neighborhoods middle class buyers don't often visit, and they're the ones who pay for our discounts.

They're the ones who, for instance, make clothing for less and less pay. The clothing that sits on our skin all day... and has been touched with hands of fear (will I be able to feed my loved ones?) and anger (this is unfair!) and shame (is working for peanuts so that richer people can dress themselves cheap all I'm good for?)

I embrace the truth held in the fear, anger, and shame of people who've been backed into a corner.

And what about us, the people who wear these clothes? Natural/physical/biological intelligence does not discriminate. It accepts and reflects all thoughts, all human choices. While we may not often give thought to the suffering of cotton or polyester, these materials do have intelligence, as does all of physical reality. I'm certain that cloth would prefer not to be caught up in a web of exploitation either. And—if your clothing has been made by a person who's exploited, then you are bringing the energies of exploitation home to your own skin every time you wear that clothing.

I invite you to stop training your body to accept exploitation. Avoid putting clothing filled with exploitative patterns on your skin. 

One of the world's few fair trade clothing retailers, Fair Indigo, has here an insider analysis about the reality of who pays for clothing sent to you via free shipping:

p.s. Let's consider "the hypocrisy factor"—here I am inviting you to do something. So what do I do?... I am a fairly low-income person at this point in my life. As a result, I buy about 85 to 90 percent of my clothes secondhand, and anything new I buy, I expect to last at least a decade. So my clothes are mostly one step removed from what was probably unfair beginnings. The money I spend on my secondhand clothes goes to support a local hospice. My eventual aim is to make enough money that I can afford to buy all my clothing, in fact, all my "stuff," newly made at fair trade prices. I'm working on it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Disoriented or Upset? Part 4, aka Some Humor About the Situation!

The previous three posts have been about the dynamic of disorientation and upset, and productive ways to respond to those feelings.

The big science news this week is a potential upset of models of the world once considered to be inviolate. It seems that some neutrinos (subatomic particles) may have been observed to travel faster than the speed of light. Here's a short video, with comments I really enjoyed, about this potential change in the way we understand the world:

The whole idea behind collaboration with natural/physical/biological intelligence is that we don't live in a world that "behaves" and "acts" in certain ways... we live in a world that invites us to dance with the many other beings who inhabit it.

Everyone who's here (human and non-human) is evolving, learning, and growing. Everyone who's here has infinite potential, including the potential to travel at various speeds.

From my perspective, the "laws" of science are ultimately simply our best description of the current tendencies and habits of some of the other beings we're sharing space and time with. But those beings, like us, can change.

We will start realizing the full potential of our lives when a. we finally get that no matter what we think we're doing, we are actually part of the dance, not just watching the show, and b. when we develop a level of courtesy, respect, and skill that matches that of our countless would-be partners.

I promised some humor, and here it is... the lighter side of disorientation and upset!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Disoriented or Upset? Part 3

Breathing is a form of collaboration with natural/physical/biological intelligence that you do 24/7. If you let it, breathing can teach you vast and profound vistas of how to partner your soul's intention (the tourist ; ) with the wisdom of bodily (natural/physical/biological) intelligence (the tour guide ; ).

Sometimes you are more consciously engaged with breathing. Sometimes you are thinking about other things and your body intelligence just keeps going, bringing that necessary air in and out.

How would it feel to acknowledge your natural/physical/biological intelligence for keeping your breath going, even when you are focused on other things?

How would it feel to acknowledge your natural/physical/biological intelligence for keeping billions of things going, even when you are focused on other things?

What a relief, we don't have to depend on our conscious, verbal awareness to keep our life processes going, second by second! 

Our natural/biological/physical intelligence is 100 percent committed to the life process already. And wants to do the work involved. Yes, getting out of the way can feel new, different, and unwinding/unhinging of the past to the point of causing disorientation and upset. (See previous post.) Sometimes it's not possible to learn something better without transiting through some disorientation and upset. In everyday parlance, it's called "getting out of your comfort zone."

My personal favorite approach to breathing in harmony with natural/physical/biological intelligence these days is found in the work of Leslie Kaminoff, of The Breathing Project yoga studio in NYC. 

Here's a six-minute introduction from Leslie Kaminoff to some foundational ideas related to learning how to breathe in harmony with our body's structural design:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Disoriented or Upset, Part 2

Feeling disoriented or upset during or after a dialogue with natural/physical/biological intelligence?

If dialoguing with Nature intelligence is not what you really want to be doing, that could be disorienting or upsetting. I invite you to never do anything you don't really want to do!

Denim Weaving
To find out more about weaving a rug from old denim jeans and undyed linen, please visit:
If you tend to sweep the reality of your life under a mental or emotional rug, or have been forced by others to do so, a dialogue with Nature intelligence could be upsetting or disorienting because natural/physical/biological intelligence always aims you towards truth. 

If you are in a state of illness of any kind, working with natural/physical/ biological intelligence may lead you to feel that your symptoms are suddenly looming large—that's because they are being brought into sharper focus.

Last but not least, you could be working too hard or trying too hard, and stressing yourself.

Think of Nature intelligence as a breeze blowing through your hair or an ocean wave bobbing you up and down. When you dialogue with natural/physical/biological intelligence, you'll have the most pleasure, even if you are ill, even if you are used to denial, if you just let the breeze blow, and let the wave roll.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Disoriented or Upset, Part 1

Natural/physical/biological intelligence, left to its own devices, always moves towards pleasure, balance, and vitality.

Yet, for some people, some of the time, dialogues with natural/physical/biological intelligence can be upsetting.

All of us have individual responses to any stimulus. 

If you're not experiencing overall greater pleasure, balance, and vitality when engaged in dialogues with natural/physical/biological intelligence, you're missing out on something. This statement is not a criticism of you, it's offered in a spirit of support. 

I want you to experience greater pleasure, balance, and vitality on an ongoing basis. More to come in upcoming posts! 

In the meantime, I found this video that gives some hints about the ways in which we have difficulty receiving Nature's love and respect.