Thursday, May 29, 2008

Musings on Sustainable Wisdom

My mind keeps roaming back to a beautiful, simple and brilliant poem by Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends. It is included in one of my favorite worn out meditation type books, Our Land, Ourselves: Readings on People and Place, published by The Trust for Public Land. I was privileged to go to 'farm camp' last year at Knoll Farm, where a couple of the editors and contributors work, live, play and share their love of the land and are helping remind people about our connection to it through their workshops/retreats (my daughter dubbed this farm camp for me) at the Center for Whole Communities in the gorgeous Mad River Valley in Vermont.

I frequently pick up this book of wise words to push back the crazy work-a-day, suburban existence that pulls my connection to what I experienced up there thin. A random reading can bring me back to a place of remembering what is real, what is important and perhaps what is not.

I have a little dry, flat rose from last year's garden crushed in the page where Mr. Silverstein's poem rests. I never get tired of it. I'd like to share it with you today. Extract from it what you will, but I promise if you read it periodically, it will have some effect on you.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright.

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

Shel Silverstein, 1974

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Local Food Gathering Expedition

My dear blog buddy, Yarny Old Kim, happens to live near my current hood, but is relatively new to the area, so we went on a local food gathering field trip last weekend.

First stop was to our local 'bee lady' Landi @ Gooserock Farm for wonderful local honey and bee-related products -- some of the most luscious soaps and beeswax-based cosmetic products. Gooserock Farm is in Montville, NJ but if you're not local, you can buy from their website (see link above).

Second stop was the local egg guy (I really don't know his name!) to play with the free-roaming chickens and pick up some delicious fresh local organic eggs. Well, we were playing, the Pennsylvania Reds may have been more disturbed than excited to see us. Other than the colorful roosters, all the chickens had these big red butts, which were kind of amusing (see image above).

The final stop on our local food tour was the most fun. Right around the corner from the egg guy is our wonderful food coop, VeggieHeads run by Susan Sopira and Lisa Cooper. They are amazing and tireless in support of creating opportunities for folks like me to not only buy healthier food for less, but they do a lot to highlight and introduce other local producers to the group. Susan also has chickens and a gardens everywhere. She has surrendered her garage to the coop. I introduced Kim to Susan and it was yarn envy for the rest of the afternoon. Kim is a knitting wonder and I saw first hand how true that is for Susan as well. Being a newbie I marvelled at the yarny talk tried to absorb some of their knitting wisdom (I did walk away with a new pattern for a very simple project - we'll see how simple it is!).

It was so exciting to share these small, but very important, bits of my ever-evolving sustainable world. I'm a big supporter of local stuff, whatever it is and it is so much more fun to gather supplies - beats the supermarket as far as I'm concerned!

If you don't live in my neck of the woods (Morris County, NJ), I bet there are local honey and egg producers somewhere near you and if not, find your nearest farm market and get friendly with those folks!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

How to Make Peace with Mom

One of my long-term goals in life was to become a mother. I am thrilled celebrate this Mother's Day as the mom of two beautiful boys.

One of my short-term goals in life is to attend one of Alison Rose Levy's Family Constellation Repatterning events in NYC where she guides attendees to breakthrough and resolve deeply entrenched patterns deriving from your family and ancestors in a one-day workshop.

Sounds intense, doesn't it? That's what's so appealing to me.

Ms. Levy is also a health journalist and bestselling writer. In the latest issue of her monthly ezine, she published the following in honor of Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day to all. Enjoy.
:) Jen

How to Make Peace with Mom
A bouquet of roses, a box of candy, a long distance phone call. What will you give your mother this Mother’s Day? And more importantly, what will you really feel as you make your offering? Will your heart overflow with love and gratitude? Or will you be gritting your teeth, plastering a smile on, bracing yourself for Mom’s next number?

Some people have mothers as supportive and sympathetic as warm apple pie with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. But when it comes to the maternal bond, others feel like onlookers, their faces pressed against icy window panes, watching a scene that they’ve never experienced.

If the downsides of your maternal relationship are all too apparent, then you need support for making peace with Mom. Please go to this link: and share your biggest obstacle. Then watch the film, Meditations on Mom, designed to help you in taking the first step towards resolution. It's a challenge to feel warm and cuddly if Mom was neglectful, absent, abusive, addicted, withdrawn, intrusive, critical, self-absorbed, or just plain weird. So how do we respond?

With low self-esteem. Or by experiencing all too many “life lessons.” Repeating non-optimal life patterns—anything from relationship failures to financial nosedives, from mood swings to troubled kids. Whatever may be wrong with our lives, a lot of it seems to originate with Mom and our relationship to her.Through a workshop process I offer called Family Repatterning, a lot of people come to heal their relationship with their Moms. Does that mean we can turn back time and undo what was experienced? or what Mom did? Absolutely not.

But the wisdom of Family Repatterning can help us rediscover the love and make peace through rediscovering a simple connection. In this and upcoming issues of the Collective Realm ezine, I'll address this dilemma because the relationship with Mom is so foundational to our lives.

My Mother's Day Wish for You
Whoever she was and whatever she did, my Mother's Day wish for you is to make peace with Mom and to come to terms with your relationship with Mom as it is. That's why I made Meditations on Mom, a Mother’s Day poem/film in honor of my own highly imperfect, beautiful, wonderful one of a kind mother—and of yours’.

Mother's Day Blessing Ceremony
Join me and other healers from every tradition to offer blessings to all mothers throughout the world. When: May 11th, 1:30 - 4 PM. Where: St. Bart's Church, 109 East 50th Street, New York City (at Park Avenue). Doors open at 1 PM.
For current workshop signups go to:
Or write to:

Alison Rose Levy, MA, health journalist, bestselling writer, and facilitator of Collective Family Healing publishes this monthly ezine on collective healing. Sign up at: to first heal your family, then heal your world. You can also access our workshops, reports, coaching, and other supports forcollective wisdom at For current workshop signups go to:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sustainable, Re-Usable Greeting Cards?

One of the cleverest new products to hit my doorstep lately . . . by the way, just because we're not publishing Relevant Times anymore, it doesn't mean we don't still do product reviews that get some great exposure in our various blogs - see banner on side for link to one of Green Diva Meg's other blogs. We are asked to do reviews all the time and we LOVE to do them, so if you have a product or a book you want us to review, send it along!

Okay, sorry about that tangent.

I am very excited about this new concept called ReProduct from a company called C2C, a cradle-to-cradle design company.

Re-Usable greeting cards?

When I first heard about the idea, I thought it involved erasable ink and a new envelope. Wrong. I'm not as stupid as I sound, but this was not an easy concept to grasp right away, but once I got it, I am totally sold.

It's a little like Netflix, and if you love movies and haven't tried it yet - DO IT!!! The idea of mailing movies back and forth seems cumbersome and awkward or something, but they make it so easy, that once you try it, you are sold.

ReProduct has taken the simplicity of re-mailing something and applied it to the all-American habit of sending greeting cards. By the way, the cards are beautiful. First of all, the cards are made from healthy, non-toxic materials that minimize chemical waste in the manufacturing process and if folks follow their concept, they don't end up in landfills - or at least not for a VERY long time.

Here's how it works:
  1. You buy these cool cards that come with special envelopes from

  2. Send the card out!

  3. The receiver (here's the potential wrinkle) hopefully is so jazzed by the idea and the instructions are clear on the back of the card and on the envelope, that they send it along to the next user! But, hey, everyone wants to be green now, right?
  4. ReProduct has an arrangement with Shaw Carpets who receives the cards and uses 100% of them to make new sustainable, non-toxic carpets.

There is a little demo of how it works on their website.

They also have a line of corporate reports and brochures they are developing, which I think is wonderful, but will take perhaps a wee bit more time to adopt than the greeting card thing.