“Tragedy is what gets our attention,” says Tom Chi, as he addressed the crowd on opening night of the 5th annual Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona AZ. We know how often this is true.
Tom Chi is co-star of the film chosen to set the tone for the opening night. Live Your Quest, a film about directing our focus, settling into our purpose and becoming the best version of ourselves. Tom is an innovator and founding team member at Google X. He is an out of the box thinker committed to action. He teaches people at all levels of involvement how to innovate quickly and how to bring the necessary tools to the people working on the solutions to the world’s most important problems. In addition to the work he as done on groundbreaking projects at Google including self-driving cars and Google glass, Tom is working with people around the globe on solar electrification, basic health care, micronutrients and creating access to clean water. Tom has tuned into the state of our planet, he has taken personal responsibility to inspire change for the betterment of life for all of us.
As the world’s premier film festival for conscious cinema, Illuminate explores a range of stories with the potential to ignite our spirits. A hallmark of this conscious media festival is with every problem presented, solutions are also explored. Ideas for what we as individuals can do today, right now, are presented. The theme that emerged for this year’s festival is the “hero’s journey.” Danette Wolpert, founder and director of this festival, and her dream team invite us to look within to find the power and the gifts inextricably a part of the human spirit. They encourage us to use our amazing potential as human beings to create lasting change.
Years ago, I began to recognize the dramatic and deleterious effects of so many widely accepted practices on our basic health and the health of our planet, I could feel my heart break. I invited myself to look deeper. As I became more aware, I could see clearly how our indiscriminate use of plastics is bogging up our oceans and our waterways. How our deep reliance on fossil fuels has created challenges for our Earth, the sky and all who live here. Our investment in factory farming has created deep imbalances in our soil and the atmosphere. We are hearing more and more about the long-term impact of our behavior and the serious mess we are creating. This includes but is not limited to life-threatening health issues, shortages of clean air and water, and the depletion of the nutritional value of the foods we love. But is knowing about these things enough to compel us to action?
Tom Chi made it simple as he engaged the audience after the film for “Reel Healing.” Reel healing, another powerful part of the festival each year, often offers an opportunity to hear from those committed to taking the lead in creating a more compassionate and sustainable world. During this segment on opening night, Tom asks the audience what our primary concerns are in the world today. Voices rose up from around the theatre, issues involving our expanding population, government controls, endangered species, education, elder care to name just a few. To all of these, Tom responded with an invitation to each of us to look within, to cultivate our “response-ability.” What moves you? Then ask ourselves, what action can I take now to make a difference?
This is a time for each of us to be the hero in our own lives and the lives of those around us, to look and to feel, to recognize the issues and call ourselves to action. Together we can create the world we would like to see.
Mystical and powerful these creatures have held a place in our imagination for centuries. In a world where our perceptions are limited, we are now discovering hidden potentials beyond our current understandings. As we expose layers beyond the veil, I believe the question is a fair one.
Cultures around the globe imbue meaning in imagery and lore. Born from these symbols are stories that inspire and invite reflection. The imagination comes alive with possibility. Our very thoughts planting seeds of potential, if nurtured, they grow. We see it all around us, our intentions, our beliefs, moving into form.
My work is most often an expression of my own inner experience, the movement of my consciousness through this time, this space. I do not paint what I see outside of myself but invite what is present within to express itself. I like to say, “I paint my inner landscape,” imaginings move into form. The dragon speaks of the story beyond the bounds of our ordinary senses; a story of the infinite layers that lie beneath our day-to-day perceptions of reality.
This dragon, energy alive within my being, pushes through the clouds of perception, reaching into the darker mysteries. Points of green, yellow, orange form the body, vibrations of the heart, of wisdom and creativity. Rising in harmonic motion, the resonance of purples and blues calling forth the voice of higher consciousness. With this dragon come “dragon blooms.” A flower from the realm of imagination, they bloom with thoughts of Kindness, Compassion and Love. Created by mere intention, the seeds spread.
This image is born from the heart of this artist, opening to the vibrations of Wisdom and Creativity in the field of awakening potential. She and her dragon spread seeds of possibility, the possibility of a world Motivated by Compassion, Kindness and Love.
Real or imagined? Imagined clearly, it becomes real. Alive with purpose, she sees you.
“Our Time is Now” Pointillist Painting by Sherab.Shey.Khandro Original Painting 24″x 48″ Acrylic on Canvas
Around the globe the Buddha is recognized as a symbol of Peace and Compassion. A rich and vibrant blue, the Medicine Buddha is revered for his qualities of healing. His presence points to the wellness present within and around us; our inherent mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
Set on a ground of deep orange, I am reminded of the creative fire burning within each of us. I chose this striking combination of blue and orange to weave together the ideas of healing and the powerful creative spirit embodied in the human experience. My invitation is to engage our vast reservoir of knowledge and experience to promote the healing of our planet and it’s people.
I offer my gratitude and appreciation to those who shared Earth-conscious practices and suggestions in response to my post on Earth Day. I am hopeful. We are stepping up and our world is changing. Simple, moment-by-moment practices add up. One small act at a time, we pave a path to Peace.
Below are some of the ideas shared Sunday:
Think beyond the bin.
Ask yourself, “What can I do to keep this out of the landfill?”
Think about where the “trash” goes when you dispose of it.
Check out the recycling resources available in your area.
Engage with others about their recycling practices.
Inventory our daily practices.
Consider alternatives to plastic.
Reuse plastic containers food comes in.
Use ceramic or stainless steel travel mugs
Use refillable water bottles.
Keep reusable grocery bags in the car (then remember to take them in the store!)
Bring recycling home if they do not recycle where you work.
Recycle soft plastic packaging materials with plastic grocery bags.
Say,”no thank you” to the straws in restaurants.
Instead of plastic wrap, consider wax paper and a rubber band.
Store food and other things in glass mason jars
Small acts, immeasurable benefit. Please share any additional comments or ideas below.
The power to create change is right in the palm of our hand. Leaning in, together we are a power beyond measure. Namaste.
I recently moved. Not far, just across town, yet everything I own was uprooted, sifted and sorted. As I packed and organized, as I generated trash and recyclables in various forms, I noticed there was plastic everywhere.
Plastic has become an integral part of our modern day existence, an undeniable convenience. There are endless uses of plastic in appliances, vehicles, packaging, toys, clothing, electronics even heart valves! As amazing and versatile as plastic is, the thought of it still makes me cringe. It is toxic, it encourages the use of petroleum products and it never breaks down completely. According to UrbanImpact.com, “when plastics are thrown into the landfill or into the water, they don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits. These bits contaminate our soil and our waterways.” With the rising awareness of the impact of these synthetic polymers on our precious ecosystem, I regularly ask myself, “How can I be more responsible with my use of plastic?”
My work as a sculptor and a painter finds me responsible for the many tools of my trade. Over the years I have always made room for them, housed them, stored them, cared for them. Specialty tools, basic hand tools, tools have I designed or built.My pantry filled with boxes, bottles and jars of powders, liquids and sprays. I have pounds of clay and wax, pots of paint, drills, hammers, wrenches, rulers, scales and other tools of measure. Many of the tools are made with plastic and many of them stored in plastic.
My favorite way of storing these treasures, these tools of creativity, are in tall, rolling, steel toolboxes. The kind you see in a mechanics shop or possibly your own garage. As much as I love these rugged, well-designed units, not everything fits in them and they are not easily transported. So, I turn to plastic, rigid plastic tubs and trunks in various sizes, some of which I have had for more than 20 years. Durable, stackable, sturdy and waterproof they play a critical role in corralling many of my things.
Researchers and scientists are studying the impact of plastic on the health of the planet and all of us living here. There is a vibrant conversation alive in our world today about natural, Earth-friendly alternatives and a growing number of resources to educate us about the value of recycling. The Environmental Protection Agency, here in the United States, offers a comprehensive website, www.epa.gov/recycle. In addition, try googling “recycling” and the name of your town, you may be surprised what there is to learn.Heart-centered people are stepping up. People committed to providing services to support us in the care of our Earth. Social media is a valuable resource for ideas and information. People share their personal practices and insights as well as what they learn from others.
My invitation in writing this article is to ask us all to think carefully about the choices we make around our use of plastic and keep an eye open for alternatives. Can we make choices that do not include plastic? When we purchase something wrapped in plastic, are we recycling, reusing or repurposing?
There is much to learn about this incredibly convenient yet potentially harmful material. As we begin to take responsibility for the impact of our choices on the environment, as we educate ourselves about the alternatives available, here are 3 simple steps we can take today to create a positive impact:
•Recycle soft plastic grocery bags along with plastic paper towel and toilet paper packaging. Many non-food soft plastic wraps are also recyclable. Receptacles for these soft plastics can be found at most grocery stores and other large retailers.
•Remember to bring your reusable grocery bags when you go shopping. And reward yourself each time you do.
•Seek out alternatives to plastics containers. Consider stainless steel or glass.
Small acts, consciously chosen, add up to great things. Our awareness expands and new habits are created. We are clever beyond measure. We are wildly creative.Ours is a changing world and we are the key to making change happen. Namaste.