Monday, June 29, 2009

Green Website Adventure Tour

My brilliant friend Julie saw my last blog post, featuring a guest blogger, and she asked if I would consider allowing her to do the same. I am happy to oblige!

Julie Gabrielli is an innovative architect, and huge proponent of the green movement in her city of residence, Baltimore, Maryland. She was a writing student of mine during my spring course, "Writing from Your True Voice," and reciprocally, I was her student in her class entitled, "Your Eco BluePrint."

Julie and I share a passion for wanting to inspire people both through our creative work, and through our belief in making the world a better place. I have learned so much from her, and have felt that she is a mirror for my own career trajectory, as I strive to incorporate more and more of what truly grounds and inspires me, into the completed artistic work I share with others.

Below is a description of Julie's upcoming Green Website Adventure Tour, which will help participants explore various measurements of waste and sustainability - making it apparent what changes would be best suited to you as an individual, should you want to increase your environmental awareness and improve your habits. The breadth of Julie's knowledge is truly phenomenal, and I highly recommend experiencing her teachings for yourself.

The Green Website Adventure Tour - by Julie Gabrielli:
Green websites can be categorized based on the cycle of Awareness, Conservation, and Restoration. Most sites are very strong in one area, and this helps to prioritize what you are looking for.
• Awareness is opening to possibility, increasing consciousness, creativity, arts, meditation, education, and daydreaming. Awareness’s mantra is: "Yesterday: ignorance; tomorrow: negligence."

• Conservation means putting on the brakes, slowing down, using less. Conservation’s mantra is: "Being less bad." (Don’t knock it! This is a very important step that cannot be skipped.)

• Restoration is when we rebuild, repair damaged ecosystems, advocate for social justice. Restoration’s mantra is: "We are good for the earth."
This cycle has no beginning and no end. You can enter it at any point, and each action leads to a deepening of the others. For instance, planting trees is a restorative act that can lead to a great appreciation for the cycles and mystery of nature, which in turn fosters greater awareness.

The idea for focused learning on how to strategically use green websites came out of GOforChange’s recent program, Your EcoBlueprint, which is now available from as a home study course. The Green Website Adventure Tour is a 5-week program that begins on July 15, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. To find out more and to register, visit the GOforChange website.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Psuedo-Guest-Blog - A Sweet Story

Barry Lauterwasser is an incredible inspiration to me - he created and maintains a blog called Positive Economic News - which is his way of countering the preponderance of negativity in mainstream media, by featuring ONLY, you guessed it, positive economic news.

I first connected with Barry at the end of February, right as the stock market's dramatic dip was reaching it's low-point. I live in New York City, and the energetic decrease in the community was palpable. This was in the beginning of a broad campaign I was expanding as a writing and creative coach, primarily focused on my intention to spread optimism.

Needless to say, Barry and I hit it off very well, as our missions to be a voice of positive influence in our communities are aligned and overlapping in many ways. I was thrilled when he spontaneously emailed me this story. As a writing coach, I was struck by the unique, poetic tone, and immediately asked Barry if I could share.

Here it is:

Just a few feet from my office window sits a Robin's nest. She built it a few months ago in a pine tree positioned on the corner of our house. I watched her labor each day as piece by piece she assembled her home. And now I see three little heads poking up as she brings them food. In the morning while I sip my coffee I stand at the window, occasionally whistling to her (I do and excellent bird call). She has never seemed to fear me. She just sits there and stares, sometimes cocking her head as if to say "what in the world, dude...." and I think "well what would I think if while sipping my coffee looking out the window a bird started talking to me saying 'my oil drippings are ripe with adventure.'"

Anyway, she's been an inspiring story for me as I see how simple her life is, not knowing if she's acting on instinct, or if she thinks of me as a protector, and nuisance (much as my kids do), and how she's doing as a mom. Is she overwhelmed? I don't know. We assume many things about other species, when in fact we KNOW very little, because really we either want to cage them and observe them, run them off, or eat them...

I love life, I love the opportunity to live life, and I think I'm doing pretty well at finding my chi and balancing it. Still...have you ever found yourself wanting to be a Robin?

-Barry Lauterwasser

Thank you, Barry! I love the way you captured your stream-of-consciousness in this message. Whether or not you had intended a work of creative writing when you composed that email, it seems you've ended up with just that. That's one thing I love about life: how creativity simply pops up when least expected, when we allow ourselves to be inspired.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer in the City

I just stepped in off the fire escape, where I was watching the twilight fade to black in its barely-perceptible, summery way. From the third floor, I could see all around the courtyard of this block of brownstones, of which my home is a part.

The building next door has been vacant for awhile, as the tenants moved out, and the building was sold to new owners. The small yard behind it is a jungle of green - trees and weeds, and big-leafed plants that have sprung up effortlessly. At the back of the yard is a fence, and set of low-hanging wires. Climbing the fence and sprawling over the wires, is a honeysuckle plant, and tonight from my metal cage of a perch, I got the slightest hint of the flowery fragrance dancing on the breeze, which was utterly subtle.

The soft feel of the air on my skin, and the fading pink light (at precisely what moment, I wonder, does it turn to purple-y blue?) reminded me of my childhood in Cleveland, Ohio, knowing that that change of light is the indication that I'm pushing my limits on how late I should be out roller-skating, bike-riding, turning cartwheels on people's lawns, as I try to squeeze every last morsel of fun out of the evening as it becomes night.

In the summer (and in general, actually, as I got older), my parents were lax about a bedtime, and so I knew it would get locked inside, apart from the neighborhood kids, and into some kind of night-time adventure with my siblings in the basement my father had finished for us, and turned into a playroom. Perhaps we would record one of our infamous "radio shows" into the cassette recorder, or make up choreography to Madonna videos we had taped off the TV.

Summer evenings feel this way to me - like I want to stay outside for that one last moment, to see if I can squeeze a little more delight into the day before I turn inside to dinner, a book, a movie, whatever entertainment I can find - which will hold all that much more pleasure if I know I used every last moment of the day as best I could. Tonight, I breathed in the distant, gentle scent of honeysuckle, which also grew on a fence near a parking lot where I used to ride my bike as I child, and was comforted. I wondered if this moment was unique, or if I am always carrying this desire inside to return to my childhood.