building a beautiful and bountiful world in collaboration with nature

Archive for September, 2012

Nourishing Our Selves


Légumes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The propaganda is out: organically grown food is no better for you than conventional food according to a recent study published by Stanford University scientists.  The first question to ask whenever considering scientific studies is, “who funded it?”  Numbers can be manipulated, massaged, and murdered (thrown out, that is), so knowing whose agenda paid for the study is useful information.  In this case, I haven’t discovered the source of funding, but according to Nourishing the Planet, a project of the Worldwatch Institute, plenty of number manipulation was involved in reaching such a conclusion.

There are earlier studies which have reached very different conclusions.  One, known as the Forman E. Bower study and done at Rutgers University, is startling in the huge differences it found in the nutrient levels of organic vs. conventional foods.  For example, organic spinach had twice as much calcium, four times as much magnesium, and eighty-three times as much iron (1584 vs. 19 parts per million).  Organic tomatoes had five times as much calcium, ten times as much magnesium, and almost 2,000 times as much iron (1983 vs 1 ppm).

Another study entitled “Nutritional Quality of Organic vs. Conventional Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains” and published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2001 reviewed all the available comparative studies (41 at that time) and found that organic crops had higher average levels in all 21 nutrients analyzed.  For example, Vitamin C averaged 27% higher, magnesium 29% higher, and iron 21% higher.  I don’t know who funded these 41 studies, either, but it is interesting that the media has never picked up on any of these the way it did on the Stanford study.

If you eat to nourish your body, organic food is still the better bet.  What these studies really tell us is that the root cause of the obesity epidemic is a lack of adequate nutrients – especially minerals – in conventionally grown foods.  In Nature’s design, sugar is linked to minerals.  Think of iron-rich molasses which is extracted from sugar cane.  Sweet flavors are an indicator – in an unprocessed food such as an apple – of good nutrient values, which is why people so often crave sugar.  It’s their body’s way of asking for more minerals, because after millions of years of evolution, your body knows that where the sugar is, the minerals should be too.

In organic growing systems, minerals (and virtually all other nutrients) are kept in circulation by the soil biology.  Plants don’t extract nutrients from soil so much as they trade for nutrients through the complex relationships they develop with fungi, bacteria, and other microbes.  Conventionally grown foods lack minerals because the chemistry they rely on kills the soil biology while leaching out minerals at the same time.  Plant roots in conventional systems have fewer relationships, fewer trading partners, and, therefore, have to work harder themselves, but get lesser results.

As a gardener, it is often easier to relate to the plants and to focus on them.  Fall in love with your soil, however, and your plants will grow and thrive.


Striking Teachers, Plant-Eating Insects and the Movement Toward Collaboration

Rose and Insect Collaboratiom

I was listening to the radio this past week and heard a news segment interview with a striking teacher in Chicago.  When asked what the strike was about, the essence of his response was, “The administration thinks this is a hierarchy. We think it’s a collaborative.  That’s the issue.  They want to tell us what we do, while we want to work with them on that.”  These few words express so beautifully the heart of the paradigm shift that humanity is moving through.  I see signs of it everywhere, with pioneers in every field pushing the edges in all forms of relationship to evolve past hierarchical thinking and move into partnership and collaboration.  Buck Brannaman and Pat and Linda Parelli are at the forefront in natural horesmanship; Marshall Rosenberg has Non-Violent Communication; Cesear Milan’s concept of calm-assertive leadership is reprogramming the dog world.  There is also freeschooling, community supported agriculture, couch surfing, ecological forestry,… and plant spirit communication.  Collaboration is breaking out all around us.

Like most (all?) of us, I was raised by people who had themselves been indoctrinated with the thoughts and beliefs that create hierarchical structures and “power over” relationships in human societies.  Like many of us, I am on the path of rewiring my body-mind system and forging new perceptions and interpretations of who I am, who we are, and how I/We are connected to – really the same as – what seems to be “outside” our selves.  I am part of the whole that is carrying humanity past this 5,000-year-old infatuation with hierarchy.

The garden is a great place for me to become aware of and let go of the old wiring, while choosing and creating the new wiring. Plants, insects, microbes, soil, and water are all calmly persistent (or calm-assertive) when it comes to delivering the feedback, the messages, that can move me into collaboration. When the harlequin beetles get busy eating the broccoli, I can use a domination approach – a nice, organic neem oil spray, for example – or I can take the time to sit down and tune in and find out what message they carry.  I still sometimes use the former approach, but more and more and more often, I remember to slow down and take a breath and gently begin the process that moves me out of the back-of-the-mind-almost-invisible-thinking that causes the panic that leads in the direction of that magic bottle/pill/gun/stick/neem oil spray.  Now I can choose to sit down and listen.

There is a wonderful new book out called Building Soil Naturally, by Phil Nauta.  I highly recommend it because his main goal is to build soils that will vitalize plants to such a degree that they can take care of themselves when it comes to insects and diseases.  That’s right.  Plants can be empowered to take care of themselves.  We don’t have to think of them as helpless children or poor unfortunates that have no legs and can’t get up and run.  Healthy plants – truly vital, vibrant, balanced plants – create an internal chemistry that is insect proof because insects don’t have the enzymes necessary to digest healthy plant tissue. Insects are out there with their antenna, trolling for plants that emit the universal infrared signal for “I’m unhealthy, eat me!”

The next time you find an infestation of plant-eating insects in your garden, thank them.  They are doing you a favor by cleaning up the less vital plants, the imbalanced plants, the plants that can’t offer you, the human being, the high quality nutrition you need and deserve.  They are your wake up call to do whatever it takes to understand healthy soil and get busy building it  They are the equivalent of striking teachers, letting you know that it’s not a hierarchy, it’s a collaborative.

Connecting to Earth’s Internet

Standing Stone

Standing Stone (Photo credit: Bruce)

The human body is an aggregate of an energy field, and that field is interconnected to everything that exists.  Energy is the engine that drives everything, including our consciousness, and, as such, energy can influence us and we can influence it.  This energy field is a force and it is full of information….    Freddy Silva, Legacy of the Gods

This is the paradigm we are currently in the midst of absorbing and understanding, this vision of energy as an information-dense foundation that patterns and structures our consciousness and our physical reality.  Freddy Silva’s book, Legacy of the Gods, is a fascinating and gentle walk into this new paradigm, with a focus on the structures bequeathed to us to help us make this transition:  the ancient landscape temples and sacred sites scattered across the globe.  From the Giza pyramids to Chartres Cathedral to the sacred mountains of the world, we are surrounded by places capable of tuning and training our consciousness to deeper/higher levels of awareness.

These are places and structures that are also capable of responding to us.  They tune us and we tune them.  Those who built them had a very clear understanding of the energetics underlying water, electricity, magnetism, geometry, and stone.  They knew how to organize these elements to create stable energy/information patterns capable of supporting a more coherent structuring of human consciousness.  To receive this support one needs to add the element of intent.  “As a living entity, a purposefully constructed [temple] is able to read intent like an electric lock reads a PIN number….Like any functional partnership, you have to meet it halfway.”

I am not going to review the tremendous amount of information contained in this book.  Just read it.  It’s worth it.  For myself, I have carried from it a heightened awareness of Earth as a living being; one who is also an aggregate of information-dense energy, now patterned into this beautiful matrix of oceans and continents, all conscious to the core.  Earth’s energy/information has the power to act on my mind-body-consciousness.  My energy/information has the power to act on her.  I am not just a speck on a whirling ball.  We are two conscious beings in relationship.

As I read Silva’s book, the living energy grids of this planet became more real to me.  The dragon lines of China and the ley lines of Europe are here in North America too, though less often marked as such by people, and they are available to those who seek them.  The Hartmann net, an energy grid aligned to the poles and encompassing the entire planet in a rectangular grid of 9 inch wide lines spaced 6 feet 6 inches by 8 feet apart, also interacts with and influences our body-mind energy systems.

Over the past nine months, I have been drawn to regularly sit at and meditate at a place that I now recognize as an energy node of a feminine ley line, a deeper pooling of the energetic flow of the land.  My visits there have been mutually beneficial.  I can feel this place “waking up”.  It becomes easier to connect to ease and joy and knowing when I’m there, as the flows of energy have changed in response to the appreciation I have offered.  We’ve been helping each other, this place and I.

Research has shown that it takes less than 1% of a population meditating regularly to drop crime rates for an entire neighborhood or city.  This makes me wonder, what if some of us found and tended to these special places?  What if this is one of the primary roles humans are designed to play on Earth?  What if this is the beginning of the natural Internet – the network that connects humans to rock and water and soil and plants and animals and oceans and ecosystems and planet?  What if we each had a special place, a place in the planet’s energy grid, where we go for rebalancing and for a daily information download from the planet and cosmos?  What if, as we are there, quieting our minds, opening our hearts, and offering the clear energy of love and appreciation, this place, too, is able to rebalance, refresh, and reboot?  What if this is how mutual, cooperative and conscious evolution takes place?

The existing power places have their guardians; there are those who have and who do quietly tend to the energy needs of these well-known locations.  This is not about rushing off to Stonehenge, or about building another pyramid.  This is about the little places, the supporting links, the small streams that eventually feed the bigger streams.  This is about enhancing the energy/information patterns of this planet by bringing our conscious awareness and appreciation to the neglected energy nodes that permeate our landscapes.

Is there a place that has come to mind as you’ve been reading this?  Go there!  Bring a small gift – a flower, a piece of fruit, bread with honey, or what ever else your instincts say to bring.  Sit for a while.  Breathe deeply.  Meditate, if that comes naturally to you.  Open your senses.  Use your peripheral vision.  Close your eyes and listen.  Smell the scents.  Feel the sensations on your skin.  Feel the sensations inside.  Tell this place what is in your heart.  Ask for help for yourself, and ask if there is anything you can offer beyond your love and appreciation.  Notice anything that happens, any thoughts that arrive, as feedback.  Do this regularly for a few weeks or months, and perhaps you, too, will feel that you have found a doorway to the new Eden.

Link to Freddy Silva’s website.