The Best Teachers Change Your Life!

Best teachers show you where to look not what to see 446 x 296

I feel privileged to have had just a few teachers who have helped me find the best person I can be. Not least of these was my own Mother.

What good learning experiences have you had because of quality teaching?

You own your story – starting the New Year with a clean slate

You own your story – starting the New Year with a clean slate

Happy New Year 2014 clean slate

Happy New Year 2014 clean slate

I’m giving myself this advice*, thought I’d share with you.

No matter what you are up against; no matter the worries that hold you down; no matter what external or internal pressures you are feeling:

  • Make the most of what you have. Whether your problems are physical, spiritual, financial or judicial; take stock and you will be surprised what you can do within your abilities.
  • Try to look forward more than backward. The lessons you have learned are important and equip you to move forward
  • Find your passion and take steps toward it. You might not feel you can achieve your goals immediately, but learning more, joining groups of like-minded people, looking into courses, finding out if there is assistance available, etc might just get you closer and will give you more chances to develop a support network.
  • Be flexible but don’t bend over backwards. Sometimes, if you are a caring person, there are people that will simply take advantage. Their needs are wants and they will never be happy with all you can give. Don’t bother putting your foot down too hard (that surprises people and tantrums often ensue); simply offer to do that “Sunday next week”. You’ll be surprised what they can do quite well for themselves.
  • Find time for yourself but avoid the private pity pit. Too much introverted self assessment and dwelling on the negative thoughts in your head can send you on a downward spiral. I used to always say I would go into a corner for three days and come out fighting, but the troubles I have experienced in the past several years have well and truly put paid to that idea. There is a long drop waiting if you let yourself go there.
  • Do things for others but without hoping for a reaction or reward – charity works are great to build yourself up and someone else, too.
  • Spend time with others. Helps to keep perspective and just being with people can sometimes lift your mood and help you heal.
  • Do not test others; they too are dealing with their own life struggles. We are all in this together.
  • Accept that you are going to be disappointed easily when you aren’t feeling that chipper. Try not to let the feelings bring you undone. You’ve been through a lot and you know you are going to get through this, too. Be gentle with yourself, but firm!
  • If you can’t smile; fake it. Just smiling can make you feel happier and will certainly get a better reaction from passers by than a glum face. Who knows, you might be making their day, too?
  • Giving up is not an option.

Every day: learn something; do something for yourself; do something for someone else.

I am not a person who makes New Year resolutions. I find they often fail and, when I am feeling down and out and need to turn over a new leaf (pardon the cliché bombardment), I want to give myself the best chance of succeeding. However, every little bit counts toward a happier and fuller future. Failure just means you tried. Try again or try something else. Make excuses to experience all you can from life instead of making excuses not to do things. (Sometimes clichés work for me – little sayings to keep me positive)

Happiness, Sunshine and Positivity to you!!!

*Note: This advice is meant for me and I don’t profess to be qualified to give advice to anyone else. Just sharing my journey.

Do not act in silence – let the world know; they might very well agree

  • Whether you agree with the sentiment or not;
  • Whether you believe that this is an appropriate way for a church to speak publicly;
  • Whether you find fault in the use of a diety as a supposed writer;
  • You must agree that this church has a point of view which they follow through on.


A local church is glad to put their actions into words for the world to see.

A local church is glad to put their actions into words for the world to see.

Find them on facebook – click here.
They openly welcome all people into their congregation and, most importantly, despite your or the greater church community’s opinion, are proud to display their actions for the world to see, they do not act in silence.

It inspired me (not by the actual message, though that is something I agree with) to say, “Sometimes actions speak louder IN words!”. If you are acting in a certain way you should speak up.

For some it is walk the talk, but many quietly go about their business and good deeds never knowing that their actions might inspire and empower others to do the same. They don’t talk the talk at all; they walk the walk in silence.

Whether you are following your own values or that of the community, country or the world, bravely let others know.

Who knows, some may even have been quietly agreeing all along.

San Francisco Happenings: An Empty Lot Blossoms into a Beautiful Community Art Garden

This is a brilliant record of a community garden from woe to go. I am hoping to do something similar for Equilibrium Future Solutions amazing Natural Gardens which we have enjoyed watching emerge from nothingness.

Purveyor of a buoyant & luminous lifestyle

A sunny warm San Francisco Saturday unfolded like a picnic blanket on the grass at Dolores Park.

Today’s main event was a Alice in Wonderland themed tea party fundraiser for the Please Touch Community Garden, a creative space that was founded by one of my dearest friends, GK Callahan, artist and MFA student at the California College of the Arts.

I can still remember in January 2010, when GK and I, were vacationing in Mexico, and he received the news that he had the green light to plant this seed of a project. His vision was expansive- to turn a run down, needle-strewn vacant lot across the street from City Hall, into a community garden, when everyone, including the blind community from the LightHouse for the Blind across the street could come and enjoy the sun.

Above: A photo of artist GK Callahan and myself in 2011 at the lot.

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Bokashi Composting – My early thoughts – after a bit of light reading

I am only starting Bokashi composting, but may eventually want to know and decide for myself what mix of micro-organisms is most beneficial or needed. Also, for small scale use, financial constraints often mean avoiding the commercial and developing ways to make or create products.
Bokashi buddy with liquid Bokashi scraps and leftovers
My vague and naive ideas around the concepts of Bokashi are that some understanding of what should go in to the initial ferment (so the end product is most productive for the intended purpose) would be best.

I will research more before I think I know it all.
Kung Fu Caine
My interests (those which I feel may be enhanced by application of Bokashi method, should my experience bear out it’s usefulness) are, in no particular order:
Reducing waste;
Building soils (to feed my plants and my family);
Broadening uses – neighbours, offices, community gardens, town policies, cities, etc;

I feel the greatest practical understanding is with the few (in this case scientists, farmers and people on the land) but the greatest resource is in heavily populated areas where waste is created and literally going ‘to waste’ (not to mention pollution and disease). I see two basic benefits of suburban Bokashi: less waste; and the end product of that waste reduction. A very large bonus benefit is that cities might have less impact and more respect for rural communities, farmers and natural systems.

Other than the uses by farmers for broadscale food production, there are people/organisations concentrating on specific medium and small uses. For example, town councils and authorities are bringing in a range of diverse methods to clean up and break down all types of problems and stockpiled wastes. This is a great benefit to our lifestyles and maybe to slow up damage to natural systems. On the other hand, some individuals want to do a little to help the environment, but might not be interested in soil, gardening, farming or the science behind these; just the solution to their own problem.

Some people are doing kitchen Bokashi, just to get rid of rubbish or because it doesn’t stink, and maybe even just passing the ferment to others for use.

Would be strange to see resources spreading out of cities instead of being sucked into them. That is but a dream, but I am impressed that such world replenishing techniques are easy, available and acceptable to so many across the world.

Well, these are the sorts of thoughts I had back in February 2012. I am pleased to say that most of my initial views on Bokashi have not been changed by my experiences with it. My endless hours of research gave me much depth of information (along with some supreme shallowness and misinformation which needed to be weeded out of the formation of my basic ideas about the concept).

I found complicated methodology and big noting yardy-yar which near did my head in. I don’t know how my poor husband survived the heady days when I would spend hours researching and then had to spill it all out into the open air, which he sadly inhabited – poor man. Once spoken, it doesn’t take long to realise what things are unnecessary or just don’t make sense. My conceptual brain has a tendency to get completely bogged down in the details until I reach the point where I can just cut through the BS and explain the topic in layman’s terms.
Burying Bokashi spade at the ready
The notes above are a prime example of me in the learning curve stage. I do get more down to earth; let’s face it, Bokashi is just that – DOWN TO EARTH!

My Bokashi Beginnings – someone was a bit excited!

My Bokashi Beginnings – someone was a bit excited!

What seems like eons ago now (but was only January last year, really) … I discovered Bokashi. Here are my preliminary ramblings from back then:

I stumbled on Bokashi less than 2 weeks ago, when I googled ‘kitchen compost’ and thought I was looking for a suitable hardware item. I went from ‘what the’ to ‘wow’ over a sceptical and dizzying personal research program. The more info I found the easier, simpler and possibly cheaper it got and the limits of the benefits to gardens, communities and … the planet seem endless.

I looked at prices of ‘required’ equipment and EM-1 activated microbes (the powder you sprinkle on your scraps to commence the fermenting process – stands for Effective Microorganisms). I tried to think it through and did a bit more research. It was becoming a little daunting – with lots of online and youtube suggestions that you can add this and that, you can make your own powder in 50lb lots, etc. I just wanted something that didn’t stink in my kitchen so I could get back to not throwing out perfectly useful scraps.

Then I found Suddenly this was easy as: Follow simple steps and throw just about anything in. It can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. I ended up buying the commercial bucket (lets face it, my initial plan was to buy something nice-looking to keep in my kitchen also hubby encouraged me to spend the extra as I LOVE gardening), Jenny is very successful, on quite a large scale, with just a lidded bucket. Highly recommended reading!
Bokashi Bucket commercial
I chose to also buy the powder. But have recipes for making the base and activating the EM inoculant (in smaller than 50lb lots). Plenty of youtube instruction videos – you probably need to buy the inoculant to start though this goes a long, long way and is not costly (share the cost with a friend or two?). The commercial powder contains a mixture of ‘good’ microbes in a wheat bran (or similar) base. It’s light, smells just sort of fresh and is easy to use – grab a handful and sprinkle.

So far, I have had NO smells (I’m only on my first bucket remember, don’t hold me to it). It won’t be in the kitchen once it is full and going through it’s ferment stage. I will be using a normal bucket for a second bucket and sacrificing the liquid as I went crazy and re-established my previously murdered worm-farm, too. My second bucket is going on holidays and, as I don’t have to worry about a bit of paper sucking up the liquid, I’ll be collecting all the meat, vege, cheese, bread, cofee grounds, etc, etc, etc scraps from 4 families, sprinkling with Bokashi powder and bringing home. Can’t wait actually! This seems so much more user friendly than worm farms and even traditional compost where my own family would have trouble working out what to put in.

Once the scraps are fermented – in about 2 weeks, I could just dig a hole and bury it (in the yard, in the garden, in a box of soil). I will use it to get my compost pile going faster and also introduce some to the worms. I feel Bokashi just makes all the processes come together and the garden should just come alive. The fact that ferment doesn’t stink like rot is just a bonus so I can do this on the run, right where the scraps are created – in my kitchen.

There’s people doing this that don’t care for gardening, just for waste reduction – giving it to the gardener down the road or the local community garden.

Week 2 – I don’t know how I survived without Bokashi – guess I’m hooked!