100 Day of Lovingkindness

Written by Ethan Engel on . Posted in Ethan's Garden

mettaI just found a wonderful Google+ group called 100 Days of Lovingkindness about taking lovingkindness practice into daily life. Started on April 12, the period is broken into four: 25 days of cultivating lovingkindness, 25 days of cultivating compassion, 25 days of cultivating appreciation, and 25 days of cultivating love with insight (also known as equanimity). These practices are known as the “Brahmavihāras” (Divine Abodes), or the Immeasurables (apramāṇa). Lovingkindness is the basis of the other three, which are the encounter of love with suffering, joy and goodness, and awareness of reality.

To honor a commitment to daily lovingkindness practice, I'm begining a five minute seated practice. It’s not helpful, and completely contrary to the spirit of metta, to be rigid with ourselves. Although some kind of commitment to practice is vital, the attitude with which we do that practice is vital. It must be kind, patient, and forgiving!

Sign up here to view the groups content...

Stroke of Insight

Written by Akayla Amato on . Posted in Sunflower Activist

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

Microwaves - How Safe Are They?

Written by Akayla Amato on . Posted in Sunflower Activist

microvaveIn my recent experience, talking about the use of microwaves can be as volitile as a nuclear reactor. It seems that a lot of people are either for or against this commonplace technology. In this day of busy life schedules, the microwave would appear to be a great savior. Yet, the hidden costs of this technology are abundant. According to Dr. Mercola, a noted physician:

"Microwaves heat food by causing water molecules in it to resonate at very high frequencies and eventually turn to steam which heats your food. While this can rapidly heat your food, what most people fail to realize is that it also causes a change in your food's chemical structure."  

A critical element that stands out for me is the fact that it depletes the nutritional value of your food. If you are only getting food that is heated through microwaving, it has much less nutrional value. In addition, because soils have been so depleted over the last 40 years, it is hard to get the vitamins and minerals we need to sustain a healthy life. For the past 10 years my goal has been to get as much bang for my nutritional bucks as I can.    

Over time, it adds up. When I was younger and thought I would live forever, it didn't seem to matter. Now that I'm getting older with failing eyesight, skin changes and a year full of teeth issues, I realize the importance of maintaining a healthy body in order to make aging an easier process.

Like with many mainstream products, the microwave does not appear to be going away anytime soon. I can only hope that at a grassroots level, each of us can inform our friends and family of the value of going back to the "old fashioned" ways of cooking. If you indvertantly start a nuclear meltdown or you do get "defriended" on Facebook, just remember you are an activist in your own right, and that is of great value to society.

A Most Beautiful Life in Leadership

Written by Ethan Engel on . Posted in Sunflower Activist

Frances Hesselbein is the President and CEO of the Leader to Leader Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management)
Her legendary accomplishments include the Presidential Medal of Freedom for turning around the Girl Scouts of America as CEO from 1976-1990 and well as being the first woman appointed to chair The Study of Leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point. 
Tracing her development as a leader, Frances Hesselbein reveals her remarkable personal story and the principles that have served and guided her through an extraordinary life. Written in an intimate and compelling voice, this book delivers key leadership lessons that will serve any leader, of any age, in any sector...Read More

Frances Hesselbein, My Life in Leadership: The Journey and Lessons Learned Along the Way (Wiley, $19)


Written by Ethan Engel on . Posted in Ethan's Garden

A battle royal is now underway between Big Oil and the people of Longmont, Colorado.

In November, 60% of Longmont voters passed Ballot Question 300 with both Republican and Democratic support. The measure prohibited fracking within the city limits making Longmont the first city in the state to enact such a ban.
On Dec. 6 Governor Hickenlooper said the state will not sue Longmont again over the action of voters but that it will support any lawsuit by companies.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association will fight for what it sees as its rightful property and profits. The main lobbying group for the energy industry here, they criticized the ban as confrontational and encroaching on the private property of companies that have "rights" to oil and gas buried deep beneath Longmont’s streets, parks and reservoirs.

The people of Longmont are ready to fight for their environment and public health.

"We will vigorously defend our charter and the will of the people," City Council woman Katie Witt said.