Monday, June 30, 2008

A New Day!

Now this is how to kick off a Monday!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The "Woo Woo To Do"

As I was catching up on my Oprah for the week, I noticed that in one week she had Dr. Oz talking about past lives on one day with Dr. Brian Weiss and New Age revolutionaries like Louise Hay, Martha Beck, and Sheryl Richardson on another day talking about daily affirmations and Law of Attraction. For the record, I think it is safe to say that Oprah has gone "*Woo Woo" people and in turn making it mainstream.

Now usually I am not one to claim credit (although I do seem to be doing it lately - but at least conscious of it:-), but I have been following these new age philosophers practically since birth. While not explicitely perhaps in the form of mantras, meditations, and master cleanse, I was born into a family where we were taught to believe in ourselves and see the affirmative in every possible situation. My grandfather gave each of his grandchildren a gift of "Grandpa's Hints For Life" listing the top 10 lessons that we should aspire to in our life - "Develop and maintain your self-image, YOU ARE THE BEST" is number 6.

As I watch Oprah telling stories how she passes by a mirror on a daily basis and says "Hello Sunshine" as her self-love mantra, a part of me feels a sense of relief because perhaps the "O factor" can be that shifting point to wake people out of the humdrum of their daily lives. And if she can look in a mirror and say she loves herself, why can't the rest of us?

So what does all this have to do with sustainability and living green? Well, perhaps it is a stretch, but sustainability is literally about being conscious of our daily choices. And being conscious of how we view and feel about ourselves is where the deepest perception must change for the true paradigm shift to occur. If we can't love ourself, how can we love our planet? I get how cheesy that sounds, but I like to call it the "inner green."

Now perhaps affirmations and mantras are not your thing. Trust me, it is easy to judge as "koo koo" (a step below woo woo) because it feels awkward, silly, and sometimes really hard to look at yourself in the mirror and say "I Love You." I mean I can't even write it without giggling. But it is the modern age people, so we can get creative. The best example of this is from my older sister, who likes to leave herself voicemail messages when she needs to add something to her to do list. But because affirmations are part of our blood, she adds a special flare that goes something like this.

(note: For some reason whenever my sisters are on the phone or in a crowd, their Oklahoma accents tend to come out. If you can't imagine that - think Texas with an Alabama twang - not a tried and true accent, but one I think they got from my Aunt Tricia. So please try to imagine this as she calls herself.)

"Hey, it's me. First of all, you looked FABULOUS today. Great color. I wanted to make sure and remind you to call _______________ regarding __________________. Ok, have a great day. And seriously you look amazing today. Love you!"

The thing is, she is totally serious! So if mirrors aren't your thing, try the "woo woo to do" approach of my sister, texting, or even twittering yourself. Better yet, check out these Louise Hay online wisdom cards - (or buy them here for the full mantra:-) the perfect user friendly affirmative reminder. Whatever it takes - embrace the momentary awkwardness, grab hold of that conscious spark, and feel a little bit of the inner green love!

*Editor's note: You will notice the use of "woo woo" used throughout this blog. I am perfectly aware that "woo woo" has numerous terms, many of which are perhaps inappropriate and embarrassing to get into here. But for the use of this blog, it is meant to imply spiritual, energetic, perhaps even "koo koo" and embodies thoughts that many consider to be too new agey and out there.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Caught In A Green Moment

When it comes to being green, I have come full circle and seem to be coming around again. My journey began back in college as a journalism and environmental science major. My first job out of college was actually with the Sierra Club in San Francisco. So I can fully appreciate all shades of green from the old school treehuggers to the eco-chic trendiness that is taking hold.

While I grew up in Oklahoma, I spent the early part of my professional career in San Francisco where I Iiterally rode the dotcom boom and bust. So I am aware and keen on the excitement surrounding new trends, innovation, and the feared bubble aspect of this new green wave.

When I moved to Austin, Texas several years ago, I tried to nurture a different side of my green roots by focusing on health and wellness. After five years being a co-owner of a successful pilates studio, my entrepreneurial inner voice started to buzz once again, and I found myself back in the Bay Area and in the throws of the new green and sustainable bubble.

I epitomized all aspects of green trendiness. I blogged about celebrities going green. I carried an eco-chic reusable bag and a Sigg reusable water bottle. I drove around via Zipcar and even took public transportation on occasion (which for anyone who knows me is somewhat unheard of). And while I was filled with inspiration by this new voice of sustainability, I grew homesick for my home in Austin and all of the things that make this thriving city with all its hip and trendy development still feel like a quaint small town. Austin has this unique sense of community that really embraces the ability to make real impact. This combined with a commitment to bring a little piece of the green bubble back to Texas served as the primary catalysts for my latest venture. Over the last several months I have adapted back into my down home vibe of being back in Austin with a subtle dash of eco-intent sprinkled into my everyday awareness.

Yesterday, I caught myself in a moment where I realized that I had once again become that image of green trendiness that I was back in San Francisco, only this time it was not forced but rather just a natural evolution. Below is a brief recap of my day. I realize that to most people I seem eccentric at best. Luckily, I was taught very early on in my life that one of the greatest gifts in life is to be able to laugh at oneself. Therefore I am comfortable taking actions that others may consider odd/silly/stupid, and if there is even the smallest chance that I might be able to provide a new perspective to someone, then it makes it worth it.
  • Morning: Wake up. Make a soy protein smoothie because I ran out of Ultimate Meal - bummer.
  • Mid-morning: Go for a run. Wearing my "Do Good Often" t-shirt. People are staring - either at my odd running style, my chest, the t-shirt, or all of the above.
  • Late-morning: Go to Whole Foods, grab a wheat grass shot, some ultimate meal, and a BPA free water bottle (I left my other one at the pool the other day).
  • Lunch: PTerrys to pick up all natural organic hamburger and veggie burger for my niece and nephew.
  • Afternoon: Attend the grand opening of a new eco-conscience skincare boutique - W3LL People (Hippie Tested, Diva Approved).
  • Late-afternoon: Prepare/decorate for couple's baby shower I am co-hosting. On tap: Blueberry Izzy's (with vodka), Sushi (veggie), Blueberry Shortcake Cupcakes (vegan), Veggie Platter, Cheese Platter, all served on recycled plastic PRESERVE brand (awesome!) and biodegradable corn starch plastic cups.
  • Evening: Party time - big success! An eco-party and no one even flinched:-)
So there you have it. A few green moments that felt effortless thanks to an increased accessibility on several levels and an ingrained awareness. I believe I may have even managed to fuel some giggles (either by me or at me - it really doesn't matter!:-)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day - Gifts and Reflections

It has been awhile since writing for my beloved Sunshine Chronicles. Like so many times in life, it seems the littlest things that bring us the most joy get pushed to the bottom of our priority list as the sea of change, opportunities, and life experiences come swooping in and claiming more importance.

Well, perhaps it is the forced introspection from the universe as claimed by Mercury in Retrograde, or more sadly, the soulful loss of a great American commentator and father force, Tim Russert. While I come from a highly politically passionate family, I am a closet politico sticking close to the personalities of MSNBC as my informants. So this surprising loss is heart wrenching and reflective. It is in times like these where I turn to writing which serves as my internal compass to keep me on course. Don't worry, no dramatic theme shifts from the original purpose of the Chronicles, but perhaps a childlike clumsiness as I discover a new voice that reflects the many changes in my life. But what better way to kick off again, than with a note on Father's Day.

To reinforce what I am so passionate about and what I believe are the pillars not just of The Sunshine Chronicles, but of the core areas I try to be aware in my life, I have a few gift ideas for the men in our lives. 

Health: The Wii Fit seems too good to be true. And while the visual of your father playing my be to much to bear, it seems worth the risk and benefit of his health!

Wellness: I am crazy for these Brainsync meditations you can download. They come in a variety of topics from deep sleep to weight loss. The tap into your subconscious brainwaves, so perfect for passive meditation (ie. sleeping). The also come in guided meditations as well.

Social Consciousness: No secret my love for, and what better way to spread the love and entrepreneurial spirit than a Kiva gift certificate. Better yet, select an entrepreneur from our BlueAvocado page, and join the journey!

Sustainability: What is Father's Day without a day of golf? Check out these eco-golf balls to bring some green to his game.

One more note on Tim Russert. I am always keen to look at the literal and emotional links connected to physical ailments and manifestations (sometimes to an obsessive and annoying degree to the loved ones in my life:-) And when reading the details of Tim Russert's tragic death, it is noted that he died of a heart attack, more specifically an enlarged heart due to coronary disease. In no way do I want to minimize the seriousness of this disease, but in thinking of my own reflections about this amazing man and watching far too much MSNBC in the last 24 hours, a big heart almost too simply and perfectly encompasses the impact this man had on millions of lives. He always seemed to be overflowing in love, especially in his commentary on politics. He was truly a model of integrity, love, passion, grit and humbleness that we each can strive for in reflecting on our own "karma footprint" we make in this precious lifetime. 

And to my own father, who in some many ways reminds me of the integrity, passion, and soul that Tim Russert epitomized, I know I speak for my entire family when we realize how blessed we are to have the love, friendship, inspiration, guidance, and grace all beautifully wrapped up in the perfect little package we call Dad. Big love PaPa!