Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Making Room

I’ve been manifesting new changes in my life. Yet, to change the present, I’ve needed to clean up the past. So I’ve been cleaning out old things: clothes, books, photos, letters, cards, memories; and with that, old attitudes about myself. I’ve made a significant dent. And as I’ve done the cleaning, sorting, dusting, vacuuming, my physical body has tightened into knots.

Because of the knots, I went to get a massage last week and I asked the Universe for the perfect massage therapist. Part of changing attitudes about myself is to not think about myself as “the girl with back problems,” so when the therapist asked if I had “issues” I told her that I’m trying to manifest changes with my body. She answered, “you’re not trying to manifest, you are manifesting.” Wish granted in getting the ideal therapist.

I told her that I’m cleaning out old emotional issues. When she got to my neck and upper back, the tensest part of my body, she told me I was holding on very tightly to something. “Breathe in, hold, and that breathe out ha!,” she instructed. I breathed in, and thought, "I’m releasing and letting go," and I breathed out. “Wow!,” said the therapist. “You just released your back and neck with just that thought. See how powerful you are!” As the massage continued, she had to bring me back a few times during the massage as I spaced out. I had to continue to focus my attention on areas that needed releasing. It was then I realized I needed to "work" to relax! Or a better way to describe it was paying attention about how powerful our thoughts are in our physical body.

When the therapist massaged my left arm, a.k.a. the receiving arm, she said she got a flash of a closet needing cleaning out. I immediately got an image of my pillow full of Duran Duran & Adam Ant pins in the hall closet. I had been annoyed the day before because the closet was so jam packed and disorganized. “Yeah, I know the closet you mean,” I said. She reminded me that when you’re manifesting for the things you want, you have to make room for them. She told me notice how I tensed up again thinking about that closet. “Just say to yourself you will clean out the closet but not to worry or dwell on it now,” she offered. What, me dwell? Ha! Lately, I’ve been thinking about how the words dwell - i.e. ponder a thought to death, and dwell - as in to live are related. I definitely dwell in thoughts… And my dwelling is full of them, hence the need to clean.

So, the day after my massage, I cleaned out the closet. My pillow still needs to be dealt with but at least there’s space. My left arm was sore, so I continued to breathe, using ha! I’ve done that technique in yoga before but I didn’t realized how profound a release the move was. I felt the release of my body more deeply as I was standing and letting all the area of my back collapse when I exhaled. I felt elated. I was actually dumping out my tension. With those combined actions of physically making room and then releasing the tension in my body, I have open space to breathe.

Evacuation - Fall 2007

Evacuation – what would you take if there were a fire….

About 15 years ago, there was a serious fire in the Oakland hills that threatened to come down the hill into my neighborhood. I watched the news intently and then I decided to pack. I took what normal people take, the photo albums and the important papers but that wasn’t enough. I packed my Chinese jewelry box that my brother gave me. I packed a rod-iron candlestick my friend Austin made me. I packed up all of my artwork. What I selected were things that I couldn’t replace.

In looking around my apartment now, what would I take? The lazy part of me says – nothing – because I’d want to take everything – but most importantly, my computer. This is where all my creative work is now… stored up… but the thought of schlepping that to my car… well…. just the thought of moving anything sounds exhausting. Maybe it’s the smoke in the air – oh yeah, Southern California is raging with fire. Fortunately I’m not in an effected area but we can still smell the smoke.

Events like these make me want to cut down to the bare essentials so I won’t worry about losing anything. What is it that I really need? When I left to live in Israel for a year, I put my things in storage. These were things I could not possibly have departed with. Away, I thought about my things while I was living in other people’s quarters. I ached for them; these things belonged to me and me alone.

Gleefully, I opened the storage unit, when I came home to be reunited with my things. Then I saw them and thought – why the hell did I keep this stuff? I didn’t really have the emotional attachment to the items that I used to when I first put them away. I was willing to pay 25 bucks a month to store them for a year. I probably couldn’t have sold those things at a garage sale for what I had shelled out. I was attached to some of the things because of the stories they had – like my futon that I got at discount because the original one I ordered couldn’t be delivered on time because the truck was hijacked. But in reality, the futon wasn’t very comfortable. It didn’t have much value beyond the story. Aside from books, there wasn’t really much there that was worth it. And I learned a lesson from that – things can be replaced, even precious things because things change and feelings change.

But now I have a new set of precious things – well sort of. I try to clean house more… I go thru things, articles, and shake my head. Why was this important? Why couldn’t I depart from it. There are things I’ve given away that I miss – but do I really miss them? Or is it something else I’m clinging onto?

Finally, a non-violent video game

A Buddhist game to help teach ethics 490 words 13 March 2007 The Nation (Thailand) English (c) 2007 Nation Multimedia Group Public Co., Ltd

Concerned about a news report of a boy attacking his mother because she refused to give him money to play online games, a senior officer at the Religious Affairs Department decided to create a game himself.

"Ethics Game", created by Pakorn Tancharoen, director of the Moral and Ethical Development Office works by using a principled game to overcome decadent games.
"It is impossible to stop kids from playing games or flocking to online-game arcades. So, let them play, but play good games," Pakorn said.

The game aims to indirectly teach players about morals, doing good and the five Buddhist precepts. When he first came up with the idea, Pakorn - who had never played online games and has no children of his own - decided to work it on it in secret, as he was not sure that his boss would go along with the idea.

He spent his after-work time at online-game arcades to observe what kinds of games attract children. "Most of them were about killing," he said. He then devised a game plot that includes four main characters: Dharmmahapanyo, an old respected monk; Charn, an orphaned boy who is mischievous but clever; Nu Na, a girl who is clever and kind-hearted; and Paloe, a big half-Chinese boy who was born into a rich family and likes to tease others, especially animals.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Woes of Water

Water shortage has been on the news lately. Neighbors are ratting out neighbors in Atlanta if they are illegally watering their lawn. Will it be a harbinger of things to come for sunny Southern California where I live? I hope not. I hope we can learn the lessons beforehand before it gets to that. For me, it’s about paying attention. Hard not to, I think, when the Water Board is running ads on the TV that, according to them, the water infrastructure in California is near collapse and the water tables are at an extreme low. The environmentalist in me wants to say, ha, ha – we told you so! And for pete’s sake, we live in a desert climate and people plant (and water things) like we’re living in England! But I digress.

The fact is, we are in draught. But I don’t want to focus on the word “draught.” It can be a scary word if you let your mind wander to the parched lands of Africa. Maybe the word itself here simply means that we don’t have as much anticipated water as we’re using currently. We are asked to “conserve.” That’s a few steps away from restriction. Then scarcity. I don’t want to have a scarcity mentality. If the Universe is full of abundance then how can we have a scarcity? And yet, here it is. So why? Is it because we are so unconscious in our use of things? Is the amount of water consumption we use really necessary? Is this water shortage just based on an anticipated need? And if so, do we really need what we are using? Hmmm.

I hate to be the water police. And yet, when I walk into bathroom at work, see someone brushing their teeth while the faucet is running at high blast, I have to say something. You only need the water to wet the toothbrush in the beginning and to rinse it off, and the spit out in the end. Why keep it on? How can they not realize the waste – that when you open the tap halfway or even all the way, you’re wasting more water by the second? For what? It simply isn’t needed at that point. I tried to say it nicely, pass it as a joke, like, ohmigosh, how silly of you. Yet I’m seething inside because I can’t believe someone is that na├»ve or unconscious. Especially when she’s part of the group that does PR for the environmental defenders. Try reading the literature. But like I say, that person is unconscious. But is their unconsciousness a choice?

Just because I say I hate being the water police, doesn’t prevent me from continuing. When I walked into the kitchen, saw another co-worker rinsing out the sink at the fullest blast, I have to admit, I shrieked. I could see gallons going down the sink! How can you waste water like that!,” I told him. “What? I’m washing out the sink,” he said in his defense. (A weak point, I would have to say). “Don’t you know we’re in a water crisis!,” said me, still shrieking. The culprit said, “What crisis?" My other co-worker standing next to me validated my point. “Don’t you watch the news?,” said I, incredulously. “No, too depressing,” he retorted, like that would make a difference. The sink water, during this exchange, remained on full blast. Did it get any cleaner? No. Did my co-worker learn anything? I’m not sure. To me, he’s willfully ignorant. Perhaps he does have deep-seated reasons for not watching the news. Well, I gave him some and he chose to ignore it. He didn’t want to change his behavior. To him, he was acting just ducky.

That brings me to the behavior of the Atlantans who continued to water their lawn? Why? What purpose does having a lawn have? From what I understand, the genesis of having a lawn in this country was a status symbol. Showing off to your neighbors that you could have a lawn meant prosperity. Does it still mean that? Are people really aware of it? When people see a dried out lawn are they thinking, “Well that’s a conscious neighborhood saving water!” I think actually people criticize that person, thinking they are a lay-about who doesn’t care or have self-respect. But then again, I don’t know what people are really thinking. I just know that when I see someone who has replaced their lawn here with a xeriscape lawn, I get very excited. I may even frighten the neighbors when I enthusiastically tell them, “way to go,” and “that looks really cool!” I also may frighten the ones that I glare at when I pass them on a walk just standing out on their property watering, in this middle of the draught…. Oh, wait, not draught – in this water challenged time.

In Los Angeles proper, (I live outside the city), they have begun restricting when people can water their lawns. You can still water but it’s on select days. Why are people so attached to their lawns? Why the maintenance, the expense, the fuss? Okay, if people have kids, I guess they want a lawn for their kids to play on. Wait, aren’t parents these days even afraid of letting their kids play outside because of predators? I might be more hesitant to let them play on a lawn full of herbacide. What if they pick up sprayed grass and put it in their mouth? Here I go, digressing again. But I do want to continue the point about what people spray on their lawns, to keep them green and weed free. These poisons kill things like dandelions which are actually beneficial plants, not only medicinally but nutritionally. It’s the whole unconscious thing. Do they know why they are killing dandelions? When did dandelions become bad, and homogenized green lawns good? Did someone say, “Go on! Get those terrorists weeds and get a real man’s lawn!” It just seems like a pointless struggle to me.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just to plant native species, that don’t need high maintenance and care? And if people have backyards, and kids, they can designate a space for them. And if they really want their kids to experience nature, why not plant an organic vegetable and herb garden that can be more than just an ornament? It can feed their family. I see people already doing this, using their front lawn to plant a vegetable garden. Maybe the new status for the future is being able to have the free time to grown our own food again. Not all of us seem to have the time – caught up in the business of our lives - to have the time to even stop and think, why do we have lawns? What is necessary? Can we do this before the water stops running?

In the meantime, I’ll continue what I’ve been doing for years. I don’t flush my own toilet after #1 ever single time I use the toilet. And I try to flush the toilet as often as I can using the water I’ve collected from the shower. When I rinse my veggies with plain water, I use that water to water my plants in the yard. My landlord pays for my water so I don’t do it to save money. I do it because I appreciate that I have water and that I don’t have to go to a well and fetch it. I appreciate the abundance that I have and I want to use it wisely. The real thirst I have is to live a life that is not wasteful and with this practice I quench that thirst.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sacrifices – are they necessary?

I’ve been thinking about sacrifices – things that I do that I would consider a sacrifice, but others might not see them as sacrifices at all. I guess each of us would have a different idea of what a sacrifice means.

My initial question is are sacrifices necessary? What are there purposes: spiritual edification, devotional expressions, practicality? I don’t have an answer. Just questioning the necessity, and their necessity for me. Do I do make them to better myself, the world, or is it a way in which I deprive myself of something I think I can’t or shouldn’t have? Is the latter a thinly disguised punishment?

Are sacrifices a form of deprivation? One wouldn’t look at an animal sacrifice that way; well, not a personal one – unless you considered that animal your property. But it’s the animal’s life you’re sacrificing ultimately. You gain from that animal’s death if you are of that mind that if you do, it will benefit you in that god’s eyes. I imagine that was the thinking of our ancestors (and for those who still practice…).

When Jesus made his sacrifice (I don’t know much about Christianity but from what I understand, isn’t that what Christians believe?) was that a turning point in human history? Taking it upon yourself to make your own sacrifice instead of choosing a victim – whether it be a human or an animal – did that set a new moral ground? I’ll leave the answer to theologians and sociologists. However, I wonder about it because I wonder how the notion of self-sacrifice, to live a good life, pervades our lives. And is it necessary?

Part of me says sacrifice is necessary when I unplug my coffee machine every day. What kind of sacrifice is that, one might ask? Well, it’s my programmable coffee maker. I initially bought it as a bribe to myself to get up early and exercise. Hearing the percolating, bubbly coffee brewing in the morning (I admit to being a coffee addict, that’s another story) as I tried to crawl out of bed actually got me out of bed. I love hearing it in the morning. I’m not a morning person, nor do I have anyone in house, besides me, to make the coffee so even though I set it up at night, there’s something about it brewing right on time that makes me feel like I’m being cared for. I don’t have to fumble in the morning to make it – it’s done for me. A coffee servant, if you will. But what do I love more – saving the environment or me? Like my VCR, I unplug my electrical appliances that I don’t need and I have compact fluorescent bulbs.

So, for now, saving electricity on things I really don’t need has won out. Not so much for coffee filters. For years I used the mesh filters – a good ten. But for some reason, in this apartment, something I cannot explain, the spray from the coffee filter when I dump the grounds in the trash gets everywhere. The coffee grounds get all over the entire cabinet underneath my sink and it’s pain to clean. I either ignored it when I lived in my Northern California home or didn’t notice it or it didn’t happen. Either way, I made the decision to go with paper filters. And I love it. I know, I’m wasting trees and adding to the landfill until whenever time the filters, if they do, biodegrade. However, I love the ease of throwing the filters in the trash without having to waste time washing them out – worrying about grinds going into my sink, backing it up (again, this didn’t happen up North – who knows why). I accept this level of wastefulness. I guess I could compromise and use the mesh filter again every once in awhile. But the mere fact I actually cut myself some slack in my rather strict eco-mindful living was something. So this is where I began to question sacrifice. Maybe it’s to ease my consciousness but there’s something about the scarcity mentality that makes me question it too. If I’m always sacrificing some kind of enjoyment because of lack of funds, it’s not good for the environment, etc., what does that mentality do overall to my psych?. This isn’t about going 4-wheeling in the forests with an SUV. That type of behavior I could never condone. It’s about what I won’t do for myself, like not buying anything new because I don’t want to be a materialist – or waste environmental resources – because all those “other” people are doing it and if we keep doing that, won’t we run out of everything?@!

I guess what I’m trying to reform is the thinking that I can’t do something because everyone else is doing it – because they’re fucking up the planet – and then get resentful because I don’t let myself do anything. When I first moved back to L.A., maybe I relented to societal pressure, or maybe I just wanted to put myself first, but I actually allowed myself to go shopping again – for new things. I bought sunglasses that were more than 20 dollars (meaning not on sale) and I bought trendy purses knowing that they would be out of style in a year. What happened? The sunglasses never stayed on my face properly and I ended up selling them at a garage sale for 5 dollars. I gave the purses away to Goodwill after also trying to sell them at that garage sale. Since then, I invested, after many of hours of search, in a classic purse that I love and will use for 5 years. I bought another pair of sunglasses, about the same price as the other, that stay on my face and I’ve worn them for 2 years. What I learned from that experience is that I don’t really care about current trends. I’d rather buy classic things that will last. But if now and again, I actually splurge on something ridiculous, it’s not going to end the world. And I hope that person who got my Ray Bans for 5 bucks is really enjoying them and they aren’t slipping off her face. I guess what I learned also is that I don’t always have to be the person recycling, initially.

What I’m trying to get away from is fear based thinking, that if I buy something I like, the world will suffer because I thought only of myself. Is this really true? Is the Universe really set up this way? That's another discussion for another time. For now, I think now I’ll subscribe to the god of have – of freedom and happiness, abundance and success. You won’t see me driving a hummer now, nor will I – ever. There’s a good reason Gore won a Noble Peace Prize. But I’m starting to be less judgmental, like assuming the worst of people in trendy clothes and expensive cars. I wonder why they let others (designers, magazine editors) tell them what to wear and when. But that’s their choice, isn’t it. I’d rather spend time on things that interest me more. And again who am I to judge? I’m the woman who’s throwing away coffee filters. Ah, the freedom!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Self - Centered - Happiness

What is it that makes us truly happy? We can follow what the great sages of the day say – to give us a guideline. But the truth is, no matter what they say, it’s up to each of us to choose what makes us happy. Choice, based on free will, is the operative word.


Some of the sages say is that the best act is to help others. By doing so, we help ourselves. Noble thought but is this true for everyone? And what does that mean exactly? Is it doing good works for others? But what of the notion that we cannot help others if we don’t help ourselves first? For anyone of us that has taken a commercial plane ride and listens to the flight attendant acting out safety rules, we learn this simple rule. They tell us, “You must put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else.” Why? How the heck can we help anyone else if we are gasping for air ourselves. We may laugh at this but how many times have we said yes to helping someone when we’ve been tired, exhausted, all in the name of ‘being a good person.’ And how many times have we resented either the person who’s asked or for the more enlightened, ourselves for saying yes instead of taking care of ourselves first?


Have we been conditioned to believing that to be worthy of others, we must always help others first? If we act selfishly, we’ll be punished by whatever God we believe in or risk bad karma? Is this truth or just fear on our part? Should our sense of self worth always come from helping others – to jump in to save the day? And what does it say of ourselves that we always need to be “rescuing” others. I had a beloved dog that always wanted to be by my side. He hated water but more than having a hatred of water was his seeing me in it. One summer, I was swimming out to the middle of lake to reach a raft. He was right at my side – so much so that his nails were scratching my shoulder. It was becoming a bit painful so I swam faster. He trudged on to keep up with me. Finally, we reached the raft. I swam back to shore. He didn’t. He wouldn’t budge from the raft so my brother and friend had to row out in boat and drag our dog into it and row back to shore. In all of my dog’s heroic attempts to save me, he ended up needing to be saved. The truth his, I didn’t need to be saved. But his fear of water must of convinced him that I needed help and he went against his own needs to serve mine - even though I didn't want him to.


The other aspect of trying to help others is maybe they don't want you to. Maybe you're well intentioned advice isn't well received if you aren't walking your own talk. If your life is in somewhat of a shambles, shouldn't you be cleaning up your own mess? If not, why not? When we do that, are we avoiding our own lives? It's so much easier to see how to fix other people's lives. It must be a weird law of physics that perhaps should be called "The Law of Buttinsky."

After some painful reflection of all my "got to help others" attitude and many passive aggressive behaviors later, I came to an important discovery. The truth for me is, I keep asking for permission for everything. And resentful of the person who just walks in and just automatically expects it. I can spend hours tracing all the instances that led up to my lack of self-worth but the more important thing is to recognize that I can be that person - the person who gets what she wants. The last time I checked outside, the world didn't fall apart because I wanted my needs to come first. Just because I ask for what I want doesn’t mean I’m taking away something for someone else. Where did the belief come from that if there is a “have”, there is a “have not?” If the universe is ever producing, ever creating, which it is, then how is this possible? Can’t everyone have? They can. If we all serve ourselves, then there is no need to serve others. No one is lacking. What is lacking is the belief in ourselves that we create our own lives.

When I'm asked to help now, I ask myself why? Is this something I need or want to do? I'm much happier when I say yes because I truly want to rather than feeling "I should." The sky still hasn't fallen down because I've said no to things I don't want to do. In fact, the things I do are more meaningful when I say yes.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

There will be a day we'll be seen as equals, until then, there's this crap....

Entertainment Tech Briefs: Internet 'clubhouse' supports the notion that boys best learn from dads 473 words 30 July 2007 The Salt Lake Tribune English © 2007
The Salt Lake Tribune. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All Rights Reserved.

"Decades of attention to female empowerment, equality and the shift to a more gender-neutral society has inadvertently stifled boys today, leaving them falling behind in the classroom and in life. So says Mark Jacobsen, founder of Adventure Boys, an Internet "clubhouse" for fathers and sons. Adventure Boys celebrates "harmless boyhood mischief," and supports the notion that boys best learn to be boys - and eventually, men - from their fathers. Adventure boys.com features magic tricks, pranks, stuff to build, science experiments, survival skills, games and contests."

My response to the above? Although I see the positives in the article that fathers should be more involved in their boys' lives, I'm very bothered that the author sees this as the fault of the "women's movement." Um, what? There's no derth of action adventure games for boys. I know this after doing PR for a boy's action toy brand. And, well, what does "making mischief" have to do with making better men? Although the argument seems idiotic (when has the feminist movement ever advocated that boys can't pull pranks), the insidious part is that it's taking down women's efforts to be empowered. I question the assertion that with women becoming "strong" it makes men "weak." I can't wait for the day when strength by both sexes is seen as benefiting everyone. Perhaps we need to start by redefining what strength means. Is it personal and or physical? Or both? Regardless, if a person is truly strong, why would they be threatened by anyone? When we get into this type of blame instead of looking at our own responsibilities, how can we ever truly change?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Co-worker (for Mykle)

All of us have a “co-worker”; someone we're forced to work with –by what design who knows – that annoys us because they have no real concept of boundaries. How do we handle these people we are forced to be with 8 HOURS A DAY FOR AT LEAST 5 DAYS A WEEK? Do we tell them that their annoying drivel that spews from their mouth is really no interest to us - or do we listen, nod our heads, and say oh yes, you're right. I suspect they know we're placating them, unless they are so self involved they don't spot the eye glaze over.

The worst case is what I like to call the “Flynn factor”. Based on co-worker of the past who inevitably every day gave a rundown of what she’s doing and what’s going on with her – or would ask you about yourself only in turn so she could talk about herself, she perfectly encapsulates the self-involved talker. And yes, there's more than one of her out there. My friend Tom, who I believe when he encountered the Flynn would do the nodding head, came up with the perfect internal response of, “I DIDN’T ASK.” It's so true, you don't. With these people, you learn not to ask because you really don't want to hear it and... hear it. Why don't they just buy a blow up dummy and talk to it because they have no real interest in having a discussion or give and take with you. It seems it's all about the take - take your time and energy.

So at a recent temp gig, I've been experiencing a bit of the Flynn factor (for a more active term, I use, I've been Flynned) In early bonding with recent co-worker, I told her about my friend who’s caring for a child at home. She ‘s been trying to get a home business together but for various reasons, nothing has gotten off the ground yet. But just hearing that my friend is a stay at home mom, co-worker says, “she should get a job or do a home business. Women need that… my friend, blah, blah, blah….” Um, interesting. You don’t know my friend and already you’re telling me what she should be doing. As I got to know her, it came out that she’s living with her “rich” boyfriend. She doesn’t really need to work, he’d take care of her, but she’s resentful that he hasn’t helped her in what she wants to do… blah blah blah. Interesting. Project much? I stopped initiating conversations with her after talking at length about whether she should take the job there, in the legal dept. even though she wants to work in the art field. I told her, based on what she said and how she felt, she shouldn't. She took the job and then blamed her boyfriend. Um, ok. So I learned not to get involved that much in conversation. Why waste my time if you aren't going to help yourself? It got very quiet in our sector of the office.

People would pass by our desk area and comment on how quiet it was. Well, wars can be quiet. We just silently retreated into our own areas. Sort of. Occasionaly I would venture out but would get the response of, you should be doing this... ugh - and eventually she asked me to tell her honestly what is wrong with her - career wise that is... I felt pulled in, a vortex of self-involvement tugging at me... I answered that she was working against herself... I felt weird afterwords like actual lifeforce was drug out. Luckily my assignment was ending in a week. Of course to her, I was the moody one with issues that I took out on her... um whatever.

Perhaps one day, in a nice compassionate way, with a serene smile, I might just say, "I didn't ask," and see what happens. Oh, the liberation...

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Today's Walk

I took a stroll around the neighborhood where I work - like I normally do, but today I paid more attention to the trees and the flowers in people's yards. I noticed olive, lemon & eucalyptus trees, French lavenders, lamb's ears, yarrows, and rosemary bushes that look like they’re used for ornamentation. They all grow well here in the Southern California climate. I wondered, as I walked, if their "owners" realize the bounty of food and medicine within their reach.

I didn't realize what olive trees where until I lef tthe state and worked on farms in Israel. I pointed one out to my friend, a California native, the other day and she had no idea. I wonder if our lack of knowledge is a combo of the education here or we just take our wonderful fruit growing trees and plants here for granted - noting their existence but not really knowing what they truly are and what they offer.

Last year I took a most illuminating herb walk that was sponsored by the local health food store. We went to a park nearby and within a foot's walk into the park, the herbalist started pointing out all the medicinal plants. From nettles, elms, horehound, mugwort, mustard, white sage, to black sage, the place was ripe with incredible plants. I had no idea of the bounty so close to home. It opened my eyes to what's possible to grow in my own backyard and how nature is really here - when we look and listen - to help us.