Category Archives: Issues & Solutions

Water shower

Save Water Shower With A Friend

10 Tips for Conserving Water. United Nations World Water Day is March 22.
Yes, I am a stickler for water conservation but this might be going a bit far even in my open-minded book. Actually, ‘Save Water Shower With A Friend’ was a semi-official campaign in New York City when I first arrived there in 1965 after graduation from college. A lingering drought had resulted in a severe water shortage in the northeast. This was one clever way of calling attention to this issue that affected 20 million people in drought-ridden New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The other ‘big’ water saving policy was for restaurants not to automatically give you water at your table. You could request it though.

In retrospect, I wonder if large industrial water users were required to make concessions and cut back on their water use as well. We have since learned of the enormous amounts of fresh water that are used for operations of manufacturing, refineries, nuclear and other energy production and agriculture.

Many years later, I lived in the Arizona desert and again became acutely aware of water limitations. I learned to respect and conserve water through our family’s many unusual living situations. For much of the ‘70s, Dean Evenson and I lived in a converted school bus with our three young children and had no running water. I even gave birth to our second daughter in that bus. A few years later, we ‘settled down’ in a 21 by 21 foot cinder block former garage where we had to carry water in buckets from the pump down the hill. That was for all our water needs – drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. No toilet flushing though as we had an outhouse.

So we have had to get used to living on less water. In fact, I learned that I could actually wash my dishes in the equivalent of two cups of water. Not my preference but sometimes necessary. Once, I even washed my baby’s cloth diapers in a mud puddle on a high Colorado plateau because that was the only water available at the time. But it was better than not washing the diapers at all if you know what I mean.

Did you hear about the monastery where the monks drank their dishwater? Well it wasn’t really as gross as it sounds. Basically, when they were finished eating their rice, they poured some tea in the bowl and swished it around, cleaning the bowl of any leftover rice, and then drank their tea (infused with rice flavor). Maybe they then wiped the bowl with the sleeve of their robe, and presto, their bowl was clean.

10 Tips for Conserving Water

1. Don’t let the water run while you are brushing your teeth. Just use it for rinsing your mouth and toothbrush.
2. Don’t let the water run while you are soaping up your dishes. Rinse them all at once in a dishpan to conserve water.
3. Don’t flush the toilet unless necessary (you know what I mean).
4. Install a low flush toilet to conserve water.
5. When possible, use your grey water (water from washing dishes, clothes, people) to water your garden or plants. Two things happen here: you grow more food and you keep water from taxing your septic or sewage system by cleansing it naturally through the ground and plants.
6. Fix leaky plumbing. Even small drips in sinks, toilets and hoses add up and amount to large waste of water.
7. Develop a comprehensive program for reducing your water usage.
8. Get your neighbors involved and make it a community thing. From the one to the many and then it really can make a difference.
9. Support organizations active in solving world water issues.
10. Check out other water saving lists with lots more ideas for conserving water.

4 Earth: Scenic Vistas of Ocean, Stream, River, Pond

Water everywhere. 4 Earth DVD by Dean Evenson
Water flowing between four different ecosystems.

Speaking of water stories, Dean and I created the DVD ‘4 Earth: Scenic Vistas of Ocean, Stream, River, Pond’. The video follows the cycle of water among these four eco-systems and shows how they are interconnected. Our aim in creating this beautiful nature video is to inspire people to respect the finite amount of fresh water on the planet and take action to protect it. We invite you to contribute suggestions for solutions to the many issues plaguing water in this era we find ourselves in. It hasn’t always been this way, and it doesn’t need to remain out of balance.

WHEN YOU COMMENT ON OUR BLOG WE’LL SEND YOU A FREE MP3 OF OUR MUSIC.

Also, we are having a super sale on our albums that feature water through April 1. Click here to connect with the sale page.

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Surviving Politics Through Spiritual Practice

Surviving Elections

Democratic elections are interesting.  We need to figure out how to survive divisive elections. At the end of the day, about half the people are celebrating while the other half are feeling devastated. If you are in the first group – congratulations. For those in the second group, this post is for you. I realize many people are still nursing their disappointment with the recent election results. Now the question is how to move forward without completely giving up hope.

We each have different coping techniques. For me, I’m turning off the ‘news.’ This does not mean I will isolate myself from the world and give up. It simply means I will focus on issues and causes I care about and not be led by the news media fanning the flames of divisiveness and conflict. If you have any money or time to donate, now is a good time to support groups who are working tirelessly to build a better world.

Vulnerable Planet

Our planet is vulnerable because of over population and our dependency on fossil fuels. Pollution of air and water, soil degradation, and poverty are problems that need to be addressed. Issues of discrimination, job equity, women’s rights and food security are more important than ever. Those of us who care need to work extra hard to keep moving forward. *See the list at bottom of this post for non-profit groups.

I put together this graphic about how our faith communities might deal with adjusting their attitudes to keep moving forward. Maybe it will resonate with you!
its-a-good-time

 

 

Helpful words from spiritual leaders

Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön says: “During difficult times like this, I’m feeling that the most important thing is our love for each other and remembering to express that and avoid the temptation to get caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Instead of polarizing, I’m feeling that it’s a time to contact our hearts and to reach out and help in any way we can.”

Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of Upaya Zen Center says: “It’s clear we have our work cut out for us. It is the work of love and wisdom in the face of the terrible suffering of war, environmental issues, racism, gender violence, and economic injustice. We have to work together to shift the tide toward what will benefit our children, the natural world, the future. Part of this means that we have to change the mind, move out of harsh negativity, eroding futility and fear, and build toward the good and the wise. We also have to work to shift the mood of the country and of the world through compassionate education, deep practice, and service to others.”

These words from Jan Willis, Professor Emerita of Religion at Wesleyan University also fit – “We must prepare ourselves to defend those hard-won rights and to help to ease the fears of those who now feel threatened. How do we do this? On a national level, by remaining vigilant and by remaining vocal when rights are threatened. On the personal level, by committing to serve as caring and compassionate warriors for those who are experiencing fear.”

Groups Making Our World Better

*In addition to your local food bank, here are just a few groups who will benefit from your tax-deductible donations this season: NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), EarthJustice, Southern Poverty Law Center, Globemed, Doctors without Borders, Planned Parenthood, 350.org, Cornucopia, Friends of the Earth, Nature Conservancy, Organic Seed Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists.

What groups do you support? When you comment on our blog, we’ll send you a free mp3 of our music as a thank you.

 

 

 

 

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10 Climate-Friendly Habits To Consider

UN COCC logoThis week is the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France and it is bringing back memories for us. In 1972, Dean Evenson and I attended the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm where among other things, we videotaped the 15 Native Americans who had been sent over by Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, to share their message about Mother Earth. Meeting those indigenous people changed our lives and their wisdom inspired us to create our nature-based music and start our label, Soundings of the Planet.

Now the United Nations is meeting again, this time to discuss Climate Change. In the 43 years since that first conference, global warming has become a looming issue that stands to affect everyone on the planet. We hope that our governmental and business leaders take this issue very seriously and also that citizens of every country look at how they can change their lifestyle to help turn the tide of global warming.
CCC logo
Here are 10 Climate-Friendly Habits to consider that are suggested by the French conference organizers. They may seem like small steps, but when multiplied by millions around the world, they are at least a move in the right direction in reducing CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.
Continue reading 10 Climate-Friendly Habits To Consider

Contrasts, Opposites, A Rainbow of Differences

Dean Evenson rainbowAh life, so full of opposites and apparent contradictions. It’s been quite a week with some good news that love prevails and other extremes of tragedy mixed with displays of hope. How can we reconcile the differences in our world?  We know that contrasts exist in life, but usually that does not mean that one is good and the other bad. Black-White, Us-Them, Male-Female, Push-Pull, Up-Down, Hot-Cold. These sorts of opposites occur and give energy to our existence.  They enhance the rich, biodiversity of the multi-colored rainbow of our human ecosystem. They serve a purpose, create tension and release, and describe a situation. Other opposites such as Love and Hate do present values that we best pay attention to before they get out of hand. It is clear to me that Love as a practice is much more desirable and helpful to the life process than its opposite. My sweet husband, Dean Evenson, always says ‘Love is practical’ and of course love typically yields more satisfactory results than animosity.  However, since Hate is present in our world, we get to deal with it as well.

Why would a person not want to love? What obstacles stand in the way of one’s being able to love?  Fear is certainly one thing that can block the progress of love. Another antithesis to love is low self-esteem.  Healthy self-esteem is about self-love without which it is difficult to carry on in the world. However when one feels insecure or unsafe, there is often a defensive reaction that arises which looks for the ‘other’ to blame for one’s condition and that other is often someone who is different from us.

Trouble can arise when the object of blame is a group of people or entire race or religion.  Someone with this mindset may ‘act out’ their frustration in antisocial ways especially if they are fed more negativity by their peers that fuels their emotions. The problems can magnify even more if that mentally unstable person should have access to a gun or a ‘weapon of mass destruction.’  Now you might think that such a weapon would be something like a bomb with highly destructive powers, but as we saw during the tragic events of September 11, a simple box cutter can become a weapon of mass destruction when used in the wrong hands.

Pastor and former police officer, Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, tries to address the core causes of the issue in his post: Five Steps to Stop Gun Violence in America. His first suggestion is to “Reach out to young people – especially those who express feelings of being alienated, isolated, or disenfranchised – and those who need mentoring, encouragement, and opportunities to break out of cycles of despair, hate, rage and frustration. Provide that guidance – a “hand up” for success.”

We live in a society that feeds on divisiveness. The flame of conflict is fanned in news media and corporate competition.  But there is an antidote to this discordant, dysfunctional society and it is love and compassion.  And yes, even forgiveness as those family members of the Charleston church massacre victims offered to the young man who had shot their loved ones. We need to look around in our families and communities and notice those who feel disenfranchised and alienated, notice them and connect with love and compassion.

We hope that guns, knives or boxcutters do not fall into the hands of mentally unstable people. It is the anti-social person with the weapon that pulls the trigger. With the recent killings in the Charleston church, my daughter posted on Facebook – “Let’s focus on becoming better people and being a better example for peace & love. And my momma raised me to think “what would Jesus do” way before it was a catch phrase. Be kind. Be an example of kindness. Be compassionate.”

*If the news gets you down and you need some support to lift your spirit – go to our Free Downloads page and grab an mp3 of Soundings of the Planet’s relaxation music. Our gift to bring more peace into the world!

What do David Suzuki and Pope Francis have in common?

Image converted using ifftoany
Image converted using ifftoany

What do David Suzuki and Pope Francis have in common? It turns out they both care deeply about the fate of the planet and have some strong words for those who will listen.  Just the other day we heard renowned author, scientist and television host of The Nature of Things, Dr. David Suzuki, speak to a packed hall about the crises our destructive human behaviors are causing to the planet.  And today we hear that the new Pope Francis is issuing a Papal Encyclical about the unprecedented destruction of “God’s Creation” if we don’t change our consumptive ways.

This is so relevant to Dean Evenson and me as we have been looking at ways we can considerably reduce our ‘carbon footprint’ and tread more lightly on the Earth. We want to look at the energy we use and make concerted efforts to reduce it by measurable results.  We hope to engage others in taking a personal look at how much energy we use, where it comes from, and how we can switch to renewable energy in most of our areas of use.

Here are some relevant excerpts to give you an idea of the depth of the Pope’s commitment to get some traction on this very important issue:
“Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” he wrote in the draft. “Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity.”

The pope will also single out those obstructing solutions. In an apparent reference to climate-change deniers, the draft states: “The attitudes that stand in the way of a solution, even among believers, range from negation of the problem, to indifference, to convenient resignation or blind faith in technical solutions.”

Mother Earth, Mother Nature, God’s Creation, whatever you want to call it – there is no doubt that the health of the planet forms the foundation of our own health.  So consider each of your actions, everything you consume or use, how it affects the overall eco system of the planet.  It’s a lot to ask, but then again, nature gives so much, it’s the least we can do.

If you are interested or have experience in doing this, please let us know.  I welcome your comments and ideas on the subject (and will send you a free music track to those who post comments). This will take more that a village to make the necessary changes to really make a difference.  Stay tuned!

Click here for some of Soundings of the Planet albums that include natural sounds. It’s our way of honoring the Earth.

And since Father’s Day is coming up, we’re offering a super discount at soundings.com through June. Use code – FATHERSDAY15.  And check out Dudley’s photos on Soundings Facebook page – A Tribute to Dads & their Babies.

 

Yearning to Help This Troubled World

Drums Not GunsMy heart yearns to help this troubled world
All around I hear people crying out in pain
Calling for assistance and understanding
Of this crazy stirred up incredible world
Hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes
Terrorist attacks Mudslides Unnecessary War
Death Homelessness Separation from Family

I don’t know if everyone feels this way but some are called
To feel the weight and wonder of the world on our shoulders
In our hearts to somehow see all sides and feel no separation
Praying for Resolution of the conflicts and the suffering
For Harmony among all people, of man with Nature
Praying for Peace to fill our hearts and heal our broken world

Oh please let me know how you reconcile living in the material plane.  How have you been able to help your neighbors, contribute to your world?  What have you seen others do that inspires you to do more.  I would love to hear from you (and I’ll send you a free music track in gratitude).

 

Nature and Music: Healing People and the Planet

Published in Natural Awakenings Chattanooga, April 2015

Dean Evenson Native flute riverIn 1970, when sound-healing and video pioneers Dean and Dudley Evenson first became aware of the serious environmental issues threatening our world, they wanted to find a way to help educate people about the plight of the planet. They got that opportunity two years later, when they worked as videographers at the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden.

“In Stockholm we met and were exposed to the wisdom of the fifteen Native Americans who were at the conference talking about Mother Earth,” recalls Dudley Evenson. “We documented this historic event with the new, portable Sony video camera that had just become available, and looked for ways to apply these new ideas.”

The next year, Dean Evenson was invited to Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to help transmit television out of the occupied town. He stayed on the reservation a month, videotaping Lakota elders, activists and medicine men, who spoke strongly about the challenges facing the earth at that time. Again the Evensons contemplated this new information and tried to figure out a way to share what they were learning.

A few years later, now living in Tucson, Arizona, the Evensons decided to form a record label, Soundings of the Planet, to distribute  what Dean describes as “the music that was flowing through us.” He spent the night in a desert canyon, and as the sun rose, he used two stereo mikes to catch the sounds of the birds at dawn. The Evensons’ first album, Desert Dawn Song, included these sounds of dawn in the desert along with the couple’s calming music of flute, harp, cello and vocal tones.
Desert Dawn Song-SP-2223rgb

“This album was one of the very first to include meditative music along with field recordings of nature sounds, and it ushered in a whole new genre of music,” Dudley says. “This was our way of honoring the earth, and our vision was to get this nature-based music to people living in cities who made decisions about the fate of the planet.”

The Evensons have continued to create this special type of music, and over the past 35 years they have released more than 80 albums and videos dedicated to their vision of creating “peace through music.”

Dean has spent many hours next to flowing rivers or ocean beaches, and in wetlands, forests and mountain valleys, recording both audio and video. These “soundings of the planet” have found their way to a number of popular, award-winning albums and DVDs. The added bonus, Dudley says, is that the music seems to have a healing effect on listeners.

“Even though we didn’t start out trying to make healing music, that is exactly what happened,” she says.

The Evensons also added to their recordings the Earth Resonance Frequency (ERF) of 7.83 hz (cycles per second), which is the actual resonance of the planet’s atmospheric cavity, Dean explains. “This is also the same frequency that our brains emit when on the cusp of the alpha and theta brainwave states,” he says. “This tends to have a positive, healing effect on people, adding to the already peaceful state the music and nature sounds create.”

For more information on Dean and Dudley Evenson and their music and videos, visit Soundings.com; search “soundings of the planet” on Facebook or YouTube; visit their blog, HealthyLivingDreams.com; or call 800-93-PEACE (800-937-3223).

PS – I would love to hear how you have used our music.  And to those who comment, I’ll send you a free mp3 download!

 

Celebrating our Interdependence

Dean Evenson flute circleOn July 4th we celebrate America’s ‘independence’ from Britain.  That was a big step for the former colonies at the time and one that produced shock waves around the world as people from many nations decided they were ready to move on from monarchy and dictatorships running their lives.  Now, hundreds of years later, we have made a lot of progress toward democracy yet there are still  monarchies and dictators who rule much of the world.  Some would even consider the power that corporations have on us as a form of dictatorship, causing us to consume what we don’t really need, polluting our sacred earth and steering our actions toward their own desires.
We live in a world of extremes where some have more than necessary and many have less than they need.  How can we reclaim our citizenship and restore a sense of balance to our lives?  A good first step is by recognizing the interconnectedness that is our ever present reality and honoring the ‘interdependence’ we have with one another and all of nature.  We are truly one people and one world and when we focus on the blessing of that truth, we can create the world that truly supports each of its citizens.  What we do as individuals affects our family and the world around us.  When we join with others and create actions that have a positive effect on the planet and our community, we are exercising our rights as true world citizens.  Together, with conscious intention and focus, we can make this world a better place.  

 

 

Power of Love to Overcome Conflict

As I prepared for the birth of my first child over forty years ago, one of the things I knew I needed to deal with was my long-standing conflict with my parents.  Ever since my husband, Dean Evenson, and I had been living together and growing our hair out and expressing our controversial ideas against war and for civil rights issues, we had an uncomfortable relationship with my parents.  Since I had begun to see the world differently from my parents and develop a more free spirited lifestyle in keeping with my true nature, we had not been able to see eye to eye and I had felt terribly judged by them.  It hurt me deeply. As I approached my own parenthood, I decided to thoughtfully look at what was going on.
Heart Rocks

One day, I had the startling realization that I had equally strong judgments about my parents as they did of me.  I judged their judgments, their prejudices, their conservatism, their materialism, and their affluent lifestyle.  It occurred to me, on the eve of my becoming a mother, that I couldn’t change them, but I could change myself.  I could let go of my judgments and love them unconditionally.  With some effort, but also with a great feeling of relief I did just that.  I let the love return that I had felt in my earlier years, and I just appreciated my parents as who they are, not who I thought they should be.  Interestingly, within a few weeks, we had the first real communication in years.  I hadn’t sent them a letter or called to announce my change of heart, but somehow, it had gotten through, and we renewed our family ties.

Years later I took a workshop that introduced the idea of ‘Changing Your Telepathic Agreement’ with someone you are in conflict with.  The way it works is this – you bring that person into your consciousness and in a meditative state you speak to their ‘higher self’.  At the beginning, you let them have it.  In other words, you say all the things that are bothering you about that person, words that you might not want to say in person but what you are truly feeling.  By the end of the first session you shift and begin to say things like ‘but I understand how you may have become this way’…or ‘I know you are trying to change.’  You do the meditation day after day with each day having less of the first part (‘you make me mad, you hurt me’) and more of the second part (‘we are getting closer to understanding, I forgive, etc.). You can also create a forgiveness mantra and sing it to yourself.  It could be something simple like ‘I forgive you and you forgive me.’  Give it a melody and sing it whenever the person comes to mind. If you do this practice with conviction and repetition, you will find that soon, your projection of the conflict is changing and no matter how much they may have harmed you, when you think of that person, your thoughts won’t carry as much charge, and eventually you will find a peaceful resolution of the conflict with them.  In any event, you will have more inner peace and isn’t that what forgiveness is all about?

Welcome to Healthy Living Dreams

Welcome to Healthy Living Dreams! The official blog of Dudley Evenson, co-founder of Soundings of the Planet. Featuring helpful hints, inspiring stories and guidance on how to live a healthy life in harmony with others & the planet