No more ads!

As of November 2, you will not see any advertising on this blog! WordPress used to charge $100 to run an ad-free blog, which I thought was too expensive, given that I’m already paying them to run this blog.

The price came down, as I learned when I helped a friend set up a simple, one-page website. It now costs $2.99 a month, payable annually, to remove all advertising. I can afford that.

Thank you, WordPress.

It’s not that I’m totally opposed to advertising. A lot of what we do in our human interactions is marketing goods and services, when we praise or disdain restaurants, books, movies, massage therapists, cars, candidates, jobs, insurance companies, and so on. I use Google to advertise my business, and Moo.com for business cards, and lots of word-of-mouth.

Advertising is so prevalent in our 21st century American culture: on signs, billboards, the sides of trucks, bumper stickers, television, and rampant on the internet. It feels distracting, like I’m being yelled at or grabbed without my consent. It’s insidious and annoying.

I thought I could I ignore the ads, but when I began to use AdBlock, I must say it feels satisfying to view websites without the ads. I can appreciate the design, and it feels like a more peaceful, relaxing experience I can savor.

I know that some good websites rely on the income from ads. My response is, give me the option to subscribe without ads. If I like it, I might pay a few bucks to keep it ad-free.

I had no choice about which ads appeared on my blog. Wanting to be in integrity, when I saw a McDonald’s ad on my blog about wellness, I stopped allowing WordPress to freely run ads. (Not that I ever had enough views to earn anything.)

The single ad WordPress insisted on making me pay to remove is now gone. I hope you enjoy your ad-free experience.

Core Transformation is a process that amplifies well-being

Sometimes we believe we have to do something (or not do something) before we can experience a sweet state of being such as peace, love, feeling one with everything, etc.

If only I wasn’t so nervous, I’d feel more confident about a troublesome situation.

Core Transformation is a process where you can learn to experience a pleasant, desirable state of being (maybe even more pleasant and desirable than you can currently imagine!) without having to do something to get there.

rainbow, The Well, ATXThat’s right, you can experience these states regardless of what happens (or doesn’t happen) because your mind creates states of being. You can learn to work with your mind and be way more than 10 percent happier! Continue reading

The ENEMIES Project by Nelson Guda — Kickstarter

The ENEMIES Project by Nelson Guda — Kickstarter.

My friend Nelson Guda is a peace geek. He went to Africa, where he met with and photographed people who were formerly enemies, like Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, now living together in peace.

How do people find peace after violence, even genocide? This is a great question to ask and collect answers in the form of photos and stories from people who’ve been through it.

Nelson would like to exhibit his photos at the United Nations headquarters as well as in various capitals around the world, and also publish a book of photos with the stories they go with.

This is not crazy, because Nelson is one smart guy. Not only does he have a Ph.D., but he’s already exhibited his photography in the U.S. Senate Building. He manifests.

Here’s what Nelson says:

Why on earth would anyone do this, and how do you know I will finish it?

I can’t explain why I need to take on big projects like this.  Maybe the simplest explanation is that I am an artist and have a tendency to work to obsession.  In my last major project about roadless forest lands in the U.S., I photographed National Forests across the country.  As a part of this project I designed and built a website that dynamically maps all the roadless lands in the country.  At the time there weren’t any good ways to quickly map and query that much data on a website, so I taught myself how to program and designed a system to do it.  The site is still up – it is called Roadlessland.org.  In former lives I have gotten a PhD and helped start an institute at a major university.  Will I finish this project?  Not counting time, I have already invested a lot of my own money into ENEMIES.  But even more importantly I think this is an important thing to do.  In my mind I can’t not finish it.

You can help Nelson fund his goal of $20,000 in 44 days by pledging as little as $1.

Did Marianne Williamson and legions of angels help Egypt?

Just came across a blog post by the spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson, dated Feb. 2, during the darkest days before the Egyptian people prevailed and dictator Hosni Mubarak stepped down.

Maybe she’s onto something!

February 2, 2011

IN THE LAND OF EGYPT

In a radio interview this morning I was asked if I have hope for the future… whether I think love will ultimately prevail on earth.

From a spiritual perspective, yes love will ultimately prevail. Buddha became enlightened; the Jews made it to the Promised Land; Jesus resurrected. All those are religious tales that inform us of the basic imprint of the universe. No story is over until the happy part, and if it’s not happy yet then the story isn’t over.

But that is only the beginning of a framework for understanding. We mustn’t let the phrase,”Love will ultimately prevail,” be a mere platitude that serves to justify complacency…either spiritual or political. For whether we learn to love one another through wisdom or through pain is completely up to us. How long it takes before love prevails is completely up to us. How much human suffering occurs before love prevails is completely up to us. Free will does not mean we get to determine what ultimately happens, but it does mean we get to determine what happens in the immediate future to us and to those we love.

When you have thousands of people acting out a high-emotion, high-stakes drama such as that which is occurring in Egypt today, almost anything can happen.

On the one hand, we are witnessing the purity and power of the quest for freedom. The demand for basic human rights, the repudiation of a dictator, and the protest of an economic order in which 40 per cent of one’s population lives on less than 2 dollars a day – all of this is a pure, democratic rising up of the human spirit. And if America doesn’t stand in support of those things, then we’ve completely lost our own moral center.

At the same time, this situation has gone from volatile to violent. Freedom is rising, but the forces of oppression are cracking down. Chaos overrides not only the impulse to freedom but also the impulse to basic human decency. Blood is spilling. People are dying. The situation has gone from liberating to tragic.

Right now, let’s pray for a miracle.

May a great wave of sanity and peace flood the minds and hearts not only of the protestors, but also the military and police and government. The phrase “may cooler heads prevail” comes to mind. May men and women of honor and good will within every corner of Egyptian society be listened to, and their words and ideas heeded. May thousands of small miracles that you and I will never ever know about quiet down a conversation over here, cause a peaceful solution to emerge in a neighborhood over there. May a general sense of peace and good will – something we’d seen almost miraculously on display at the beginning of the protests — return to the streets of Egypt.

Try closing your eyes and see, with your mind’s eye, legions of angels roaming through the streets of Cairo. Do this as frequently as you can throughout the day. It is no idle fantasy. This is the exercise of spiritual power, and in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., such power is “more powerful than bullets.” Even when we are materially passive, he said, we can still be “spiritually active.”

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle means that as the observer changes, there is a change in that which is observed. Worldly news anchors report the news: miracle-workers help change the news by the nature of their thoughts. And the greatest medium of miracles is prayer. So today, let’s pray for Egypt.

Dear God, please pave a miraculous path for the people of Egypt, to peace and freedom and joy unending. Bless their hearts. Guide their minds. Illumine this moment. May love prevail. Amen.

I’m ready to visualize legions of angels roaming the streets of Tehran. And Washington, DC.

How about you?