Putting the “Action” in “Activism”

It’s Wilderness Awareness Week at The Bardo and scillagrace is heading up lots of amazing posts about the planet to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act being signed into law in the U. S.

Image borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/workingwithoneness Carving by Bruno Torfs ©
Image borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/workingwithoneness Carving by Bruno Torfs ©

As technological civilization diminishes the biotic diversity of the earth, language itself is diminished. As there are fewer and fewer songbirds in the air, due to the destruction of their forests and wetlands, human speech loses more and more of its evocative power. For when we no longer hear the voices of warbler and wren, our own speaking can no longer be nourished by their cadences. As the splashing speech of the rivers is silenced by more and more dams, as we drive more and more of the land’s wild voices into the oblivion of extinction, our own languages become increasingly impoverished and weightless, progressively emptied of their earthly resonance.” ~ David Abram

I wanted to write a brilliant piece of poetry for this event, but my efforts kept coming out with a negative bent, so I decided to instead make this post a mish-mash of things. It can be really hard to try and stay positive and find hope in the face of so much apathy in the world, with so many corporations hell-bent on destroying the planet just to make a profit. It can be terribly disheartening as a champion for the environment when you look at the way the odds are stacked against us, and how very much work there is to do.

On the other hand, it means that there are plenty of opportunities for all of us to find something to DO. Find an environmental cause that speaks to you, personally, whether it’s saving the rainforests, trying to keep trash out of our oceans or making sure that more tar sands pipelines don’t get built. The thing about activism is that it requires action. If you can’t be part of a climate march (Like the one coming up in NYC on 9/21/14), if you can’t get out and pick up litter in the parks, there are still lots of things you can do to help. The important thing is “action”. Whether your action is donating time, money, ideas, space, spreading the word via social media or blogging about it, taking pictures…however you choose to do it, just find a way to get involved. The more people we have taking action, the more our efforts can create a ripple effect that can move mountains (or save them from mountain-top strip mining, as the case may be).

Image borrowed from piecefit.com
Image borrowed from piecefit.com

Here’s a list of the Top 100 Environmental Websites to get you started. From animals rights, to deforestation, to environmentally friendly energy solutions, to recycling, to ocean protection to whatever else you can think of regarding the environment and wilderness, your cause is out there…you just have to find it. 😉 Speaking of which, here’s a handy, dandy test to help you figure out your Environmental Worldview , which is defined as “collective beliefs and values that give people a sense of how the world works, their role in the environment, and right and wrong behavior toward the environment. Environmental worldviews dictate how we interact with nature and our attitude toward how we use the natural resources it contains.” ~ Source

 

Image borrowed from http://indulgy.com
Image borrowed from http://indulgy.com

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a video by one of my favorite celebrity environmental activists, Woody Harrelson.

– Corina Ravenscraft

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fdragonkatet (Dragon’s Dreams) ~  Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Willful Ignorance and some Food For Thought…

Image borrowed from Zappa.com
Image borrowed from Zappa.com

“The more you can escape from how horrible things really are, the less it’s going to bother you…and then, the worse things get.”
Frank Zappa

Rational Wiki defines “Willful Ignorance” (bolding is mine) as: “…the state and practice of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality. At heart, it is almost certainly driven by confirmation bias….Readers should be aware that willful ignorance is a mechanism that actually protects the brain from becoming unable to function in situations that it just can’t handle. An individual can never accept its whole own reality being meaningless or making no sense, as that would make it impossible to act towards any goal. Forcing an individual into such a state has psychologically been found to be comparable to the death of the higher developed parts of the brain from an outside perspective.”

Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com
Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com

I admit it. Life is a lot easier when I choose to ignore the things which make me unhappy or uncomfortable. I’m not particularly proud of it, but I admit that I do it. I think we all tend to do this to some extent. It’s a self defense mechanism which allows us to feel better about ourselves, our behavior, our actions (or in-actions). The problem is when we spend so much time in willful ignorance that others suffer, whether they’re other people, animals or plants.

Reality can be a cold bitch. Humans can be unimaginably cruel and so many times, we’re willing to look the other way. Why? Perhaps we feel helpless to do anything about the situation. Maybe we’re afraid of being ridiculed, ostracized for doing something differently. It takes tremendous courage to be the only one to stand up and say, “No. I will not do this because it is wrong.” It takes conviction and strength of heart. And sometimes, it takes a willingness to suffer, yourself, in order to make a point.

Image borrowed from quoteswave.com
Image borrowed from quoteswave.com

The compassionate soul cannot abide injustice and suffering in the world – it wants to help – in any way it can. As a compassionate soul, I have to consider certain things about my lifestyle and how it affects others. In recent years, my diet has come under my personal scrutiny because of revelations about where some of my food comes from; specifically, factory farming. It finally penetrated the veil of willful ignorance I had built so that I could continue to eat what I wanted when I wanted and not have to feel bad about it.

Am I a Vegan? No, but I’m trying to be a more compassionate consumer. I used to have bacon every week. Now it’s once a month or less. I used to eat eggs and chicken several times a week. Now I eat eggs maybe once a month and chicken once a week. I’ve almost completely stopped eating red meat. I’m also in the process of working on dairy. The thing is, you have to be able to live with your conscience and find what works for you. At the same time, I understand that not everyone shares my view. I’m not out to convert or guilt trip anyone. But I do wish that more people would take a long, hard look at how their actions possibly contribute to unnecessary suffering.

Image borrowed from Pinterest.com
Image borrowed from Pinterest.com

The video below IS safe for work. It doesn’t show the blood, or violence, in factory farming, but it does show us how we, as consumers, are manipulated into embracing willful ignorance. It’s a very thought-provoking 7 minutes. I hope you’ll watch it and let me know what you think. It’s okay to be upset or disturbed by what the presenter says. Believe me when I tell you that there are many, many other videos with far more upsetting and disturbing visuals/themes regarding factory farming. You can Google the phrase and see for yourself. Or not. Be warned: once you see it, you can’t “un-see” it. That’s how it works. It’s definitely “Food for thought”.

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fdragonkatet (Dragon’s Dreams) ~  Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Tropical thoughts

It’s summertime here in the South, and the weather puts one in mind of the tropics; the steamy humidity, warm summer sun combine to promise that you’ll need another shower as soon as you dare to step foot outside. Many years ago (2006), I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Big Island of Kona, Hawaii for a couple of weeks. You hear stories, of course, of the beauty, but nothing compares to the reality. It truly is a tropical paradise. The native people are very eco-conscious and generally helpful, friendly people. They have a deep respect for the Earth and their simple ways of life were incredibly appealing to me. It’s terribly expensive to live there, since the economy is tourist-driven, but if I ever had the money, this is where I would retire and happily spend the rest of my life.

I got to snorkel with Green Sea Turtles…

Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006
Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006

and see plenty of Yellow Tangs and Needle-nosed Knifefish (which floated right below the surface of the water in schools) — Both are types of reef fish.

Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006
Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006

 

 

Needle-nosed Knife Fish
Needle-nosed Knife Fish

I also got to see some amazing waterfalls (although it was raining like a monsoon when I went to see them) This is Akaka Falls…

Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006
Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006

One of my favorite pictures from the trip is from Pololu Valley. You could see the mountains, the coast and the rainforest vegetation all in one shot…

Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006
Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006

There were some wonderful examples of island art, from hammered tin gates…

Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali'i Drive
Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali’i Drive

to the carved, wooden Ki’i statues in various places all over the island. These statues are usually meant as guardians to protect and watch over certain sites. This one is from “Place of Refuge”…

One of the Ki'i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge
One of the Ki’i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge

To my great delight, there were even dragons!

Between Two Dragons at the Hilton

And Buddha was there, too!

Buddha and Me

It was such an inspiring trip, I couldn’t help but write a poem to help me remember the experience. If you ever have the chance, I hope you will go! It was an enriching journey for the artistic spirit and the soul of anyone who appreciates nature. 🙂

~ Kona ~


 

Muted moonbeams drift through vaporous clouds,

While gecko songs mesh with the soft click of palms.

Awash in the gentle susurration of waves’ persuasion,

The island breezes encourage me to let go…relax.

No pressure here, no hustle and hurry,

No scamper and scurry,

On “island time”.

Simply hang loose and flow.

The scent of exotic, tropical orchids,

Mixed with the lush green of giant, verdant ferns.

The bright flicker of numerous birds in the brush,

Calls from long-forgotten conchs and steady drums…

All convince me that I,

Have finally found my way home,

To Eden.

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2006

((Someday, I’ll get back there and once more find that kind of peace and serenity.))

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Pressed Flower Power and Sunny Spinach Pie

It is SUCH a blessing to have a mother who is an artist! My mother recently hosted a workshop where we made flower presses and feasted on home-made goodies. I had never given much thought to the process of dried and pressed flowers before, but I learned quite a bit! Did you know that back in Victorian times, pressed flowers were considered one of the “acceptable” past-times for women? They would trade them, make “Old Maid” cards with them, use them to decorate serving trays by putting them on the bottom of the tray and then placing a piece of glass over them to keep them in place and protect them! You can do the same kind of thing today, of course, or they can be used for bookmarks, hand-crafted greeting cards, even decoupage gift boxes. There are scads of good ways to use these free gifts of nature. 🙂

Bought Flower PressMy mom got the idea after buying some blotter paper on sale and seeing the different types of flower presses available out there in the world. She got a couple off of e-bay and decided that they were really simple to make, so she cut up some scrap wood she had in the garage, and bought some hardware and invited us all to come learn about the process.

Materials for Flower Press

She made it easy for us by providing all of the materials. Each press has two pieces of wood for a top and bottom, four long bolts with washers on each side and four wing-nuts, and then as many pieces of blotter paper and cardboard between as you can fit into the press.

Finished PressPress Close-Up

There were several of us who attended, and we each got busy sanding the edges off our own presses. We had to use wood rasps/files to get the big splinters and rough pieces off, and then we graduated to sand paper. Each top and bottom had holes (pre-drilled, thanks to Mom) in all four corners to line up for the bolts and wing-nuts.

Cutting PatternsAfter that, it was cutting out the cardboard patterns to go between the blotter papers (which had already been graciously cut and provided). You can use any paper (even regular copy paper) as your blotters but we suspect that the acid content may have something to do with preserving the original colors of the flowers.

Pressed HybiscusPressed Nellie Moser Clematis

The next step is to place your flowers between two blotters and stack them as you get more of them, so that eventually, your press is full of flowers! You then have to be patient and leave it alone for about 6 months, so that the flowers have a chance to fully dry and stay stationary. (This part will be the hardest part for me, as I am not known for my patience and I know I’ll want to keep checking on them). This is what my finished press looked like. I may paint it on the top and bottom, and I glued down the washers at the corners to keep them from sliding around when I added more flowers.

Pressed Jackmani Clematis

It’s important to get the flowers early in the day, after the dew is off of them, but before the sun has had a chance to wilt them. Moisture is bad, because it can cause your pressed flowers to mold. The thicker the flower, usually the longer it will take for it to dry, but don’t be afraid to try them all! You never know!

As for the “Sunny Spinach Pie”, I got the recipe from here and it looked so lovely that I decided to try and make it. I thought it would be the perfect dish to bring to our get-together. I ended up making two. The first one was what my boyfriend delicately called a “Pinterest Fail” (I’ll leave it to you to Google that phrase). It didn’t look very good but it tasted fine. The second one, however, came out a lot better. It was a success at the workshop, too. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Sunny Spinach PieWorkshops like this are a good chance to get together with other creative individuals, share the ‘creative energy’, good times, and learn something new at the same time. If you have a passion for a certain type of creative project, why not consider making it into a workshop and inviting others to participate? 🙂

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

A Day of Renewal

April showers bring May flowers, and I’m so glad! 🙂 The rains wash away the dirt and dust, and the new plants and flowers burst forth with a clean, green scent and gorgeous palette of colors!

Chicago Peace Rose from my yard
Chicago Peace Rose from my yard

Spring is a well-known time for renewal, and I recently discovered that May 4th has been designated as “Renewal Day”. Webster’s defines the word “Renewal” as:

re·new·al

noun \ri-ˈnü-əl, –ˈnyü-\

: the act of extending the period of time when something is effective or valid : the act of renewing something.

: the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again : the state of being renewed.

This can apply to countless things in life, but it is definitely life-affirming. It’s an active process, not something that just passively happens. When you think of the word “renewal”, what comes to mind? Your driver’s license? Your wedding vows? The Oil of Olay skin care product? What about renewing yourself?

The author of the book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey, says of balanced self-renewal: “Renewal is the principle–and the process-that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.”

Image borrowed from http://www.holistic-mindbody-healing.com
Image borrowed from http://www.holistic-mindbody-healing.com

Three of the most important aspects of life that need renewing from time to time are related to self: body, mind and spirit. Like so many truths about life, there needs to be a balance of all three. Too often, we become conditioned to the routine of every day survival and forget that sense of wonder and passion we once held for life. People talk about finding your “inner child” again, and while that’s a good start, I mean the capacity to actually enjoy the life we’re given, each and every, single day. Because each day is a new chance to start over. We can renew ourselves every day!

It’s so easy to become inattentive. We neglect our bodies because we simply don’t have the time to exercise, eat right, etc., or we don’t pay attention to what we allow to enter our minds because we’re so tired that it’s just easier to veg-out. The spirit often suffers even more, unless it’s somehow made a regular part of every-day life.

  • When was the last time you felt completely at ease with and positive about your body?
  • When was the last time you were truly amazed by something or someone out in the world, or learned something new that fascinated you?
  • How about the last time that you honestly felt connected with the planet, the universe, the Divine?
Image borrowed from http://www.namaste.tv/blogs/blog/7619089-the-active-process-of-renewal.jpg
Image borrowed from http://www.namaste.tv/blogs/blog/7619089-the-active-process-of-renewal.jpg

All three (body, mind, spirit) are intricately joined, and balance between them is important. It can be hard to find the energy sometimes, to look for the things which replenish and renew us, but it’s necessary. If you’re not getting at least a little joy, happiness or even satisfaction out of life, then you’re not living, you’re existing. There’s a huge difference between the two.

So what is it that renews your body, mind and spirit? It’s different for each individual, of course, but a good place to start is to find something that evokes a positive feeling or emotion. What’s something that fuels your passion? What makes you smile? Sometimes it’s necessary to break out of your comfort zone, break out of your routine and try something new. Make a commitment to renewing yourself, even if it’s just part of you. You’ll be glad you did.

Energy and renewal

P.S. You don’t have to wait for an “official” designated “Day of Renewal” to do it. Every day you wake up is another chance to renew yourself. 😉

– Corina Ravenscraft

© 2014, essay and rose photograph, Corina Ravenscraft, All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Purple Crocus ~

(( I think we’re all more than ready for Spring, with the Polar Vortex and the frozen hell that has swept across so much of the country this winter. One of the first signs of Spring for me, that I look forward to every year, are the Crocuses. Side note: wonder why the plural of Crocus isn’t Crocusi? 😉 In any case, this is a poem I wrote many years ago upon seeing the first Crocus of the season. I really needed to see something wonderful that particular day, and Mother Nature didn’t disappoint.))

Image borrowed from naturewallpapers.org

A little, purple crocus,
Was the first sign of Spring, for me.
It poked its head up through the ground
And waited for me to see.
It knew purple was my favorite color,
And just wanted me to know,
It was sweet, like me,
And gave me a smile
When I was feeling low.
Bright orange, fuzzy stamens
Cupped inside the velvet flower,
Whispered that all was not lost,
That I was alive another hour
So I’d better make the most of it
Before the sun had flown.
To think a little, purple flower,
Could remind me

Of this simple truth,
I’ve known.
~ C.L.R. ~ ©

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Seek Out the Four Leaf Clovers ~

(( March comes along and we’re usually reminded of St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish. In keeping with that theme, here’s a poem that might make you think of four-leafed clovers a little differently the next time you see one. 😉 ))

Image borrowed from Wikimedia Commons
Image borrowed from Wikimedia Commons

I looked for luck today,
thinking I could use some.
My eyes, scanning, seeking,
green leaves of three.
Whole patches of clover,
beneath my soft shadow.
The masses huddled together,
covering, sheltering one another,
in a close-knit bunch.
Always only three leaves;
thousands of trinities, triads and trios.

Then I thought about you,
and there it was!
Magically appearing, as if summoned
by the image in my mind;
the perfect four-leaf clover!
It wasn’t obvious, like I expected.
Four, round, papery-thin leaves,
a dark Spring Green.
With creamy triangles
touching at the center.
All balanced on a slender, delicate stem.
Hidden in the midst of the ordinary.

And it reminded me of people:
Most are of the three-leaf variety,
but some,
some special ones,
grow differently,
with four leaves.
And sometimes, you have to search really hard to find them,
among the clusters of the mundane.

Like the symbols I compare them to,
they may bring you luck.
If you find them, cherish them;
press them in your memory book,
return to them when you need their magic.
Because sometimes, we all need a little luck.
~ © C.L.R. ~

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Soothsayer, You ~

((Shakespeare has had quite an influence on my life, from his poetry to his plays, to the point that not a March can come without me thinking of Caesar and the dreaded “Ides of March”. This came to me the other day as I was thinking about those Ides…I think all Muses must somehow be drawn to thoughts of The Bard…hahaha. Good, bad, I leave it up to the reader to decide. But the sentiment behind it is one I believe in 100%. Enjoy. 🙂 ))

Image borrowed from http://pkphotoshop.blogspot.com
Image borrowed from http://pkphotoshop.blogspot.com

Beware the Ides, and bitter tides of Life
That can catch you, drifting, unaware.
Beware whispered doubts and inner asides
That can make you feel
A restless need to compare.

“Energy flows where attention goes.”
I’ve heard it said, and choose to believe it.
You’re the only one who truly knows
What you want from life.
So go, my friend. Be bold, retrieve it.

Cast aside the toxic multitudes,
Stay clear of those who drag you down.
Beware of those with swiftly-shifting moods,
Like a riptide or current,
You can fall in, and drown.

Leave the negative Nellies to their nots.
Choose your path with purpose,
Sans rose-colored glasses.
Temper reality with positive thoughts;
Rise above the plastic, saccharine masses.

Know your strengths, believe in who you are.
Test limits, and accept that sometimes,
You’ll fail.
Self-confidence makes the journey less far,
Be your own soothsayer —
That’s how you’ll prevail.

~ © C.L.R. 2014 ~

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

The Packrat Gene and the Clutter Queen

((With the new year upon us, many will be thinking about “de-cluttering” their lives for a fresh, new start. Buddhism and Taoism teach us that all that “stuff” we acquire and become attached to is actually detrimental to our lives and our spiritual well-being. With that in mind, this is a piece I wrote a while ago regarding clutter and “stuff”. I find myself looking around my house and having the itch to ‘purge’ some more material belongings. I imagine others do, too…))
Packrat by Ursula Vernon

I’ve often wondered in life if there really is such a thing as a “Pack-Rat Gene”? Is a tendency toward hoarding or clutter an inherited trait? I have to wonder, because there are so many members of my family who seem to exhibit this tendency. Some are worse than others, and I am determined NOT to fall victim to it in my lifetime. I think part of it stemmed from the generation who survived the Great Depression, where consumer goods like aluminum foil were re-used and re-cycled because it saved money. I can still remember my grandmother washing out plastic sandwich bags (yes, and reusing foil, too, we’ve all heard about that) and hanging them on the faucet upside down to dry. In that sense, it could be considered “frugal” or “thrifty” and so if I do it, too, it’s partially because of that, but also a small attempt at being environmentally conscious regarding plastic, etc.

I know that another part of it has to do with “creativity”. I think it was Einstein who said “Clutter is a sign of genius.” (*pauses to look that up*) Yup. It was him. I’ve also heard that it’s a sign of creativity, and I have close family members who take this to heart. But there’s a difference between the “clutter” of someone who is actively working on something, and “clutter” of someone who is storing anything and everything which might be useful “at some nebulous, unknown point in the future, for some just as unclear and unknown project in the future”. There’s a difference, and therein lies the secret, I think.

There is a point, and I think it’s different for everyone, where it becomes “hoarding” behavior. Like going to the store and stocking up on something you like because it’s on sale…but then going back again for the limit when it’s on sale again, even though you may already have enough to last you and your future generations through WWIII. I think there is a fear of “running out” or not having enough. I don’t do this, but I’m related to people who have and do. And I don’t WANT all that “stuff”. Perishable or not, I don’t want to clutter my living environment with “stuff”.

And it’s really ALL just “stuff”, you know. We can’t take ANY of it with us when we check out. Empty space has a tendency to fill. It’s like a Natural Law or something, and if it’s not, then it should be, because you know it’s true! The question is, is it “stuff” you’ll be using now or soon? We may not even BE here to use it tomorrow, so why keep it if you’re not using it? My dad always taught me it’s “better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it,” and to some extent, that’s a wise philosophy. It speaks of being prepared and anticipating future problems and solutions ahead of time.

BUT…there IS something very true about Feng Shui and the “less is more”, minimalist viewpoint. Clutter and hoarding speak volumes about what’s going on inside of a person – a person’s living environment can be very telling about their inner emotional and mental states. The two are tied together, and I think that cleaning up one can affect and help clean up the other (inside vs. outside or vice versa). Balance and order in one area can guide a person to both in the other area.

In an attempt to keep from becoming a “Clutter Queen”, I try to keep in mind a few things:

1) Can I or will I (realistically and actually) use something today or tomorrow? If so, how and for what? Unfortunately, my ‘skinny clothes’ probably fall into this category – I MAY end up at that smaller size again, but I sure can’t fit into them now, and they are taking up a lot of space in the closet and chest. Hmmm….

2) How does having something enhance who I am or benefit my life NOW, TODAY? Do I need it? <—Important note: there are sometimes when just having the peace of mind knowing I have something in case of an emergency (like extra oil for the car, for example) is worth having to store it.

3) Do I have the space for it? Keeping in mind that empty space will fill, do I really want to fill that empty space with this particular thing?

4) How does it affect my environment? Does it clutter or add to my ‘living space’ in a positive way?

5) If I bring in something ‘new’, I have to get rid of something ‘old’ to make room for it – it’s about keeping the balance/flow of what I want around me. If I REALLY WANT or NEED that ‘new’ thing, then there should be something ‘old’ that I can move out to make room for it.

So what about you? How do you handle the clutter in your life? Is it true that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Do you think there’s a Pack Rat gene? Or is it more nurture instead of nature (i.e. environmental upbringing instead of inherited traits)?

Thanks for reading. 🙂 Comments are welcome and appreciated!

– Corina Ravenscraft

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.