Sustainable Bonanza

November 7, 2016

Autumn’s Gold

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Kirsten @ 10:48AM

This is my love letter to autumn.

Dear Autumn,

As I was driving the other day I was struck by your beauty.  I confess that while I’ve always found you beautiful and necessary, I also often think of you as being the death foretold as it relate to the coming winter. But this day as your colors shimmered across the nearby hills I realized that you are not only the harbinger of death, but the precursor of a necessary dormancy; the time to go internally in order to nourish inner seeds. (more…)

October 31, 2016

Blending in.

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , , — Kirsten @ 9:49AM

When I was heading out to North Dakota I stopped near Fargo at an outdoor gear place.  I was thinking about picking up a few things that I’d need for being at Standing Rock for two or three weeks (a machete, water purification tablets, a bladder for carrying water around, etc.) but I was also curious to see if I noticed something that I otherwise didn’t know I needed.  (This is a horrible idea for me to do.  I’m am notoriously a gear head and LOVE to pick up new things to make my outdoor experience more seamless and lightweight.) (more…)

October 29, 2016

Buried Treasure

This year Halloween falls the day after a new moon: the darkest point of the month and the prime time to set intentions to root down into the Earth new intentions for transformation.  What a perfect time to bury a golden treasure!

The treasure I chose to bury has a lot to do with one of my pastimes, herbal medicine, although it is more akin to the Hippocrates quote ‘Let food be thy medicine.’  Have you guessed yet?   (more…)

October 27, 2016

Open Access Week: Editing Wikipedia

I invited by Madeliene Charney to join in on an event at UMASS Amherst to celebrate Open Access Week by bringing together members of the community to edit Wikipedia.  The community was editing and writing articled related to the #NoDAPL protests going on at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.  Being as I’ve just recently returned from the site I elected to use my knowledge to aid in the effort. (more…)

October 26, 2016

Getting in the (Gardening) Zone


Every year sometime between when the sap starts to flow, or before, and when the first tree leaves have burst from their buds to encase the natural world in a layer of pollen and chartreuse leaflets I begin to feel the stirring in my blood.  It must be the same inner sense that tells the skunk cabbage to start blossoming, emitting massive amounts of heat and becoming the first food available  to bears as they come out of hibernation because it certainly isn’t the temperature or a massive amount of daylight.  The days are getting longer its true, but that isn’t what makes me reach for the box of seeds stored for the long winter in the basement. (more…)

October 23, 2016

Networking Nightmares

Networking Nightmares and how to solve them.

For someone like me who loves to get out and meet people the idea of networking can still be a nightmare.  Don’t get me wrong.  I find the idea of going out and connecting with new people several times per week exhilarating – as most extroverts do –  but despite the enjoyment I derive there is still something in my systems thinking heart that cringes.  The nightmare is twofold.  First that we think that getting together over drinks is going to help us make deep connections when often people split into groups they already know or breeze through as many conversations as possible to ‘do their job’ for the night.  Second the idea that surface level conversation can possibly develop a relationship that can challenge the deep issues in our society is simply incorrect. (more…)

April 21, 2014

Change is the Norm

Filed under: General — Kirsten @ 3:45PM

I was reading a blog on The Sacred Science website and it got me thinking about resistance to change.  Just as we can not stop the night from following the day, we cannot deny the coming of change from our lives and to try to do so is only going to induce stress.

Change is normal in every day of our lives.  We wash our bodies, change our clothing, finish containers of food in the house…  On a more global scale the sun rises and sets, seasons come and go.  Days give way to weeks, week to months, and months to years…

Seasonal change the type of nourishment that is available from the land.  As years pass our knowledge grows and our lives take on different forms.  Part of the meaning of being alive is to embrace these changes with comfort.

While worry about change can cause feelings of tightness and stress, reframe those changes as inevitable and instead look forward to the changes that come with time.

I was watching After Earth with Eli and the father (Will Smith) was speaking to his son about the moment he stopped being afraid.  It was while the monster that sees through the smell of fear had impaled him and he was fearful about dying.  And then it just changed.  He no longer cared.  There is great freedom in releasing fear.

“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” This quote from Confucius reminds us that our flexibility in thought and action are what keep us alive in times of change.

Additionally the women of Port-au-Prince, Haiti have a song that I heard them singing to each other after the earthquake.  The gist of the song was that the women of Haiti are strong in hurricanes; they hold on with their roots and bend when the rain and winds come like a (local tree whose name I don’t remember.)  You get the point.  Dig your roots deep and be solid in who you are, but flexible in that face of anything that comes your way.

The moral of the story is: Embrace change.  It happens.

April 19, 2014

Theme vs. Mechanics

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — admin @ 9:29AM

When I’m thinking about Game Design there are two elements that I’m trying to use in order to make my point, Theme and Mechanics. (For those of you that don’t know, I design games to explain the complicated systems that are involved with aspects of sustainability.)

Theme

While there are games out there that are abstract, or have a specific storyline, more often you are going to find that games have a theme.   In Ticket to Ride you are competing to build train routes, Agricola deals with farmers & resource management, and  Battlestar Gallactica deals with… well it follows the plot.

When playing a game that deals with a particular topic you are doing the education through the story or the theme to get your point across.

The other option is to make the mechanic do the teaching.  For example, in a game where I’m trying to teach about recycling I would have an interaction in the game that gave a benefit to recycling.  It wouldn’t have to be called recycling or even have that topic at all, but simple by gaining benefit over and over for that type of action players would become better recyclers.

Habits are practiced actions which is why games are so good at teaching.  If you repeat something over and over again you are more likely to hold on to that habit.  People seek new behaviors in life regularly for purposes such as diet, exercise, et cetera and over the past 10 years we’ve seen a great influx of games for purposes other than just the sake of play.  Gamification of the online portal or website is also on the upswing as the internet becomes crowded and companies are seeking to create a draw to their sites.

The games that I’m working on are didactic because of this.  Having the desire to change is only part of the equation.  Going green means a shift in actions many of which are lifelong ingrained habits.  Those habits worked for us up until now, but with the world on the precipice of wide scale extinction we need to shift into high gear.  So how do you eradicate habits that aren’t good for you?

So when I’m choosing to build a tool and I have to decide between theme or mechanic it really depends on the nuance tat I’m going for.  Am I trying to make someone think about the topic?  Then it’s the theme.  If I’m trying to ingrain a shift in habit?  Then it is mechanic, for sure.

April 18, 2014

The Common Experience of Being Unique

Filed under: General — Kirsten @ 2:20PM

I got my eyebrow pierced.  I know, I’m 35.  Going on 36 this summer.  What’s the point of piercing my eyebrow?  Isn’t that a childish things to do?  I don’t think so.

Well there’s more to it for me.  I got my bellybutton pierced in college.

I was encouraged by my family to not allow my differences to be visible.  I was teased in junior high for being normal – perhaps that was my cue to let it all hang out.  I thought I did.  But apparently it wasn’t enough.

Triskele - Triple Spiral

I have a tattoo. It looks like this.

I’m planning on getting more.  Tattoos.  I’m ok with my body being a living canvas.  I don’t need it in other people’s faces, but at the same time I’m realizing I’ve kept these things hidden so that they aren’t visible to others.  And in effect they are hidden.  But like so many things having piercings is not unique; there are many people who have them.  There are cultures around the world where this is a norm as well.  But it is not a norm for everyone.  You see in order to embrace our sameness we don’t all have to go out and get holes poked in our bodies.  It just is nice to make sure it is right for you if you are going to do it.

I mean, really, those with piercings pay for the pleasure of being poked with a needle, and then have to be fastidious about the way we handle that part of our body for an extended period of time – potentially up to 6 months.  Think about that the next time you think someone with a piercing or tattoo is dirty.

But it is more than what I do to my body.  This common uniqueness is visible in people whose names are spelled differently than the norm, who choose to dress in a style that in not mainstream.  But back to my point.  Everything is mainstream.  Music, like other art forms are created from the styles, concepts and ideals that came before.  They are flexible in their interpretation and often multiple genres exist at the same time.  Next time you look at a piece of Impressionist art try thinking about how messy it is and you might find yourself resisting.

Imperfection can be beautiful.  Most art forms and styles were odd, and even completely different than what came before them.  It takes looking at something with an open mind, one willing to see that everything as potential, in oder to look for the beauty outside the norm.  Which brings me back to my point:  being different is normal.  How is it possible to have a commonness of unique?

The human desire to be the same is tied to our universal consciousness.  But Mother Nature never intended that we would all look the same and act the same.  This runs directly opposed to the need for uniqueness and diversity required to maintain a complex system.  We need to celebrate that which makes us difference and give in to the biological yearning for sameness by remembering and connecting to the universal consciousness and being our true selves in all their different glory.

April 5, 2014

Goodbye false friend

Filed under: General — Kirsten @ 11:19AM

Dear Internet, we’re through.  I keep leaving just to find my self back in the same old ruts.  Online all day communicating and not having as much time as I’d like to meet people in my area, or see them in person.

The face to face time is what feeds me.  Its the nuanced expression that you get in that look of joy that will never be able to be communicated through a computer (unless of course the wiring goes straight into your brain.)   It’s the nurturing feeling of connecting deeply with a friend over lunch, or a tea, or just going for a walk in the woods.  I want more of that.  Much more than I get.

So I’m going to try again to lead the life I choose.  The one that makes me feel like I’m walking rightly on the Earth.  I’m breaking up with Facebook, LinkedIn, and removing myself in any other ways I can think of that I can think of from this virtual world which has so much to offer my mind, and so little to offer my heart.  I’m going to start finding my cute baby animals in nature.  I’m going to find my love stories from meeting strangers in long lines and spending time looking deeply into the eyes of those around me.

While I don’t think I can entirely get rid of the internet entirely since many jobs that I could choose to do are likely to require my participation, I’m not going to let this Matrix control my day to day world in the way that I see as having been normalized in today’s American culture.

So this is it.  Goodbye.  If you as a reader have enjoyed my writing I’ll probably start putting my thoughts into book from from this point on so my perspective will not be lost it will just take another form.

P.S. Yes, I appreciate the irony of posting this to my blog, but it seems appropriate.

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