Your Weekend Sensual

June 23, 2012

This past March I saw Fuerza Bruta in New York City. They are hard to describe really: a dynamic dance performance group doesn’t really say it. It’s one of those things you simply have to experience. But I’ll tell you this: it involves several elements, including wind, blood, sweat and tears. Doesn’t sound appealing?

Maybe Usher’s rendition of “Scream” that he recently performed at the Fuerza Bruta show will help you along. It’s hot. Sensual. And partly underwater.

Curious? Give Scream a try. Happy Weekend Sensual, all!

Listen

June 20, 2012

In my book author meanderings, I have met some incredible people: Dick Bolles, the author of the legendary What Color is Your Parachute, Louise Hay, author and publisher of Hay House; yes, I even met Oprah’s man friend, Stedman once as he released a new book at America’s largest book fair, Book Expo America.

For me, visiting a bookstore is like seeing old friends again. Wherever I go, I pop into one just to say ‘Hi!’ Inevitably, I will know one or two people on the shelf.

Reading is a special kind of listening. You take it in through your eyes, but if the book is written from the heart, you receive it through yours as well. Such is the book Listen by Lynn A. Robinson. Her prose has a gentle, lilting cadence that teaches you to trust your inner voice in times of trouble. I’ve talked about your inner GPS in prior posts, but listen to what Lynn says about it:

Some of us fear our inner guidance because it often leads us to something scary or outside our comfort zone. Viewed a different way, however, it can also lead us to new cycles of learning, growth, and spiritual wisdom. The discomfort or confusion you feel is actually your intuition directing you to make choices in your life that will allow you to break free (page 114).

Are you ready for some of that? Liberation is indeed a good thing. It may require some awkward steps forward. You do remember learning how to walk, right? A little crashing on your derrière is inevitable. But if you go slowly, it won’t hurt that badly. Promise!

In the fabulous words of chanteuse Zaz from France: Allons ensemble découvrir ma liberté. (Let’s discover my liberty together).

It starts with the small, still voice within. What is it saying to you?

The Energy of Slow Food

June 15, 2012

When you live life with an open heart of compassion and love, the most amazing thing happens. You start to resonate with people on a level you may not have thought possible.

Take my recent visit to the butcher shop as an example. As I watched the sales lady slice the ham, I was enthralled by her loving hands. You could simply tell she respected her work and the products she delivered. Slow food at its best! It made not only for a great shopping experience, but for a great ham sandwich afterward!

Food is energy, like anything else. If you have seen the movie Like Water for Chocolate based on a Mexican novel by Laura Esquivel about a young woman who passes her love (and other emotions) on through her cooking, then you will know how much food can affect a person.  It’s not only the quality, but also the intention that is passed on through it.

For a fun Friday treat, enjoy watching one of the best clips of the movie. It puts mindful eating into a whole new light. Yum.

The Cannes Film Festival is a great place to meet and greet just about every mover and shaker in the film industry that you can imagine. For four days I tumbled about with the rest of the throngs, looking to connect with new people, get good story ideas and basically lift myself off the carpet to see the Big Picture for a long weekend.

It was inspiring.

Films in the competition were voted on; other films were shown in hopes buyers would come to distribute them. Like any trade show, it was a 24/7 event. You saw more people at 2 a.m., walking about the place, than you normally do at mid-day on the streets of most hometowns.

Winning a competition has different meanings for different people. For some, simply being there was a win of a lifetime (I count myself in that category). For others, they wanted to win the Golden Palm award so their stakes were set higher. For others they simply wanted to win a few new business cards and enjoy seeing old friends.

When I think of competition, such as the Olympic Games in London this summer, there are different degrees of winning there as well. Bryan Clay, who is  most likely competing in the Olympic decatholon this July, just penned a book called REDEMPTION. It just arrived in the mail today, but from what I see, winning to him means enjoying his family life.

I love that.

I too would like to win at the Olympics this year. But a different kind of win: as a blogger. If you are so inclined, please visit this 30 second video and click on the blue bar “unterstützen” (German for “support”) to help me make my way to an Olympic dream as a citizen journalist bringing positive stories to the world.

Erica Chase, the talented young singer-songwriter (“We Can Fly”) was an English major at Pitzer College in Claremont, California when she met multiplatinum producer, Dana Strum (Slaughter bassist) . Through connections her father’s business partner made in Las Vegas, Erica met Dana on February 1, 2006. That date will forever burn in her memory, not only because of the amazingness of the moment, but because of what happened the very next day. Riding on her bicycle on the way to meet a friend for lunch, she was slammed up against a truck windshield, flying through the air and onto the ground. She awoke in a helicopter with a mask over her face.

“I will never forget that day for as long as I live,” she told me in a recent phone interview. While she had dabbled in songwriting as a high school jock growing up sandwiched between two brothers, she hadn’t realized how much her dream to become a rock star outweighed her upper-middle class upbringing of doing the smart thing such as becoming an educator. “I was on my way to Seattle to become a teacher,” she revealed. But after her accident, from which she miraculously walked away with minor injuries, she realized how short life could be. It was time to take the bull by the horns and live out the secret dream she truly harbored.

What fascinated me most about our conversation was the feeling she had when she met Dana Strum. “I knew something big was about to happen,” Erica said. She didn’t know what that was, but she knew she was on the edge of something indescribable. It was a heavy energy that can be equated to the onset of depression, a significant weightiness that one simply cannot ignore. The very next day, as she was flown to the hospital, she knew she couldn’t live without music. “It was my wake-up call.”

The life of a rock star is an irregular one, not necessarily what one thinks of when one thinks of slow living. But late nights and loads of travel don’t phase this twenty-something artist. One of her big dreams now is to do a multiple city tour via bus.

When I asked whether she was worried she might burn out, she revealed an inner truth that I share. Like myself, who simply cannot live without writing, she cannot live without music. It is so deeply entrenched in her soul that to live any other way would mean certain death. In true power of slow style, she is living her life on purpose. It took a severe knock-down to put her on the right track, but luckily she chose to listen to the message right away. As a result, we get to profit from her stellar Sheryl Crowe-meets-Beatles sound. Now that’s a track we like to hear!

 

When We Go for the Gold

April 25, 2012

Living on purpose is a big topic here on the Power of Slow blog. What better way to exhibit your enthusiasm for life than by going for the gold? Literally. As in the Olympics. Or figuratively, as in blogging about the same?

The folks promoting the Samsung Global Blogger competition approached me as they liked this blog and thought maybe others would be equally interested in reports from the trenches during the London Summer Games. So I put together a 30-second audition video as a candidate in the blogger competition.

If you want to actually view it, vote for it, pin it, like it or tweet it, you can do so here.

To vote, you can either:

1) Register at Zoopa.com (follow the steps)

2) Log-in using your Facebook details (follow the steps to ad the zoopa app).

Once logged in (either way), note the sliding bar on the right. 5 is the best; 1 is the worst, then click ‘vote’.

Either way, please view the video as every pair of eyes counts! Imagine taking the Power of Slow to the Summer Games? It would be my honor!

Happy Earth Day!

Did you know you are what you wear? When it comes to eco-friendly fashion, it’s true!

Wearing an organic t-shirt makes me feel, I don’t know, more noble. It’s a different kind of fashion statement to care about how your clothes got made – and by whom. With reports about child labor and terrible working conditions in Third World textile factories, fashion becomes political. But it’s more than just about how you look, but also about how you feel and what impact you have made on donning garb made by undernourished people stifled in heat-filled rooms with air stuffed with fabric particles.

Slow Fashion, otherwise known as eco-fashion, made a nice showing at the Eco Fashion Week in Vancouver April 10-12. So it only seemed appropriate to chat with an up and coming fashionista herself, Jaimie Hilfiger, about where fashion is headed. Curious about her perspective as the 24-year-old niece of Tommy Hilfiger, I plied her with questions about eco-friendly fashion. What I discovered was astounding.

Photo Courtesy of Chiaroscuro Fotografia

Did you know there was such a thing as the Green Carpet Challenge, spearheaded by Collin Firth’s wife, Livia? At Red Carpet events such as the Oscars, Livia Firth suggests that people show off their eco-friendly apparel. Now how come I never heard about that before? As folks fawn over the latest designer, why were TV hosts mum about an amazing trend coming straight from Hollywood? Did you know, for instance, that Meryl Streep wore a gown to the Academy Awards that was made out of reusable materials? And we’re not talking iron for the lady. It’s an impressive trend few people seem to be talking about.  The effort has a Facebook page with a paltry 200+ fans. So please go there (after reading this post) and ‘like’ it. This campaign deserves more attention.

Jaimie mentioned her admiration for Stella McCarthy who refuses to use any leather or animal fur, for instance. Many of you may know Pamela Anderson would rather go naked than wear such things (well, sometimes one might think she’d just rather be naked anyway). As an environmentalists and thoughtful designer, Stella McCarthy has brought out lines with natural and renewable materials that have caught the eye of Madonna, Gywneth and Kate (Winslet). Shoes without leather? Think straw and cloth.

Another cool brand that Jaimie mentioned is the Urban Renewal Brand, an affordable line found in Urban Outfitters stores. She is also coming out with her own line of high-end leisurewear, so-called transitional clothing between work and bedtime.

“It’s torture that at present we women only have a choice between skinny jeans and those reindeer-printed PJs bottoms,” I commented, then breathed a sigh of relief into the phone when she revealed her plans to make comfortwear fashionable.

We talked some about beauty products and the importance of avoiding all petroleum ingredients. Not only is it bad for the Earth, but it’s murder on your pores too. I was impressed with Jaimie’s direction and commitment. In true power of slow style, she feels a sense of purpose to change the world as a role model in the area of eco-friendly living.

“It is our responsibility to take care of the Earth,” she told me.

Slow Fashion is not just the latest trend. It’s a sustainable one. So take that shoe and wear it. Tread lightly on the Earth and remember: if you feel good in what you’re wearing that also makes the Earth feel good, it’ll show.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics issues an annual report called the American Time Use Survey that relies on self-reporting from a pool of respondents as to where all their time goes.

Compared to 2007, we are now reading even less, watching more TV and playing more video games.

US Leisure Time 2007

And now? Although we have even more leisure time than ever, we read less and play video games more. What will do you do with your time?

US Leisure Time 2010

On Following Your Dreams

March 23, 2012

Kevin Clash, a young African-American puppeteer growing up in the 1970s, didn’t let the obstacles of poverty stand in the way of his dream to work with Jim Henson. His passion for bringing characters to life can be seen in everything he does. You may not know Kevin’s name, but you do know the embodiment of him: Elmo.

In a new documentary about Kevin’s life, Being Elmo is a moving tribute to the human spirit. As we the viewers watch Kevin’s journey unfold, we are able to relate to the obstacles that life affords us all. In Kevin’s case, he didn’t listen to the naysayers. He had one vision: to work on Sesame Street. Lucky for us, his dream came true. But also at a personal cost.

Meeting the demands of being Elmo is not always easy, and Kevin spent most of his time away from his family to make millions of other kids happy. At one point in the documentary, we are shown a scene from his daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party. He gets several celebrities to wish his daughter, Shannon, a happy birthday on film. We watch as he sheds a tear or two and we are confronted with his sense of loss at the years he wasn’t there for her. For a brief moment in time, we are invited into the fantasy world of puppetry and the sacrifice of being in such demand. It is an incredibly moving film that the entire family can enjoy. I highly recommend it!

Ever since I was a kid, lying feverishly on the couch watching episodes of the Price is Right during a mid-week cold, I’ve wanted to be on a game show. Just once. To stand behind the glittery podium, hopping up and down with my name tag flapping to the beat of my own excitement.

Call me crazy, but it’s really been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.

Today I’m going to a casting for a quiz show. It took a bit of effort to get my team of three together. One team member is coming as far as four hours away by train. A complete stranger who is staying at my house so we can earn the chance to stand tall in the contestant’s circle.  Another is a good actor friend of mine who said she’d do it if I do it. Our other friend didn’t get casted for it so we aren’t hopeful we will be either.

But who cares, you know? The question isn’t why we are doing it. We simply are. And that’s enough.

Oftentimes we overanalyze things, press ourselves for answers, demand a rational response to a feeling, an intuition, an inner voice whisper. There is no why. It just is.

It’s a liberating thought to accept our impulses as equally worthy of our attention as a carefully thought-out plan. We needn’t control every last detail of our day. Sometimes allowing for the unfolding of things is what is necessary. And it takes courage to let go and let be and let live.

Place yourself in a situation in which you needn’t ask why. Allow the answer to be “Just Because”. How does it feel?