Monday, November 26, 2012
This past Sunday I had the pleasure of attending a showing of the movie Thrive. It seems to fit in well with my overall life philosophy. I don't necesarrily believe everything that the movie promotes, but I do like the idea of the lifestyle that the movie promotes. That is, actions an individual can take to THRIVE. The movie encourages individuals to bank only at local banks such as credit unions, buy locally and engage in healthy eating habits which includes organic non-GMO foods. These are steps I have already taken and am already taking the next step which is to grow my own food. I believe in supporting local small businesses and try to avoid giving my dollars to big business.
I also believe in self sufficiency which is why I teach classes on how to live a self empowered lifestyle. I don't want to have to rely on anyone in times of crisis so I make sure that I am prepared and have the knowledge to take care of myself. I don't ever want to be one of those people who cries for someone to help them in times of crisis. Towards this end I have gained knowledge and teach skills in:
Plants for medicinal purposes
Outdoor Thriving Skills
Creating homemade beauty products
Basic First Aid Skills
Creating an emergency plan and backpack (typically called a To-Go Bag)
Knowledge of how to create a homemade water filtering system
I am curious to know what else people believe anyone should know about in the quest for a self sufficient empowered lifestyle. My next phase is to become energy independent. Some call this "living off the grid". This seems to be the hardest or at least most expensive form of self sufficiency. Does anyone out there have any ideas on how to achieve this in an affordable manner?
Saturday, November 24, 2012
On Thanksgiving morning, well over 400 people met at St. Francis in Milwaukee to put together over 4000 meals for seniors living in low income housing. We were placed in an efficient assembly line to cook, box and deliver the meals. The amount of planning that goes into coordinating this event was staggering and flawless. The age range of volunteers was from as young as eight to as old as ninety. The atmosphere was jovial yet every person there was putting 100% effort into what they were doing so that over 4000 seniors would have a hot meal and a little companionship on Thanksgiving. Volunteers drove right to the seniors' doors so they don't have to travel to get a meal during cold weather. I was thankful to be apart of such an incredible effort and on going program. We will gather again at Christmas time and Easter to try to lesson stress, lonliness and depression for seniors during those times. This is the type of community effort that brings out the very best in people. To find out more about this wonderful program, go to : http://cpforseniors.org/programs
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
For those looking to save money (who isn't?), joining a Time Bank can be a great way to accomplish that. Those of us who live in the city of Milwaukee are very lucky because we have a well developed time bank we can draw on. The concept of a Time Bank is very simple. You offer your services (such as dog walking, cutting hair, carpentry work, driving someone to an appointment, helping someone move...etc.) and you gain hours or time that you can then draw on to get services that you need. For instance, let's say you need help creating a brochure for a new business venture you are embarking on. There is someone in the Time Bank that advertising that they offer marketing/brochure designing services. You contact that person through email or phone to set up a time to meet. Let's say the brochure took a totol of three hours to create. You both record the exchange in the Time Bank. You have used up three hours and the brochure creator has banked three hours which he/she can then use later on for services he/she may need. The brochure might have cost an average of $45 per hour so you saved yourself $135 by using the Time Bank!
The services offered and used are extremely diverse and only limited to an individua'ls creativity. I recently used the Time Bank to help me with a dent in the side of my car. There happened to be a woman in the Time Bank who had just purchased the suctioning tool to pull dents out of cars. When you start to think of all the skills and knowledge that are available in the Time Bank, you begin to see the world through a filter of cost savings and relationship building opportunities. Another great part of the Time Bank is the monthly potluck meetings/orientations that take place in different parts of the city. Last month there was one held in Bay View. This meeting was attended by over twenty individuals including a local aldermann who was so impressed by the concept, that he joined himself and offered up fitness coaching as one of his services. Potlucks are a great way to meet the people you will later be exchanging services with not to mention great food!
To find out more about the Milwaukee Time Bank, go here http://milwaukee.timebanks.org/welcome
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
Plantain is a plant that grows everywhere in Wisconsin. You can find it in driveways, alongside railroad tracks and bike trails....pretty much anywhere in a sandy soil or areas that are frequently mowed. My hunt for healing plants kept leading me back to this plant that I have been familiar with my whole life yet never appreciated what it can do. Knowing now the healing powers this plant posesses, I can't stop looking for it or collecting it wherever I find it in clean, chemical free environments.
The young leaves are edible and can be added raw to a salad. To be honest, you'll know when you hit a plantain leaf but the taste isn't all that bad. The seeds, leaves and root can all be dried and taken as a tea. Now let's get the the healing properties....
Recently a friend of mine had a piece of something imbedded in her thumb. The area become swollen and red as well as quite painful. We mashed up the plantain and added water to create a poultice and put it on the area. Within 24 hours, whatever had been lodged in the thumb was pulled out and the sore had started to dry up and heal over. Nothing sort of miraculous!
The history of this plant's medicinal properties go as far back as the 1500's when it was considered a cure for a huge variety of maladies. It was used as a treatment for dog bits, ulcers, ringworm, jaundice, epilepy, liver obstruction and hemorrhoids! Oh, yes, and it possesses allanton, a proven wound healing chemical that speeds up cell regeneration and has skin softening effects. This quality is what prompted me to add it to the list of must haves in my medical kit. The plantain can be added to a simple salve to maintain its healing qualities for a longer period of time.
To make a plantain salve, simply harvest the leaves, let dry and add them to a jar and fill the jar with olive oil. Leave it in the sun for a couple of weeks. The oil will turn a deep green as it draws out the healing oils of the plant. Strain out the leaves until just the olive oil remains. Simply add melted beeswax to the warmed infused oil over low heat until they are uniformly combined and pour into your salve container. Everyone should keep one with their first aid kit!