Simple Green Me

Cultural reporter for KUTV 2News and adjunct yoga/meditation professor blogs about wellness, green living, downsizing, simplifying, better travel✨and more. Offering mindfulness, meditation, goal-setting and decluttering coaching!


Leave a comment

4 Easy Steps to Vote Mindfully 

How to vote mindfully All sources agree, that it’s been a particularly divisive election season. My neighbor, a little old lady – a Christian – sort of captured the current climate when she said, “I can’t in good conscious vote for either one of them!” Indecision, unfortunately, is not an option if we want to create a future we feel good about. So, here are some tips for ensuring peace of mind after you send in your ballot.

Before you do anything, visit mindfulVOTE to see what other conscious people are talking about regarding this election. Then…

Step 1 – What are your needs? Write down what you need from your government to make life better. Do you need clean air/water? More affordable housing/healthcare? More job opportunities? Student loan relief? Do you worry about those in need, and want them to have resources? Racism? Having access to certain herbs or medical procedures? Take some time to reflect. Look into your heart; are you being mindful with your needs? See step 3 to make sure you’re acting with mindful ethics. Some wisdom to keep in mind, from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet:

“The righteous is not innocent of the deeds of the wicked…like a procession you walk together toward your God-self.”

“For the master spirit of the earth shall not sleep peacefully upon the wind till the needs of the least of you are met.”

Step 2 – Don’t vote blindly. Now that you know your needs, gather information. Get to know what’s on the ballot. Check your local news site and government (state, county and city) sites for updates, as well as online  resources such as Ballotpedia.org and vote411.org. And new this year, a Google search will give you accurate election info. TechCrunch.com reports: “Web users who search for a query like ‘who’s on my ballot,’ will now be presented with detailed information about the candidates, as well as information on your own state’s referenda.” 

You can also find an organization or publication that aligns with your beliefs and see who/what they’ve endorsed. For example, if you care about the environment, check this endorsement list of approved candidates from The Sierra Club. Or if you’re about women’s rights, here are choices from the Utah Women’s Voter League. It takes less time than you think to get an idea of which candidates and propositions align with your needs. **dont forget to study your local candidates and issues! Local elections arguably have a greater impact on your daily life than federal. 

Step 3 – Review whether or not a candidate acts with mindful principles. Being mindful isn’t just about being in the present moment. There are ethics associated with mindfulness. In the Buddhist tradition, there are the 4 brahmaviharas, or states of emotion one strives to cultivate. They are: Metta (Loving-kindness); Karuna (Compassion); Mudita (Joy with others – being happy for their success); Upekkha (Equanimity – nonjudgement and non-reactivity). Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh gives an example of the type of conduct conducive to a mindful life: 

“I am determined not to kill, or to condone any act of killing…I am committed to cultivating loving-kindness and learning ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants and minerals. I am committed to practicing generosity by sharing my time, energy and material resources with those who are in real need.”

You may not have a “perfect” mindful candidate who follows all of these standards. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a politician who has never lied to save face, or never voted on the wrong side of an issue. As a mindful person, we are also asked to be forgiving (the concept of nonself says we need to love others as we love ourselves, because we are one) and take a look at that person as a whole. Are they apologetic? Compassionate? Connected to authentic causes? Try to see the big picture with a candidate before writing them off. There are dealbreakers: treating people without dignity, acting with blatant disregard for others and our environment, nonlistening. These traits show a deep suffering and unconsciousness, with which right leadership will not be possible. 

Lastly, meditate. Election prep is important but even more important is that you continue your mindfulness and meditation practice. My teacher Deepak Chopra says it’s the best thing you can do for world peace. Just imagine if everyone was mindful; if we all cultivated the brahmaviharas; acted with nonself. A peaceful world is possible, as you’ve witnessed by creating a peaceful environment within yourself. 

So namaste, and may you cast a mindful vote. 

As always, I’m here to help if you’d like some one-on-one meditation and mindfulness guidance. 


Leave a comment

Visual Meditation: Moving Mandalas

Moving mandalas make wonderful meditations
Visual meditations such as moving mandalas are wonderful for those who have a hard time with closed-eye (inward) meditation. They give the eyes some stimulation while allowing your mind to quiet. Some of my students have also enjoyed the “trippy” nature of these mandalas. Watch this one if you’d like to try it – and who knows? You may start to see some interesting images as your mind gets more and more elevated to a higher plane. 

http://youtu.be/9J7qktCaUUA


Leave a comment

Yoga and meditation during your menstrual cycle 

 In some areas of the world, women who are on their period are shown gestures of respect. This NPR article details a tribe in Ghana who treats its menstruating women as queens, sitting them under an umbrella and lavishing them with gifts. I had a student tell me about a Native American tribe that acted similarly, allowing women reprieve from any duties whilst doting on them in their special teepee while on their “moon” (as menstruation can be considered our internal “tide” and is anecdotally linked to the lunar cycle). I certainly don’t need these gestures, but the fact that women earn generally less than men while having more expenses – like feminine products and the “tampon tax” – doesn’t make that time of the month any easier. 

Let’s also mention how low-income assistance programs SNAP and WIC don’t cover a necessity like feminine products. Most prisons don’t even provide them, forcing some inmates to use unhealthy options that make them sick. 

Then, there’s the dismissal of our emotions as “hormonal,” instead of, “women are human beings who have thoughts and emotions that are valid, even if she’s mentruating” – or pregnant, for that matter. And last but perhaps most importantly, our stigma as “unclean” or the reaction of “gross!” if our period ever comes up in society. 

While it’s Not easy to be a menstruating woman in America and much of the world, I have found a few tricks to managing the discomfort of our cycle. 

1. THINX period underwear

You know how much money we spend on feminine products during our menstruating life? This HuffPo article calculates more than $2,000! So when these revolutionary, dry-technology “period underwear” came out – at just about $30 a pair – I jumped at the chance to save money (and the hassle of buying/changing fem products and trying to save my underwear from leaks). Now, I wear my undies without discomfort, wetness or fear of leaks! It feels too good to be true, but I tested them, and they work. My two pairs get me through my whole period – just throwing them in the washer at night. 

Another reason to love this (woman-run) company, is the fact that proceeds go to give dignity to underprivileged, menstruating women across the world. Their site says the company started after a girl in a third-world country told the CEO she misses school for a week every month because leaves and old rags don’t stop her period from leaking. So, yeah, a great cause to go along with a life-changing product. I’m not even scared of my next period.

2. These Yoga Poses

Reverse plank – sometimes the fatigue and possible food cravings leave us feeling powerless. Realize your strength with a pose that engages nearly all muscles in your body, and feel the energy rush back into you! 

Fish pose – This one revitalizes your mind and reenergizes your body by increasing blood flow to your brain. Traditionally, menstruating women should avoid inversions – or poses where the head is below the heart – because they possibly reverse the flow of blood Into one’s uterus. Even though there’s little scientific evidence of that actually happening, to be on the safe side, fish pose gives you all the benefits of an inversion without bringing your hips off the ground.

Bound angle pose – release tight hips and settle into your cycle with this pose of acceptance and vulnerability.

Click here to WATCH how to do these moves as I demonstrate during my monthly segment on Fresh Living! 

3. Sacral Chakra meditation

Our uterus is associated with the Sacral Chakra – svadhisthana – which is balanced when creativity and sensuality are expressed. Do a coloring book meditation, or sit and listen to a song that moves you, or mindfully eat your favorite food. Looking at the color orange, or chanting the mantra “Vam” aloud or in your mind (sound heals – here’s proof) can help soothe any pain in the area, physical or emotional. 

The Sacral Chakra is housed in the reproductive area

The Sacral Chakra is housed in the reproductive area

When you have the support of leakproof undies, yoga moves and meditations, our periods become a time of reflection, expression and recovery. Now let’s just hope society catches up with our newfound respect for this amazing process, without which, we wouldn’t have estrogen or babies. 

If you have time, read this article on the global menstruation crisis.