“Don’t ever come to my house empty handed.”
He let me cross the threshold into his home, but not without a proper schooling.
I was learning the local traditions of Hawaii, in the standard gruff/love way.
“I- didn’t know,” I stuttered.
“Now you do.”
I would soon learn that giving gifts (Mekana) is a part of the Hawaiian way of life.
It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to understand why: Hawaii is an essential teacher about generosity...
The rivers still run free.
One breadfruit tree can feed a family for a year.
But on that day, I was invited into a teaching: just because I had come to do an interview for a reputable news organization and bring attention to him and his work…
First: human to human manners, you give…before you take.
(Welcome to the annual Green Gift Guide)
This is a pulse of love
designed to inspire your imagination
during this season focused on gift giving.
Everything in this guide is designed and created to support a thriving planet: natural resources, fair pay, and other good things.
I bring this for the pure thrill of sharing inspiration.
I receive zero financial kickback or incentive. Just the thrill of bringing you life force engaging ideas to feed the life force of those you love.
Psst..there is a gift waiting for you at the end.
Feather images created by Chris Maynard
There was a time when I was very young when my mother had just enough money to take care of us. There wasn’t a surplus, but we had plenty of fun none-the-less. And I learned as a young child not to ask for things.
That was a short-lived experience. And as I grew up, and our family grew, Christmas became a massive celebration of abundance, a celebration of what was here ... in the wake of what once wasn't.
One of my favorite parts of the holiday is what happened on Christmas Eve.
My 13-year old younger brother, Pierre, and I would stay up late into the night pouring our love into epic handmade gifts for our parents.
Making those gifts… was just as fun as opening the gifts I received.
“Since you get more joy
out of giving joy to others,
you should put a good deal of thought
into the happiness that you are able to give.”
COME OF AGE
by Stephen Jenkinson
"Taking on the sacred cow of the family, Jenkinson argues that elderhood is a function rather than an identity–it is not a position earned simply by the number of years on the planet or the title “parent” or “grandparent.” Jenkinson interweaves rich personal stories with iconoclastic observations that will leave readers radically rethinking their concept of what it takes to be an elder and the risks of doing otherwise. Come of Age is a love song inviting all of us to grow up before it’s too late."
FEATHERS: FORM & FUNCTION
by CHRIS MAYNARD AKA (THE CREATOR OF THE AMAZING FEATHER IMAGES IN THIS EMAIL)
Feathers, Form Chris Maynard’s book, and Function: what feathers are, how they work, and why we find them alluring offers a quality tabletop book of his art with insight into how feathers grow, how they evolved, what they are made of, and what they do for the birds. He explores how feathers have given humans meaning for the millennium.“This book is sure to intrigue and delight
birdfolk and artfolk alike.”
FEATURED GIFT IDEA:
Study On Your Own 4 Part Audio Class
Give your loved one the gift of
cultivating their own gifts
Speak The Spark: Sacred Storytelling For A New Paradigm
3-6 Month Online Course:
Study with Master Storytellers from around the Globe
Ignite your creativity
learn stories from around the globe
refine and define your unique voice!
Begins January 8th
Early Bird Special (Bonus video with Pat McCab) ends Dec 25th
On Christmas night, my mother hosted a massive dinner.
The first time, my mom did what my mom does, and got everyone a little table gift.
A tradition was born.
The next year, everyone brought table gifts for everyone.
Part of the tradition included, “don’t tell the newbie,” so that when a new person arrived their plate was stacked high with gifts from people they had never met. Jack brought hand blown glasses. Aimee made mix tapes. Marylou filled old cigar boxes with antique Christmas ornaments.
It was weird and wonderful and totally over the top, and a true delight to see how excited people got about what gift they would bring.
But then something happened.
The facts and figures of unintended consequences became evident.
The sustainability movement came alive.
And awareness of the consequences of what we consume hit home.
And this once simple and sweet season became riddled with complexity--
as the relationship to consuming got tied to the relationship to giving-- in a tight knot.
And required untangling.
Wildcrafted Nettle Fiber
Wear your medicine! Seam Siren’s mission is to bring awareness to the historical use, importance, and efficacy of medicinal clothing. They source the purest botanical ingredients available for each aspect of their creations and support and preserve the ancient wisdom traditions by which the company is inspired.
THE RENEWAL WORKSHOP
I met the founder Jeff Denby when I wrote an article about sustainability in the textile industry. The Renewal Workshop takes discarded apparel and textiles and turns them into Renewed Apparel, upcycled materials or recycling feedstock. It is a zero waste system that recovers the full value out of what has already been created as a way of serving customers, partners, and planet.
Robin and Katheryn are micro-scale producers of olive oil based in the San Francisco Bay Area. "We are on a mission to de-commodify extra virgin olive oil and elevate its place in American food culture." They lease and manage a small, three-acre olive grove in Sunol, California. You can join their subscription service and have high touch quality olive oil (did you know this industry has a mafia all its own and that 80% of what you purchase is not what it says it is?) delivered to your doorstep 4 times a year.
“Dara Merin’s book ChocAnanda is an ode of love to the magical and healing world of chocolate. Dara helps debunk the myth that indulging in chocolate is a guilty pleasure, and guides us in seeing it for what it really is - a bliss igniting, heart-opening medicine to soothe the soul." (I've been begging Dara to create a cook-bookfor years. Once you see what she is up to, you might get o her case too.)
“The meaning of life is to find your gift.
The purpose of life is to give it away.”
LYDIA'S SINGING CLASS
Release & Empower Your Voice
Lydia is an activist and artist who plays her fiddle and sings with resonants of a love that just must connect the strings of this universe together. She has created this awesome online class that demystifies the art of singing and will help free your voice into a beautiful song...
I would jump through a hoop to see her live.
Music as Medicine
"The Orphan Wisdom School (founded by Stephen Jenkinson & Nathalie Roy) is crafted those who will fail to live forever, who have come to the idea ... that their yearning for a deep life must be tethered to the plough of labour and learning to harrow the hardened field of sorrows and solitary, grey news that has become our corner of this beautiful world, so that children can one day soon be born into to a real, detailed, labored over Better Day that we ourselves are now unlikely to see." In all fairness, this is not a gift as much as something to be offered and chosen.
WOMEN'S EARTH ALLIANCE
WEA equips women with the skills and tools they need to protect our earth and strengthen communities from the inside out. They work with local leaders who build up other leaders. With local leadership guiding each project, they design capacity-building trainings where women access skills and tools in appropriate technology, entrepreneurship, and advocacy.
THE WHALE DREAMER
YOUNG ACTIVIST TRAINING PROGRAM
Created by yours truly
This social impact campaign designed to accompany the book, The Whale Dreamer, provides away to support readers to identify the parts of the earth they are passionate about protecting, and then provides them an ACTION KIT that has the tools to influence their immediate community. With over 30 global partners signed on, we are preparing the influencers of tomorrow. You can join our founder's circle by contacting me, make a donation online, or pre-purchase the book. Learn about endangered animals and how you can get involved with protecting them on our website, and step into a news stream that speaks of animals in the language of belonging - with dignity and respect - on Instagram.
(Art by Ted Chin)
My first love had an altar built for me.
It has been the gift that has given over a lifetime.
It's with that thought that I bring you TogetherWExpand ~ a Mindfulness-Based Regenerative business. Their products are made with purpose and intention, and respect to the earth in every stage of development. And seriously, I've never been so delighted to sit on a zafu in my life.
AND: they donate 18% of the profits to The Whale Dreamer Engagement Campaign when you use the code: whaledreamer
Art As Medicine, Hand Made & Heart Blessed!!
Nathan...walk gently on the earth and prays over every creation he makes. Sacred creations made by a good man.
Just as entropy is one of the laws that rules over our planet…
So does generosity.
Water gives life...
The flower gives her beauty, pollen, and scent.
The tree gives nourishment.
And humans...it would appear so many of us are on a journey into learning what is ours to give.
But what a fine moment to fall into the wisdom teaching left behind from another time--
Did you know that all of the ancient religions agreed ...
that there world was sung, chanted, and spoken into existence.
As if leaving a hint for those of us willing to look back while stepping forward...
A GIFT FROM ME TO YOU
A mythic love story about when a wolf god and wind goddess fell in love and begged to become humans...
Enjoy this exploration of the godliness within all of us, and the struggle to remember. In this link you will find a little song...and an audio story.