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The Self Examiner

Sharing is very important to us at Cafe Gratitude. This blog is our means of connecting with you, our community through sharing what's happening with us and creating a conversation around the many facets of this community.
Tags >> Creativity

This week, I would like to share with you about the experience of loss.  I have been very present to loss these last few weeks.  I’ve been noticing the faces of people on the street – thinking that I see someone I know, and startling myself back when they are not there.  I’ve been daydreaming and catching visions in the leaves, rolling my mind around times that have past.  I became aware, in those musings, that there would be a time when I would look back on today, on this present moment in my life, with the same longing that I feel now for other times.

“Impermanence is not a theory. It’s happening every moment.” – Thich Nhat Hanh


Anne Kubitsky has a vision.  In a country with a tanking economy, a discouraging political situation, and escalating national protests, she has become a leader in the awakening of gratitude.  The ‘Look For The Good Project’ is a community art project that encourages people (like you!) to share little bits of what they are grateful for, via postcard, in an online art gallery.

Why not offer people a chance to pause and reflect on something that


In the Abounding River Logbook, one of the six currents is creation. We say that active creativity is essential to achieving abundance. We must both actively create things in the world, and actively see and create a vision of abundance.  I access creativity through taking personal responsibility. I take responsibility for how I’m acting, what I’m producing, but also what I am actively creating and envisioning. I take responsibility for my vision of the world, and recognize that I can not only create a new vision, but recognize that I have been actively creating my vision of the world all along.

I created a design that was six years in the making that I made become my vision of the world. Out of my education and work in social justice, I envisioned an invasive tree that took too much from the soil. The tree represented the power structures and oppressive systems I wasn’t committed to. In my design (see second image) I created a tearing up of the tree through various metaphorical imagery (vines tugging down the branches, something rotting away the roots… branches being cut off). All of these metaphors I lived by- on how to deconstruct the tree that I saw as being damaging to the overall environment.

And deconstruction is how my life looked for 6 years. I used criticism against everything without much idea for how to instill hope or rebirth after the death of the system. I used various methods of social change to address problems that I saw, and constantly came across seeing that I was never bringing answers or solutions to them. My experience of the world was through that vision that I was actively creating and recreating.      Two weeks ago I really noticed that my tree metaphor wasn’t working for me to create hope. So I set off to find a new image, a rebirth of the tree, or something that I was committed to. I created the image above, the conclusion of the oppressive tree, and a new habitat for a rebirth. In my vision, the roots have been torn away to where all is left is love. Rooted in love, a new sprout is born and there is pure possibility.

As a means to re-train myself in my new vision, I’m taking on the 365 day challenge. Every day for the next year I am creating a piece of art with this new image. Every day through this creativity I am actively creating hope in the world by transforming my vision and by physically expressing my vision to others. I am day by day re-inscribing a new belief through my repeated creations.

The Idea for the practice of 365 projects came from Noah Scalin, who took on creating one image every day with a different medium himself, and then created a journal to encourage others. Check out the book here; check out some of the variations of my design here.              This week I invite you to look at what belief you have that’s causing you suffering. Taking responsibility for it as your creation and not truth is empowering. What can you actively create in its place? What belief can you adopt that serves you and serves the planet? We say that a belief is a thought practiced over and over again. What new thought can you begin with today?


Every day new products hit the shelves of stores that can do more, better, faster, and smaller.  I'm sure you or someone you know owns a laptop, a smart phone, or a ipad (the mico-powerhouses of modern computing).  Not only do we have access to a world of information in the palms of our hands, we also have access to more mundane technological masterpieces: fridge magnets that play digital videos, ant farms that project moving images of the ants onto the ceiling, and laptop fans to keep your laptop cool as you stream video while playing solitaire.
In our modern experience of high-tech saturation (both necessary and superfluous), I would like to serve up the technological equivalent of some down-home cookin’. I present to you three low-tech, high-impact appropriate and responsible technologies that are transforming the lives of regular people worldwide.


Solar Bottle Lights: In the town of San Pedro, just outside of Manila in the Philippines, a local transformation is occurring.  Men salvage used plastic bottles, fill them with water, and cast light into dark places. Huh?  That's right.  In an area where most buildings are made of corrugated steel, most families have had to rely on expensive electrical lights to see in their homes during the day.  Not any more.  At the price of $1 per installation, many families are opting to let the sunshine in, using plastic water bottles filled with water to create solar ceiling lights.  Not only is this diverting waste from landfills, it is also creating green job alternatives for people ready to embrace this new technology.




Anger is not my favorite emotion.  I do not consider myself an angry person, and I do not frequently experience anger in my life.  Situations that are uncomfortable for me usually elicit frustration, sadness, or hurt, before they ever touch the nerve of anger. 

I am beginning to realize, that even though I do not feel angry when people betray my personal standards of conduct, my anger does surface in other ways: silence, avoidance, and irritability.  I am beginning to consider that anger is actually on my side, and is trying to help me become more empowered in my relationships.  I push it down because of fear that it is not socially permissible, or that it will not be taken well.  Sometimes I am even afraid that if I let my anger out, it will simply be too much and run amok. 


Gratitude !

We love the expansive feeling we get from cultivating an attitude of Gratitude.

What are YOU Grateful for today ?

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