Personal space is sacred

Personal space is: body; mind; life; home and personal information.

A cat reminds me personal space is sacred.

A cat reminds me personal space is sacred.

The cat was doing what cats like doing, grooming herself.  The man dumped an apple next to her, and pointed a camera into her face, “smile he said.”  If looks could kill…

I admit I have the same feelings as the cat Pebbles if a random stranger points a camera or smartphone in my direction, I feel a sense of personal violation.  I take personal space seriously, and I defend it aggressively.

A police force in Britain has become the first to trial the latest face recognition software, so that you are identified on CCTV instantly, and linked in seconds to a wide range of government, spy and corporate databases.  You purchased a chocolate cookie, the CCTV spots you and informs your health insurance company, which instantly texts your cellphone that your insurance premium has gone up.  Facebook in a few years will roll out its software that can instantly identify and link photos on the internet; your employer, friends, parents or customers can instantly by pointing their smartphone at your face pull in every photo ever stored on the internet about you.  Scary.

The total invasion of personal space has become a socially acceptable situation for both government, corporate and the citizen.  Pebbles my cat reminds me that at least one little creature holds her personal space as sacred.

What is prosperity?

Prosperity: abundance; happiness; health.

I captured a visual metaphor what prosperity is to me: abundance; happiness; health.

I captured a visual metaphor of what prosperity is to me: abundance; happiness; health.

My apple tree and cat provided me a good visual opportunity to show my readers what prosperity is to me.

Abundance is the first quality of prosperity.  My apple tree produced many huge apples which presented a problem of what to do with them all.  The apple in the photo relative to my cat Pebbles is the sort of apples that grew in such abundance in my garden.

Happiness is the second quality of prosperity.  The face of Pebbles my cat in the photo says it better than words of a happy contented cat.

Health is the third and final quality of prosperity.  Pebbles my cat is eleven-years-old, she is an old cat, but she is a healthy cat.  Pebbles has a healthy appetite; can defend her territory against other cats (if she can be bothered); makes it clear to her younger rival Helix she is the Alpha cat; and her climbing skills are impressive.

Prosperity comes from working in harmony with nature.

You need room to grow

Nature provides living things the opportunity to grow.

Note the difference in growth of these two walnut trees relative to the size of their pots.  If a pot is opportunity, then living things grow relative to the opportunity available.  Nature provides the greatest opportunity to grow, and living things suffer through lack of exposure to nature.

Note the difference in growth of these two walnut trees relative to the size of their pots. If a pot is opportunity, then living things grow relative to the opportunity available. Nature provides the greatest opportunity to grow, and living things suffer through lack of exposure to nature.

I purchased large new pots for my growing oak saplings which are outgrowing their old pots.  I observed that one oak sapling in a larger pot grew faster and larger than the other seven in smaller pots.  It is the same with the two walnut trees that my friend planted, my photo shows the difference in growth between the walnut trees in different sized pots.

The oak and walnut tree pots are a good metaphor that all of living things need the opportunity to grow to their full potential.  Elephants are highly intelligent social animals, captive elephants in zoos become stressed and die younger than their wild counterparts.  The octopus is a another intelligent species needing lots of stimulation to avoid stress according to scientific studies.

The human eye needs the stimulation of sunlight and the outdoors to develop properly.  The BBC reports that a recent study of students in South Asian cities found 90% of the samples were short-sighted, a condition called myopia that needs glasses.  Modern South Asian students spend a large part of their lives indoors studying or involved with electronic technology such as the internet.  Young children in the UK are rapidly getting myopia as young as three because of being indoors and on computers for long periods of time according to the Daily Mail. A scientific study revealed the descendents of the Mutiny of the Bounty on Norfolk Island have the lowest rates of myopia in the world; whilst the study suggested genetics might be involved, I noted on Wikipedia an observation that “Islanders traditionally spend a lot of time outdoors.”

Living things are designed to live in nature, so to limit this exposure in any way causes a stagnation in personal growth in both mind and body, like I observe with my acorn saplings and the walnut trees limited by the size of their pots.

Individual power of change

Forget social movements and actors, you can make change.

This is Circe, one of my oak saplings I am growing.  Planting a tree is a small individual action, but it contributes overall to a healthier planet and community.

This is Circe, one of my eight oak saplings I am growing. Planting a tree is a small individual action, but it contributes overall to a healthier planet and community.

Individuals have no need to wait for a social movement, a celebrity endorsement or a disaster to make simple and small changes of steps now that benefit this planet and their community.  Small steps can include recycling, planting a tree or picking up litter. In the deeds and choices the individual makes they feel empowered and gain wisdom through experiential activity helping this planet and their community.

You may have heard about the ice bucket challenge where people are emptying ice-cold water over their heads in aid of ALS research which is a motor neurone disorder.  Many participants of the ALS challenge do so without bothering to learn what ALS is, or donate to the research; they follow a social trend with no understanding or interest of what it is about.  The ALS challenge echos the problems of the Occupy Movement, most of the participants had no goals or idea why they were protesting.  Many participants of mass social movements do so mindlessly without interest or understanding what such movements are about.

Russell Brand is a British celebrity involved in comedy, is becoming increasingly vocal in social and ecological movements.  When I take a closer look at Brand I find despite all the words he has no vision or answers to the issues he seems so passionate about.  I am cynical about Brand, who seems to lack authenticity.

The power of change is authentic and effective only at the individual level, that is I and you, and we have no need of social movements or celebrities to make our little ripples of positive change into the world.

Romance in an apple tree

Why watch television when nature is alternative viewing pleasure?

Romantic love of a male grasshopper victor and his female companion.

Romantic love of a male grasshopper victor and his female companion in my garden apple tree.

I threw out my television many years ago, and never looked back.  I have discovered that nature provides alternative viewing pleasure for those that are patient and observant.  My apple tree for instance provided me this morning with drama and romance.

It started when I saw a large green grasshopper worthy of a photograph, then I saw another large grasshopper, then a third smaller grasshopper.  It quickly was apparent that the two large grasshoppers were contesting for a female, moving from leaf to leaf in a positional chess game.

There was no violence, rather a strategic game of position as the males and female grasshoppers moved from leaf to leaf, slowly for fear of being eaten or suffering embarrassment of falling off the leaf.  Whatever happened, it seemed one male grasshopper lost the contest and wandered off, the second male waited whilst the female moved in to do what nature does best to make little grasshopper babies with her heroic champion.

Getting close and personal with nature

Nature is often full of adventures and surprises.

Two of the wild animals waiting to surprise you in nature.

Two of the wild animals waiting to surprise you in nature.

This morning a cat sits expectantly for treats.  I am clumsy and a rain shower of treats hits the cat, which flees.  I take a few treats in hand to restore my relationship with the fearful cat, I walk into a spiderweb I did not see; the upset spider is hanging from my face.  The cat will not touch the treats.  Sometimes my interactions with nature and animals goes badly wrong.

When I go camping, the problem at this moment is slugs and snails.  In the darkness I have to check for the slimy creatures in case they have invaded my tent, it is something I dislike sharing my sleeping bag with a slug.

As humanity expands, the wild lands of nature become smaller, so nature and humanity come face to face.  Humanity needs a new understanding of respect and harmony in a world where city and wild nature overlap.  Three stories in the media today highlights the problems of humanity and nature colliding.  You think it an ordinary day, you go to work and find a wild elk looking at you in the corridor. A normal day fetching water, you end in a 30 minute battle fending off a hungry leopard with a spade. Your mother-in-law is coming to stay, you enter the spare room to prepare the bed, a horror story greets you when you find 5000 wasps have made a claim to the bed as their nest.

One thing I am certain of is that in nature nothing is ever dull.

Calm in nature

Nature offers an opportunity to regain balance and calm.

In nature I can restore my inner harmony after a battering in the human world.

In nature I can restore my inner harmony after a battering in the human world.

As I interact with the human world I reach the point I want to scream.  The attitudes and behaviors of people towards each other and to this planet drives me crazy.  As examples: one individual said they enjoyed watching animals suffer so they gave up being a vegan; another attacked the idea of personal responsibility; we have two toilets, the cat Pebbles is curled up asleep in front of one blocking access, I use the alternative toilet rather than disturb the cat, the cat’s owner dumps the cat out-of-the-way to use the toilet it is blocking access to; a fellow member of a group has become a self-appointed tyrant and has been bullying new members, I am close to quitting the group; the list goes on.

Unfortunately there is no human refuge from this lack of empathy for people or living things, so it is towards nature I turn in which to reach harmony in my mind.  I watch the butterflies dancing around, hear the birds sing, and smell the many aromas of nature, then I find my inner calm and balance again.  If anyone questions why I prefer a walk in nature to a noisy social party, you know why.