Archive | April, 2020

Naked Identity

23 Apr

Trees have flowered and are slowly ‘leafing’ as spring brews its magic bringing color and texture back into our world – an especially welcome site this year as we peer through windows for glimmers of hope and light.

Naked Identity is like a tree without adornment: it’s time to focus and celebrate what’s inside, remembering that ‘inside’ is what makes the outside so beautiful and valuable.

I love gnarly winter trees. Awkward limbs covered with scratchy twigs stretching out from knotty limbs; trunks covered with scars from past ailments. Completely naked without their summer/spring adornment, they are both stark and beautiful – I would say unabashedly secure in their identity. I aspire to be as confident and brazen in showing my imperfections. Trees’ winter nakedness is a well-deserved time to rest; their’introvert’ time so to speak after months of feeding, delighting, and, decorating the world around them.

The beauty we see in spring and summer is because the tree has found its right habitat: right place, right time and able to share the gifts it holds deep inside.

Our ‘Naked Identities’ are expressed and ‘bloom’ in the right conditions. NOW is the time to discover them.

We humans rarely have time to ‘shed our leaves’ and show the world our gnarly limbs and trunk. Especially on social media, there’s need to mask our scars while demonstrating and sharing our beauty/status as often as possible. It’s a way to feel recognized and acknowledged. Because of that, I think it’s easy to forget, harder to identify, our naked identity: who we are at our core that makes us exactly who we’re meant to be, and, what we have to share with the world.

Naked figuratively, not literally – please, keep the sweats on!

Wherever you are in the world, likely you’re home. Relatively isolated, in sweats and comfy clothes, and staring your naked identity in the mirror at least once a day. As the world rapidly changes through slow moving days, NOW is the perfect time to become reacquainted with our best, ‘naked’ selves/identities.

Someone once told me the happiness in our lives was defined by 3 factors: work; love/partner; and home/living space. To be happy, two of the three had to be ‘good’. Ideally that’s true: but true happiness, I think, is based on securely expressing our ‘Naked Identity’. Those of us who are 0/3 can attest to this!

Identity is fortified by four key relationships: Self, Others, Economy, and the Environment.

Most important is our relationship with ourselves. Our ‘self’ relationship impacts and guides all our action and relationships!

‘Naked Identity’ is about being happy from within. Work, ‘where’ you are, and, what you’re surrounded by is less important than acknowledging all the good inside you even when everything around you sucks. Even without a job or the love of your life, or…

‘Naked Identity is our ‘self’ – and most important – relationship!

Our ‘Naked Identity’ is based on DNA/Genotype, Phenotype aka how we look and express who we are; and our internal personal qualities, passions, and, talents that motivate us – whether we’re paid for them or not.


Humans have unique power in expressing our identity vs. in Nature. In Nature, other living things DNA/genotype pretty much determines everything about them: from how they look/phenotype to their personal qualities, talents, strengths/niche in their environment/community. We Humans can easily change our phenotype based on how we want to be seen by self and others. Humans take roles outside of their personal quality, talent niche for money, status, and other needs. ‘Naked Identity’ is a way to look into that ‘natural’ self, especially with respect to personal qualities and talents.

Phenotype: how we look, or more specifically how we look based on our DNA is the easiest thing to change. I think of how we change our ‘look’ based on where we are and who we’re with, and how it’s like Russian nesting dolls: Matryoshka dolls! Our inner most ‘doll’ is likely our ‘Naked Identity’ – when we express our most true ‘self’ for us – not for social media or to impress others. Like the heart of an artichoke, that inner doll is the truest, sweetest, and, best part.

Pop a bowl of popcorn and get ready to think about – and uncover – your own ‘Naked Identity’!

Find a comfy spot. Get a pad, notebook, computer, or whatever you like to write with; I like to use colored pens, as you can see.

Start writing out EVERYTHING you like about yourself.

Find a comfy place to sit…

Everything means just that: everything! Include: personal qualities, talents, strengths, characteristics: how you act when you feel most ‘you’, when you’re not trying to please anyone but yourself or concerned by what others may say (or judge). This is about you without your ‘mask’ so to speak! My list includes strengths that have shown themselves in the best and worst of times; actions of accomplishment and notably emotion/relationship; as well as how I dress when I’m ‘ME’ (with lipstick.. ah, another ‘loss’ to coronavirus and facemasks). I included what makes me smile and share smiles with others, and other ways I contribute to the world.

More important (than lipstick): uncovering your personal qualities and talents, and having specific examples is your selling point to identify your true niche. In this changing world, building on strengths is a sure way to find success as job markets and social interactions wobble about.

“Be the change you want to see in the world”, a powerful and true quote to live by. Naked Identity allows each of us to be part of that change, using our skills and talents, taking action through these difficult times.

‘Naked Identity’ can change our actions and interactions because of less stress to be someone we’re not. Perhaps this is a good time to redefine success: focusing on personal rather than material rewards.

Your ‘Naked Identity’ is not filled with negativity: Identify all those voices that have told you “Nope, you can’t do it”, the naysayers, the little/loud voices that dig at you making you question yourself, including those on social media. Don’t let others ‘crap’ make you feel crappy about yourself anymore.

I wrote about how other’s ‘Doubts’ invade and kill off your own natural talents and optimism.

Now is the time to silence those negative doubts. Weed them from your mind.

Listen to your voice – block out the invasive doubts from others.
Ask – then answer – what’s most important to you1

What’s important to you likely goes far beyond Environmental issues (hopefully it’s somewhere on the list though).

Write what makes your heart sing in every aspect of your life.

Your ‘Naked Identity’ leaves you balanced to keep you ‘going’ and breathing!

Identify what keeps you ‘in balance’; where you get what you need from what you give.

Balance in what you need, what keeps you alive!

This is a good time to ask: Are you in balance with what you give and what you get?

Here’s the Cliff Note Version of Uncovering ‘Naked Identity’:

  • Write/record/draw your personal qualities, strengths, and, talents.
  • Include aspects of your DNA/genotype and especially your Phenotype (physical appearance including dress, tatts, etc.) and how they impact your ‘Naked Identity’.
  • Listen and put a name to whose voice(s) you hear about your identity/strengths – both positive and negative. Throw the negative away and work to unroot them!
  • List what’s most important to you to have balance in your life.
  • Honestly think/write where you are balanced and where you feel unbalanced in your life.
  • Plan for ways you can change your life to become balanced and focus on what’s important to you; actions and life that enhance and promote your strengths, talents, and, personal qualities.

It’s these challenging times that strip us naked of our usual life accoutrements: clothes, work, friends, going out, entertainment, and, all the other dressings of life. (I first learned this as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa – talk about seeing the best and worst of myself – often within a 60 minute window!) Good and bad stuff will come out – embrace it – and most of all embrace and celebrate what makes you ‘YOU’. Our ‘Naked Identity’ is our individual superpower. We just have to figure out how to use it.

Life may be crazy – and it would be even crazier NOT to share our ‘Naked Identity’ with the world which needs your talents now. In sweats though, please!

Stay safe, sanitized, masked, and isolated only by physical distance!

From Tax Day to Earth Day, Mother Nature’s bizarre, yet undeniable, connection with Money

17 Apr

‘Celebrated’ by the ‘refunded’, mourned by the owe-ers, April 15th, Tax Day, is a red letter American ‘holiday’. For better or worse, it’s a day that seemingly sums up successes, and/or survival of each year.

Subtly, Tax Day honors life’s most dominant ‘character’: the almighty American Greenback, slang name for USA’s green money.

As much as Americans may hate Tax Day, we love Greenbacks. It’s weird though, we love money, think a lot about it, but think it’s taboo to talk about it. Personally, I wish we’d talk about it more – I think a lot about how I spend and save money, and, how it impacts my day to day life. For me, money is freedom and the ability to explore and expand my horizons. Yes, I know I’m lucky…

If we were chatting over a cuppa I’d ask: what role does money and the almighty Greenback play in your life? How does money define your values and what’s important to you?

USA Greenback is loved and desired around the world and hungered for as much as McDonald’s and Starbuck. Money is POWER. Money influences.

Humankind has this strange love affair with Greenbacks – and really all money, any currency. That love affair isn’t healthy and like with all unhealthy relationships destroying those that keep us healthy and alive.

Greenbacks, have a deep, dark secret though. A secret shared by currency currently everywhere: Greenbacks’ value depends on, and is in thanks to Mother Nature, and, her bounty. Humans love affair with money and all the great things we need and crave are expensive – and at Mother Nature’s expense.

Think about it: the only reason Tax Day exists is because of the Environment. EVERYTHING we buy and need comes from Mother Nature.

Somehow we humans think we’re at the top of the food chain, though as we’re learning from the coronavirus – and all viruses – we’re not. In fact we rely on and are connected to all living things. We’re part of a WEB.

Humans think we need money, stuff more than we need the environment. That’s bad science, bad science education. The coronavirus can be our new teacher: We humans can’t trample on the environment as we have: we’re connected to everything living. The tiny and powerful coronavirus has proven that connection AND shown how the tiny can conquer the big and mighty.

We HUMANS would not exist without Mother Nature’s Environment and all she provides.

Tax Day, 15 April, (extended this year because of the coronavirus) is followed a week later, 22 April, with Earth Day. Coincidence they are a week apart? I don’t think so considering their connection.

Proof there’s a connection between Greenback and Mother Nature is in their (nick)names:

Still not convinced Greenback and Mother Nature are connected?

Shorten Greenback to Greenie, a nickname for someone caring about nature and the environment.

Mother Nature becomes MoNaPronounced: Muh Nay – sounds like money.

Cliff Note: We need MoNa for Greenie! Save Greenie by Saving MoNa

We’ve got all this wonderful time to think more about this important connection. A connection that impacts every aspect of our life and allows us to live. Some food for thought:

  • What’s most important to you NOW (in the coronavirus-age)? Health? Healthy food? Eating out (food, again!)? Breathing fresh air? Taking a walk? New clothes? A better phone? Stuff?
  • Walk through your room, your house, peak into closets, drawers and identify what gives you pleasure, what you use now, and know you’ll use in the near future (when you can leave your house).
  • Think (and calculate) how much you’ve spent on things piled in the corner of your room or basement, hidden in the back of a closet. Write that number down somewhere. What would you do with that money now? How would you spend it differently to give you more pleasure, more happiness?
  • How much money have you spent on what’s important to you? Your health, the air and water responsible for your health? For parks, trees, and, rivers you want to walk and run past now?

Earth Day is coming; one day soon-ish we’ll re-enter ‘normal’ life, or the new normal. Answering these questions will help you stay focused on what’s important for YOUR quality life.

Let’s all put money on what we value:

  • Let’s buy stuff that will last for years: A friend went to buy a cartridge for his printer and was told it was cheaper and easier to buy a new printer: wtf??? That is criminal on so many levels.
  • Buy quality clothes (natural fibers) and shoes: it’s why vintage clothes look and feel great; because they were so well made. I’m addicted to second hand I admit to feed my retail therapy cravings. I justify buying as better for the environment and better for (my) wallet. A true win-win.
  • Volunteer, somewhere, anywhere to help others. Plant a tree, or two, or three! In Portland, OR, “Friends of Trees” plants trees which are regularly monitored by volunteers – I bet there’s a similar organization in your city to get involved.

Back to my optimism: Spending money is POWER – If we don’t buy – leaders and corporations MAY finally listen:

  • IF we don’t buy something, it won’t be made.
  • IF people refused to take plastic bags (and I realize the coronavirus has delayed a plastic bag ban most places), oil and petroleum companies would stop producing them.
  • IF we carried reusable bottles and didn’t buy bottled water – same thing for all those bottles that end up in land fills – they wouldn’t be made.
  • IF people bought smaller more fuel efficient cars which help decrease air pollution – like most of the rest of the world drive, car manufacturers would make those kinds of cars.
  • IF we stop buying clothes that look great the day you buy them and look like crap a month later and have to be tossed – crappy fast fashion wouldn’t waste so many materials and resources making us poor and filling garbage dumps.

Let’s measure success by Earth Day action, not by Tax Day numbers. We’re in this together. Let’s create a healthy, happier world with our actions. And remember:

Save Greenie by Saving MoNa!

No More to Give Tree

10 Apr

Relationships, mutualistic/win-win ones especially, are fragile. Fragile because give and take is necessary for successful relationship BALANCE; like with us and trees. Most of us know it’s hard to balance what’s given – with what we take, and/or given. This short tale tells of such a relationship, and, the promise of a happy ending! Enjoy…

Once upon a time trees and humans lived in mutualistic bliss. Oxygen and Carbon-Dioxide were easily and mutualistically exchanged between the two and happiness was heard throughout the land. Birds chirped, bees buzzed, and people smiled and waved as they shared stories throughout the day, even while waiting in line to buy groceries.

Balance between us and trees: balance between the oxygen and carbon dioxide cycle. We need trees for oxygen aka life. Breathing is wonderful.

Breathe in, breathe out! It’s a wonderful thing”, humans cried. “Lucky trees”, they murmered, “they don’t need to go to the grocery store to buy food; they make their own with simple ingredients: chlorophyll, sunlight, and water, and (our contribution of) carbon-dioxide.” Humans both knew, but didn’t how joyful and simple trees made their lives. Breathing in oxygen was certainly a right, wasn’t it???

“Life is so wonderful, surely we deserve more to celebrate,” people around the world exclaimed. “Cars would make it so easy to get from place to place; and how wonderful to have a bigger house to host big dinners for all our happy friends. Food is plentiful and cheap for us.”

So humans, being intelligent creatures, came up with brilliant ways to build bigger and better everything: cars that zoomed from city streets to far-off freeways; houses big enough to hold stuff, and, maybe a visiting guest. One teensie problem… a few trees would need to be sacrificed for roads and houses. But, humans argued, there are sooo many trees, a few less wouldn’t upset their mutualistic balance.


Breathing in, breathing out, humans happily zoomed around with their new stuff, and didn’t think too much about the missing trees. Yet, humans started feeling unbalanced.

“Hmmm… IF we have these wonderful big houses, we need lots and lots of stuff to fill them. Let’s make them so comfortable we can stay home! We need big TV’s and lots of kitchen gear for those dinners we’ll make.”

Balance proved to be time-consuming and costly, but oh so much fun and thought provoking. “I absolutely NEED another pair of shoes; a new coffee grinder; the newest jeans fashion; a new phone.”

So, humans secure in their self-proclaimed throne at the top of the food chain, went about buying their wants cleverly disguised as needs. They drove their cars for miles to look and buy things they didn’t even know they needed. Evenings were wisely spent satisfying needs on-line. Dreams were filled with excited anticipation of brown-boxed wonders arriving at their doorstep. Balance was achieved; till credit card bills arrived.

Progress???? OMG – the tradeoffs!

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction: Human’s new balance led to imbalance with their oldest and best relationship with trees and nature. Trees in forests and urban parks became decorated with cast-off wrappers and coffee cups; plastic bags swung like holiday decorations from tree limbs swaying in the sighing wind. Birds were seen carrying litter, unsure what to do with it, or, where to put it. “This is no time to desert those who depend on us,” Trees proclaimed, standing their ground, protecting the worms, bugs, fungi, squirrels, etc. whose mutualism was important for their survival. They even protected humans who were slowly killing them.

Joni Mitchell ~ Big Yellow Taxi + Both Sides Now (BBC - 1969) NO better way to describe this unfolding story than Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. See lyrics at the end of the post.

But humans, with only a few problems breathing in breathing out, soldiered on. So much was needed to survive now, and satisfying needs became a hard battle fought every day. This war took its toll on humans: “I need a newer phone”; “I need a better coffee grinder”; “I need to find work/play balance”; “I need to balance my spending and saving”; “I need to balance my relationships”, was heard throughout the anguished land.

Humans were addicted, and addictions, like viruses are hard to cure once unleashed. Humans sought balance in the warm comfort of food, micro-brews, cappuccinos, cool tech, and shoes.

Tree’ casualties rose at alarming rates, the details rarely making the headlines. Roads, bigger houses, stores, restaurants promised a new mutualism – outweighing the happiness and balance trees once supplied.

Humans, if they thought about it shrugged, “Hey, relationships end, become less important, especially when other priorities take over. We have to focus on NEEDS right now. Silly, alarmist environmentalists: we’re still breathing, right? “

As war against trees waged on, relationships and roles changed. Instead of a balanced partnership in life, humans morphed into an obligate parasite – humans NEED Trees as host to breathe, to survive. Trees, on the other hand, didn’t need humans’ carbon dioxide so much at all it turned out.

For too long, humans had ignored silly, alarmist, environmentalists’ cry for the need for trees. Ignorant of biology’s symbiotic definition of ‘obligate parasitism’, if the host (trees) dies, so will the parasite (humans) was a big OOPSIE.

Don’t it always seem to go – we don’t know what we have till it’s gone!

The Giving Tree had became the No-More-To-Give Tree…..

Consumed by pandemics and self-isolation, humans forgot their life depended on things they couldn’t buy on-line: oxygen, water, and nature (though water was easily delivered in clear plastic bottles). In their quest for a ‘better’ life, much that made life worth living was gone, buried under the wrappings of yesterday’s deliveries.

Commercial: The moral of this story so far: 1. Life is about BALANCE between give and take, wants and needs. 2. Take care of what is precious to you.

IN-THE-NOT -TO-DISTANT-FUTURE: As so often happens in life, it’s not till something you love and need is gone, that you feel deep pain for the loss. Humans touched elbows and loving exclaimed, “so much has been lost, and I’m so grateful to see you. I will never take you and our friendship for granted again.” Breathing, they’d learned from a microscopic virus, was not to be taken for granted. Yearning to close the distance between each other and nature, humans left the safety of their homes, priorities refocused, ready to change their actions to change the world together – as a planet!

Nope, it’s not ‘The End” yet

Let’s write the ending together as needs and wants are sorted through as carefully as closets, bookcases, tech accessories, and, kitchen cabinets. For starters:

  • Make a list of what you really need to survive. (Hint: oxygen and nature should probably be at the top).
  • Make a list of your wants since let’s face it, those won’t magically disappear once we’re allowed to leave our homes.
  • Make a list of what you have: money, and all the stuff on your want list.
  • Compare your needs with your wants. See how it matches with your haves. What can you afford in the name of progress?
  • DONATE MONEY TO support those less fortunate than you, even if it’s just a small amount: a larger amount if you’re still working and can.
  • When you can plant a tree; VOLUNTEER to help at your local park to support the nature that supports us in living.
  • Get involved – vote for politicians that have your best interest at heart, lungs, mind, and soul.
  • And remember our relationships with others should be mutualistic – support those you care about – ask questions how they are feeling – how their lives have changed. Compassion and empathy are always important: keep in mind that some peoples lives have radically changed recently even beyond health and finances.

The coronavirus has taken aim at lungs and our ability to breathe. Ventilators are needed with hope that people grasping for oxygen to stay alive. It’s frickin scary… Without trees and other photosynthesizers, that will be everyones fate.

More on Balance (the cornerstone of all scientific disciplines) to come next week!

In the meantime: stay balanced mentally and physically. Take a break from the news; watch something silly; reach out to friends; sleep; dance around the house; and, be kind to yourself and each other.

Lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFindShow related videos

Sustainable Living: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

8 Apr

I’ve spent the last two weeks in quarantine (in the US), having traveled through SouthEast Asia where people regularly wear masks to prevent disease AND breathe easier with heavy air pollution. I’m so grateful to be healthy, and my thoughts go out to everyone in quarantine (and paranoid/scared shitless about every sniffle or cough) and those who have had the virus or know people who do. Let’s all follow guidelines, stay distanced, mask up, and stay safe.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (Newton’s Third Law of Motion), metaphorically is where we are. Actions in the name of progress have rendered us isolated and vulnerable to a teeny tiny micro-organism. Crazy, right?

Meanwhile, it’s #WastefreeWednesday! In the midst of surviving this pandemic (I’m in the DC area, with cases set to peak this week), it’s hard to focus on anything else. YET, scientists are now finding air pollution impacts how we are effected by the virus, a reminder climate change and environmental problems are still with us.

It’s enough to say ‘oy’ and want to dive under the covers and binge watch just about anything, BUT:

We can handle climate change! As we’re isolating, we can begin to plan for action; plan to reclaim environmental health for our human health.

A few articles to give some ideas. Read what catches your fancy and passion (like for fashion?). Links are below. Read and pass them on. Remember – we got this!

 a nationwide study found that counties with even slightly higher levels of long-term air pollution are seeing larger numbers of Covid-19 deaths.

New York Times Evening Briefing, 7 April, 2020

Countries around the world are taking action to curb air pollution, an effect of our progress resulting in increased asthma and other health problems. EXCEPT USA PRESIDENT TRUMP! In March, 2020· Trump rolled back fuel economy standards, reversing major effort to combat climate change. The LA Times reported this change could worsen the quality of California’s air, considered among the most polluted in the country. Amazing to think the President of the ‘Free World’ could do something so irresponsible – it’s as if he hates kids, right? This is something that needs to be fixed: Be sure to vote! Read more below:

Trump to roll back fuel economy standards, reversing major … LA Times…

Where does the material for your clothes come from? How sustainable is that source? This article outlines 10 Ways to be a more sustainable shopper including strong suggestions to buy less, better quality, sustainable clothing. In our changing world, even post-pandemic, we’ll all be looking for new ways to protect our wallets – and our environmental health – with hope to prevent another virus pandemic.

Who What Wear: 10 Ways to be a more sustainable shopper

Forego a $5 latte and help save a coastal community: 5 trees or a latte: sustainable saving coastal community through the planting of mangroves: brilliant crowdfunding way to plant more trees out of Kuala Lampur. Coastal Communities Crowdfunding for Trees to Combat Climate Change

China can lead environmental climate change actions . Article also talks about human activity/encroachment into natural wildlife areas has not only destroyed species and their habitats, but also opened the possibilities of more coronavirus like virus pandemics based on the theory of zoonotic. zoontoics being the transmission of animal viruses to humans and since we are in closer proximity to animals since we are in THEIR space, well, we are more likely to get THEIR viruses. I first heard about this when Inga Anderson, from the UN was interviewed on the BBC and was fascinated.

A zoonosis (plural zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites that spread from non-human animals (usually vertebrates ) to humans.

Zoonosis – Wikipedia

News about Nine Reasons We Should Be Eating Microalgae: As the climate warms, the land we use for growing energy-intensive crops such as wheat and corn is becoming less productive. We need to find ways to feed the earth’s growing population that isn’t so burdensome on the environment. One potential solution is to cultivate microalgae – microscopic aquatic organisms that are packed with nutrients. Microalgae are single-celled organisms that look like tiny pills and taste a bit like grass. They are relatively easy to cultivate and have several advantages over animal and plant protein. (Cosmos Magazine)

By Martina Doblin, Donna Sutherland and Peter Ralph, University of Technology Sydney


– Every step taken makes a huge difference. Start simple, start small. A few small ideas:

  • Only buy natural fiber clothes – empty your cart of all synthetics and even synthetic blend clothes. They’re hard on the environment and equally hard on your wallet since they won’t last the season (or maybe through our ‘stay-at-home” time.
  • Shop second hand when we’re able to go back into the shops. Things are often better quality, especially when they’re ‘older’. It’s the perfect way to try out a style, save money, and prevent waste in the landfill.
  • Plant a tree – this is my favorite since it’s a way to rebalance the oxygen-carbon-dioxide cycle: in other words allows us to breathe and survive – pretty good stuff.
  • Find an organization that supports something you believe in. For example: want to travel to Kuala Lampur? Read the article above about planting mangrove trees to protect coastlines and give up a $5 latte a week.
  • Register to vote and VOTE (I also have to do this when I can finally return home!) your beliefs, vote to ensure health for the future.
  • Last but not least: stay informed. Right now the news is overwhelming, yet there are lots of environmental articles that are less scary than the coronavirus. Besides, environmental action is something we can do and plan for now.

Let’s choose life – a healthy environment for our health and well-being.

Symbiosis (relationships) in the Age of CoronaVirus

5 Apr

A positive to our self-isolation and quarantine? Time to explore our relationships. Likely, we think about them all the time, but now, with limited face-to-face contact, is opportunity to examine our lives and interactions with time and care.

One of the great things about science is the in-depth exploration of every day behavior. Relationships, a key aspect of our lives and a shaper of our identity, is defined in biology as symbiosis. A truly great word that rolls over our tongues, right?

Symbiosis, comes from the Greek and means ‘living together’, referring to ‘any type of close and long-term biological interactions between two different organisms’. (Wikipedia!) ALL relationships are symbiosis and in Human Nature Concepts, there are four (4) relationship’ ‘lens’ to define our identity and life:

ALWAYS – not just now, our key relationships are with Self; Others; Environment; and, the Economy.

First and foremost our key relationship is with ‘Self’. The way we treat our’Self is how we also treat and relate to others. It’s easy to say ‘I’m my own best friend’; now is the time to make that true. ‘Others’ relationships with friends and families should support and complement us, as we support and complement them. Environment, the vital relationship (literally) keeps us alive with food, water, and oxygen. Currently, our relationship with the Economy, may be very painful, yet generally mirrors our view of ‘self’, ‘others’, and the environment.

Bolster your Environment relationship: Go hug a tree – no social distance needed. Trees deserve hugs, and are the reason we live and breathe. Btw, it’s said we need 8 hugs a day to be happy: go hug 8 trees, or even better plant one in thanks for healthy lungs.

Defining the ‘who’ of key relationships is only the beginning. Basic high school biology explores 3 types of symbiosis uncovering interaction’ quality:

3 types of symbiosis: MUTUALISM is a win-win for both parties; COMMENSALISM is a win for one ‘party’, and a ‘whatever’ aka no benefit or harm for the other; PARASITISM is a win for one partner and a huge lose for the other. In our human world we can choose the type of symbiosis for our interactions.
  • In the natural world pollinating bees create the win-win mutualism, supplying flowers, trees, and, pretty much all fruits and vegetables we love. Without pollinating bees, there would be no/little fruits and vegetables!
  • Orchids naturally grow on tree trunks, enjoying the sunshine, without effecting the tree demonstrates commensalism and it’s often overlooked quality.
  • Sinister and menacing is the most ‘famous’ symbiotic quality of parasitism. A recent Academy Award winning film title, this one quite literally gets under our skin from mosquitoes, ticks/lyme disease, worms, and most noticeably – the coronavirus.

In our human world, quality of our relationships can be explored through this same lens. Some food for thought:

Mutualism is a win-win; Faculative Symbiosis is a win-win also, not a need, but a choice. Obligate Parasite, aka coronavirus can only live on a live host – major Lose for us, Win for the virus. Independent Non-symbiosis is living side by side with no effect on each other.
  • Friends who always check on you and listen without judgement while you talk: Mutualism at it’s best!
  • Those of us isolated with friends and family by choice are now living examples of Faculative Symbiosis, relating and benefiting out of choice, not need. (yea to my cousins who I’m staying with!)
  • Covid-19, the coronavirus is a prime example of an Obligate Parasite, a parasite unable to survive without a living host (unlike a mosquito or tick which can).
  • Non-symbiosis, living independently of each other was once the norm in large cities, especially here in the USA. I think Coronavirus has proven, in the harshest, loudest, way, we do not live independently from neighbors we never talk to, and/or interact with.

This virus has shown us how small the world is; how connected we are to people next door and across the world. Our 4 key relationships, focused through biology’s symbiosis lens, will help create mutualism, less parasitism. A true silver lining and a reason to take action.

Covid-19’s parasitic relationship means it needs living things to survive. Washing hands and masking your mouth and nose creates a barrier for this parasitic virus to make its home in you. Stay safe and let’s all follow guidelines!

When we walk out of our isolation, let it be to a re-created life filled with meaning; a life that will will ‘fill’ us up without filling up shopping carts on-line, and adding to debt. Let’s strengthen our souls and wallets and focus on relationships. For those of us that have the luxury of time now, let’s explore how to build strong relationships that will guide us to healthy and rich living!

Chatting with friends – or ‘Self’: Think about these 4 key relationships, examining interactions.

  • Rate your interaction on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) with each of the 4 key relationships. In each of these relationships is there more mutualism, commensalism, or parasitism, and, what does that mean to you.
  • Which of these relationships can you work on this week? What are 3 steps you can take to make it more of win-win mutualistic?

If you’re stressed about work, money, and all you’re NOT doing, remember relationships enrich – and determine our wealth.

Enjoy ‘self’ and ‘others’, even if frustrated with them about now. Reach out to people regularly. Tell people you are thinking of them and love them. Wash hands – mask – keep social distance – and smile!

“A man's friendships are one of the best measures of his worth.” - Charles Darwin is a wonderful site: I get a daily email with an inspiring quote and a few stories always worth checking out.
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