Author Archive

NZ Crown Jewels for Sale to the Highest Bidder

22/01/2019

Half a Million Hectares, Sold
From Stuff.co.nz
New Zealanders have paid $65m to get rid of some of our most treasured landscapes, through an obscure process critics have described as a vast wave of privatization. Wealthy foreigners are snapping up valuable land once owned by the public, who in some cases paid to dispose of it. As gated estates and manicured golf courses spread through our wild places,  Charlie Mitchell investigates for Stuff.co.nz: Who owns the high country? Read more here…

Damper Bay, Paddock and Glendu Bay

Not far from the site of a new development for the very wealthy, golf course included. Here’s a shot prior to all that.

 

Editor’s Note: A bit of disclosure – My wife is South African, and I’m a Yank, and we bought an existing house and small bit of land in Hawea. So I’m guilty by association only in that I’m American. I believe in living lightly. We have an off-the-grid home and retreat centre, with gravity fed water and a small house. The scale and rate at which foreigners are snapping up New Zealand’s high country is appalling, and appears to be changing the very values of the country, by gentrification.

In Support of Time Out – The Kiwi Way

22/01/2019

In a busy world where taking time off is a difficult thing, it may be the most important thing.

I come from the Northeastern U.S., where there’s a strong “New England work ethic”, where if you’re not busy, you’re not amounting to anything. OK, a slight exaggeration, but there is an expectation of achieving, of going to one of the Ivy League Schools, and getting a respectable career with benefits.  Instead, I became a mountain guide. After graduating from the University of Utah, and an early career in the ski boot business I took a sharp left turn into the mountains and never returned, except for leading corporate team building programs for Outward Bound for a few years.

I’ve been living in New Zealand for over 10 years but a few exchanges on the phone last week really rocked me. I finally got an unexpected peek into Kiwi psyche about healthy priorities, of balancing work and spending quality down-time with family and friends,  taking a time out.

We’re really busy during the summer holiday season here in the Wanaka area. We run an off-the-grid Secluded Sanctuary called Mountain Spirit, which includes a BnB. We’re ramping up to run health and wellness programs on our land, and we run Lake Wanaka Yacht Charters. So the Christmas season is full-on for my wife and I and our 7yr old son as well.

We decided to block off  a couple of days right after Christmas, and take an  overnight on the charter boat to Lake Wanaka’s Paddock Bay to unplug. The inevitable happened when we got a few inquiries during that time for boat charters. When I explained we were taking some much needed time off, despite the holiday season being our busy time, without exception the callers responded with, “Good on ya, you need to pay attention to that family and take that time off. We’ll check in with you later.” (Which they did). Correct me if I’m wrong, (you Americans, from the NorthEast), if you were the caller would you not be surprised that a vendor was taking time off, and wouldn’t you think he was expected to be open and available when you call.? Instead of the “Good on ya”,  if my memory serves, the first response would not be one of support, rather: “Are you sure you can’t be available for tomorrow”? or, “Why are you not open?”

It was an eye opener. Three separate callers actually took it in stride and said “Of course you’re taking time off, have a good one.”

Not to slam Americans or anything, but it’s almost a cliche at this point – And God love Americans for all that we are, but taking a slow long holiday is not one of them. The American system is set up for a two week vacation, max. And that does not do justice to the country in which you’re visiting. It’s a bit of an insult actually. 

Time off during the busy season

Spending time with family on the boat when our To Do list is growing. Damn the torpedoes and head out anyway.

The only way to get more time off from the American workplace is to quit, or set up a longer travel itinerary between jobs, or be a CEO. So we can’t find fault with individual Americans, or can we?  I’m not sure – all I know is I was surprised to finally experience being given permission to take time off. I’ve been conditioned not to take time off.  To have someone say “it’s OK”,  is a eye opener for an American.

For those of us that made recreation our jobs, and travel came with the territory, we were lucky enough to be exposed to different perspectives in the world. It’s not just the Kiwi’s who value taking time off , more than do Americans. Most of the world does.

It’s All About Connecting

05/01/2019

Our mission at Mountain Spirit is about “facilitating connection to one’s self, each other and the natural world.” Yesterday, here in New Zealand,  I Children at Mountain Spirit, enjoying chicken energysnapped this shot of my son and couple of our guests cradling one of our chickens in the nearby hammock. The hammock happens to be next to the “chicken tractor” (movable chicken house) so at the moment so makes for fun relaxing hangout with chickens all underfoot.  The guests loved the chickens and were were visiting with them every spare moment. Connecting with nature is vital for children, whether it’s going for a walk in the woods, on a mountain ridge, taking them sailing or just spending time helping them collect the chickens’ eggs.  A good book about children and nature, mentioned quite a few times in this blog is Last Child in the Woods, by R. Louv, but there are also newer titles in print as well.

Back in the Saddle – Mountain Spirit’s Blog

02/01/2019

Kirtana Performs 1st Time on New Zealand’s South Island

08/02/2015

Kirtana photo for Art of HealingMountain Spirit near Wanaka, will be hosting Kirtana, a California-based singer/songwriter will be who performs at events with speakers such as Eckhart Tolle, Gangaji and Geneen Roth. She comes to the South Island for the first time to share her contemporary, sacred songs. She will be performing at St. Columba’s Anglican Church on Sunday, 12th, April from 3:00pm-5:00pm in Wanaka

Described as a ‘brilliant poet, marvelous songwriter and accomplished guitarist’, Kirtana best describes both her music and her purpose in sharing it is to “celebrate divine love and the truth of who we are.”

Randall and Amanda Richards, of Mountain Spirit, the newly created retreat centre, say, “We’re really excited to have Cover unseen graceKirtana come to the South Island and share her music with us. It will be our first event. We’re still working on infrastructure  on our land and permitting for other programs, so we were not quite open to host the event on-site.  So when the Anglican Church agreed to have the event at their church, we knew it would be a great venue.”

Kirtana says she is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her music and divine exploration in concert with Kiwis. She will be performing songs from her newest CD “Unseen Grace”

Says Onethemagazine.com, “Kirtana has become one of the most highly sought after modern-day minstrels of non-dual awakening. Her voice and lyrics reach with vulnerable longing for the heart of God, while at the same time transmitting the discovery of that, the opening to that, and the final consummation within it.”

Kirtana bwTickets are $30 in advance, ($35 on the day). With a “Group of 5 offer” at $125 and can be purchased over the phone at Mountain Spirit 03-443-5669 or online at Eventafinda.co.nz  For more information call 03-443-5669 or go to the event webpage at mtnspirit.co.nz

El Albergue grows into Organics/Sustainability

13/12/2014

Joaquín Randall, owner of El Albergue in Ollantaytambo, shares, in the recent video, the latest developments evolving around  experiential educational stays, sustainability, organics and cultural sensitivity at his lodge in the Sacred Valley of Peru.  Mountain Spirit collaborated a bit with Sr. Randall some years ago, so we can recommend a stay at El Albergue. Keep up the good Joaquin.

El Albergue, in Peru delivers a good stay, experientially based ed, and sustainability.

El Albergue, in Peru delivers a good stay, experientially based ed, and sustainability.

The End of the Everest Myth

28/04/2014

By Katie Ives
From Alpinist Magazine
We all know the Myth. We’ve heard it told and retold hundreds of times, in “motivational” speeches exhorting audiences to “climb your personal Everest,” in press releases announcing the latest person to summit for the latest reason, in corporate metaphors hailing the qualities required to overcome whatever obstacles stand in the way of “success” on the world’s highest peak.

Everst Myth

Everest – Khumbu Icefall

As climbers and as readers of mountain literature, we’re also familiar with attempts to communicate the realities behind the Everest Myth. We’ve seen decades of accounts about the crowds of clients on the normal routes and about the extensive reliance on the ropes fixed, the camps placed, the oxygen bottles carried and the loads hauled by local workers. Some of us have argued in print and online that this form of “totally supported” ascent is not “climbing,” Read the rest of this story at Alpinist’s site…

IMAGE: Mark Rosen/Wikimedia Commons

12 REGLAS Para Tocar en una Banda

28/04/2014

Band Chimu Inka,  Cusco, Circa 2003

Banda Chimu Inka, Cusco, Circa 2003

1 . Cada uno debe desempeñar la misma pieza .
2. Observar los signos de repetición sólo si lo que acabas de jugar era interesante.
3. Si toca una nota equivocada , mirar a uno de los otros jugadores.
4. La nota correcta , en el momento equivocado , es una nota falsa . ( Y viceversa ).
5. Una nota equivocada , jugó tímidamente , es una nota falsa .
6. Una nota equivocada , interpretada con autoridad, no es más que tu interpretación de la frase .7. Si todo el mundo se perdió, sino que , seguir los que se pierden .
8. Esfuércese siempre para jugar el máximo notas por segundo. Esto intimidará los jugadores más débiles y que ganar la admiración de los ignorantes.
9. Las marcas de ligaduras , dinámica y alteraciones deben ser completamente ignorados. Ellos están allí sólo para poner el mirar más complicado.
10. Si un pasaje es difícil , más despacio. Si es fácil , acelerar . Todo va a igualar a sí misma en el final.
11. Has logrado una verdadera interpretación cuando , al final, no has jugado una nota de la pieza original.
12. Cuando todo el mundo se detiene la reproducción, usted debe parar también . No juegues las notas que pueden haber dejado de nuevo.

Listen to the Music – Change the World

28/04/2014

The Creation of a Song Can Change the World

Doobie Brothers' Tom Johnston at Elvis Costello in Queenstown, New Zealand, April 2014

Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston and Elvis Costello in Queenstown, New Zealand, April 2014

I’m here to kindly challenge a comment  Doobie Brothers singer/songwriter Tom Johnston made about his song “Listen to the Music” in an interview with SongFacts. If you’ve not heard the tune, you’re probably mistaken. You have, and just didn’t know it.  It’s been on top radio lists (topped the charts at #11) and has been heard in advertising for major brands and is one of the most uplifting songs written.

Last night we saw the Doobie Brothers in Queenstown New Zealand at the Queenstown Blues and Roots Festival. It was a great experience.  I used to drive many highway miles in my college days from the East Coast to Utah,  listening to their music, so seeing them live for the first time 40 years later was full-circle experience.

The Doobie Brothers’ first hit was written by the band’s lead vocalist Johnston, who also played guitar on the track.  Johnston described the motivation for the song as a call for world peace:
“The chord structure of it made me think of something positive, so the lyrics that came out of that were based on this utopian view of the world.

“The idea was that music would lift man up to a higher plane, and that world leaders, if they were able to sit down on some big grassy knoll where the sun was shining and  just listened to the music – such as the type I was playing – would figure out that everybody had more in common than they had not in common, and it was certainly not worth getting in such a bad state of affairs about.

“Everybody in the world would therefore benefit from this point of view. Just basically that music would make everything better. The world would be a much better place. And of course I’ve since kind of realized it doesn’t work that way.  It was very utopian and very unrealistic. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

I think Johnston might have been a bit premature in that assessment.

Mark Laurent Singer Songwriter

Mark Laurent
Singer Songwriter

Auckland New Zealand recording artist Mark Laurent  writes in a song on track 2 of his album Undergrowth,
Everything we do, matters somewhere,
You let the cat jump out of the bag,
It hits the floor running and never looks back,

I’m gonna pick up this ball point pen, I’m going to change the world,
I play the chord and I play it again, I’m going to change the world,”

This adds fuel to the creative fire and idea, that words and music do indeed change the world and that Johnston’s intent in writing Listen tot the Music,  is actually being realized. To the untrained eye, it might seem hard to see sometimes, but by focusing on what is good in the world, actually we see that humankind is on the brink of colossal change for the better, evolution and at the same time upheaval.  The Hundredth Monkey Effect  is right at our doorstep.  The tipping point, when we’ll really be living fully in a humane, compassionate and just world is happening before our eyes.

The energy is changing throughout the world. Check out Where the Hell is Matt if you’ve not seen it yet, for a powerful video with regular people dancing from all over the world, set to very timely music which was written for the video. THAT sort of thing was simply not possible a few years ago. There is no way the old order can survive such positive vibes.

Pat Simmons and son performing Listen to the Music, Queenstown, NZ

Pat Simmons and son performing Listen to the Music, Queenstown, NZ

Speaking of positive vibes, when the Doobie Brothers played Listen to the Music as their encore, I could just feel a wave of energy. Call it what you want, but “that is powerful medicine”, as spiritual teacher Sun Bear used to say.

Co-lead band member Patrick Simmons also was putting out great vibes on stage.  “He must do inner work of some sort” I thought to myself,  as I saw him play the evening out. He seemed perfectly at home in his own skin playing on stage.  Probably, he’s just as peaceful off stage as he appears on stage, unlike a lot of rock stars, as witnessed by the tabloids, (not that I read them).

As I used to be a wire services photographer, (UPI) I usually take my camera to events, and caught a shot of Simmons sharing the microphone with a young performer. We thought it might have been one of the buskers who had played earlier, who had been  invited up on stage. It seemed to make a good shot, so I took few and sent them off the Doobie Brothers’ website. I got a quick reply and was informed the young performer is Simmons’ son Patrick Jr, who is doing good work on the music scene in his own right in Hawaii.  Maybe we can get him to come down to our Mountain Spirit Secluded Sanctuary here in Hawea/Wanaka to do a workshop sometime.

So, listen to the music everyone, and change the world. And to Tom Johnston…keep writing!

Images: Queenstown shots: R. Richards | Mark Laurent from his webpage
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned as I find some links for these songs.

 

 

 

An Introduction to Awakening

21/04/2014

The tide turns

The tide turns

By Zen Gardner

The waking up process is a very personal experience. Once we become aware of the existence of a fabricated world we thought to be real and that our true nature is anything but what we’ve been told, there’s no turning back.

It may appear to be a lonely path, but we are by no means alone in this awakening. It is happening in all walks of life. Whether a banker or corporate employee wakes up to the scam being perpetrated on humanity and pulls out of the matrix, or a normal taxpaying worker realizes they’re contributing to a military industrial machine hell bent on control and world domination, we’re all the same.

Leadership in Chaos

Leadership in Chaos

And those are just surface issues compared to the deliberate suppression of man’s innate spiritual nature, whether we call it social liberty or the freedom to create and manifest as we truly are.
Triggers for Awakening

There are many such triggers that wake people up. Once someone realizes how the world was scammed on 9/11 and that the powers that be are willing to perpetrate such atrocities to promote their agenda, the digging begins. When we realize we’re at the complete mercy of parasitic central bankers more than willing to not only implode the world’s economy, but finance both sides of any conflict for personal gain and control and that our governments are complicit in this scheme, we start to grasp the enormity of what befalls us.

That we have rapidly evolved into an advanced militarized surveillance police state is driving many to ask some hard questions – and the answers can be startling and difficult to swallow, especially when you realize they have cut off all avenues of recourse.

Meditation in Action

Meditation in Action

Another major issue is that it’s more evident by the day that our very health is under attack, again by complicit government and multinational corporations pushing GMOs, adulterated food, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, atmospheric aerosols and the like, all of which have been proven to be extremely hazardous to humanity. Yet they push harder by the day, mandating program after destructive program. Meanwhile, natural and organic farming and foods, as well as supplements, are under intense attack by these very same perpetrators.

The truth about these issues and many, many more including massive planet harming programs such as fracking, electrosmog, and the geoengineering assault on humanity are driving a major perceptual paradigm shift amongst all walks of life as we delve more deeply into who is doing all this and why.

Back Room Politics

Back Room Politics

There Is No “They” – Oh Really?

This is often the final breakthrough point for many people. As the true picture starts to crystallize, the horrific realization that the “powers that be” are fundamentally a clandestine cabal with front men comes into focus. These are powerful minions, Read the rest of this story..