Transitioning to Zero Waste and Minimalism: Part I



Minimalism – Reducing, Reusing and Recycling stuff

One of my biggest tasks has been reducing everything I own. To do that I’ve asked myself:

“If I were to pick up and move today because of some natural disaster knowing everything would be destroyed – what would I keep and what would I leave behind?”

This question came up many years ago for me when I left home, at the time the most important things to me were my books, notebooks, my cd collection and my dvds/vhs’ with a few clothes. Everything else like beds, drawers and chairs could be replaced. Clothes I reasoned could be worn until they were no longer wearable – I was a teenager when I left home with nothing but a sack of clothes. I’m almost 30 now and still have those same clothes – though not for long.

Going Digital: Converting books into ebooks, cds into mp3s, and dvds/vhs’ into mp4s

Back then harddrives with good storage that stored ebooks and music or video collections, the availability of streaming services like Netflix weren’t available. Online services that I utilized to store many of my music collections ended up deleting everything and so I ended up losing what few things I did store online.

Today with the exception of a few collections I’ve given away most of my videos and music, and converted most of my books into ebooks. I miss the feeling of holding a book and turning the page but for right now the few books I’ve decided to keep are instructional guides. Giving up and letting go of my handheld books was the hardest bit for me.

Going Furniture Free: Multipurpose and Portable Furniture

I’ve never been too fond of furniture so my goal has been to convert all my furniture into portable surfaces. I’m a big proponent of leaving furniture behind and just getting new furniture when I go someplace new. I prefer furniture that collapses down, can be stored in a closet or folded up with multiple functions.

January 2017 The Garden Challenge New Year’s Resolution

Back in 2017 I decided that the economy I wanted to build would be based around self-sustainability / self-sufficiency. Getting people to grow their own food and building an entire virtual economy. I had spent that previous year exploring virtual currency and it’s use cases when integrated into games that took place in the real world similar to Alternate Reality Games (don’t worry if these words sound foreign – they’re not important). I wanted to create a network and food delivery system that helped people make income from home, while also helping to feed people who had no food – while also equipping them with the tools they need to grow their own food without effort or work.

The basic idea was that anything we did sell would be used to build bigger and better systems, with the rest being set aside in a treasury to fund the services and benefits that would enable us to offer food and housing support to all people. For it to work it had to be easy for people to do. In such a system Guardians would build and develop the backbone. They’d live sustainably, they would receive in financial resources only what they needed to live, and would offer housing and support to each other on shared land, very much similar to Buddhist Monasteries or Amish Societies – except we embrace and merge electronics with our work. While most people are curious about the community I’ve been working to build around the Guardian philosophy the overall gist is – I practice Buddhism and Daoism, I had my own ideas for what that looked like and developed a philosophy based on these concepts built around living our lives in a way that heals our wounds and supports us while simultaneously helping and supporting others.

The idea then was I’d design and develop and even build an automated food and water system they needed for free, under the promise that if this service helped them they would pay it forward. In this system whenever you paid it forward you would receive points called Hero Points which granted you benefits. Scholarships, financial assistance, and even a co-op like health care system. I thought if companies like Walmart or virtual currencies like bitcoin could be worth billions, even just millions think of all the good we could do if we eliminated waste and built a service who used funds to help people in need beyond just a care package but long-term, to create food , housing and mental health security.

In the beginning I was afraid to charge money for things so wanted to give everything away for free; but then I realized in our consumerist society where people are willing to spend $400 on a gaming system – that people who have the means to are willing to spend money on things they care about. And since money is needed to build and reinvest into the system I’m trying to build I began to feel a bit more comfortable about the idea of accepting money for services – this allows me to work towards building an alternative system that others can benefit for.

You can learn more about what the concept evolved into by taking a look at the “Quantum Economy“. It’s very wordy and doesn’t explain the system that I developed for income distribution and so on; but it gives an overall picture for what’s going on right now.

It has to be said that I didn’t go in this alone. In the beginning I tried getting a group of people to work together but I struggled to express the broad ideas, while also managing my own journey on top of others on top of some other personal challenges that made engaging with people on a daily basis difficult. So my goal has become to build it first and then gradually include others when milestones are met.

Gardening Prep

It all began with a “Garden” and needing some soil….


Converting Notebooks into Compost: Collecting Notebooks – 2017 March

I had notebooks spanning from 1995 to 2016, most of them were journals but a lot of them were worlds I had built after my MS Dos crashed with all my writing. Some of the writing was good, most of it was bad, and all of it became the foundation for much of my fiction and world building that I have today. Most of my notebooks did not fit into those two boxes there and I still have a small stack of notebooks containing this past 3 years notes on everything I’ve learned, and another box of notebooks elsewhere.

I knew I didn’t just want to throw them into a recycling bin – emotionally it wasn’t easy to envision them in the trash heap – it felt a lot like saying good bye to someone who had died. The young version of me who had written these stories and wrote in these journals. The older version of me was able to learn from those times, but who I was then is not who I am now, and who I am now is not who I will be tomorrow. I felt if I were to die I would want to be composted, given back to nature without any barriers or layers.

So the decision was made; I would be composting the notebooks.

Converting Notebooks into Compost: Shredding Notebooks with a Shredder – 2017 March

At first I tried shredding all the paper – it didn’t take long for my shredder to die on me. Not only that but the bin ended up knocked over and the cleaning lady swept them all up and – they ended up in the trash heap anyway. I never did buy a new shredder. I thought of putting them together and letting them collect rain and then chopping them up – but never got around to it.

1 Year Hold – March & May Keyhole Garden

So for about 1 year the books sat there in a corner waiting for me to get it together. Meanwhile I focused on designing my economy, my ecosystem all the things I was trying to build. That began with this keyhole garden.

Initially I had tried using wood but turns out you can’t put flat wood on the ground like that; so this time I began collecting cardboard. Looking back on it now I never factored in the “Tape” connected to this cardboard. So now when I garden while the cardboard has mostly composted even with some grass growing in it, there are bits of tape left behind.

Figure 1 – March 2017

There are a few mistakes I made here. The tape mentioned being one of them; but also planting way too close to the tree with its competing roots – some of which do seem to be in the garden itself. The second problem I had was that though I had lived in this home for a few years my plan was to move out by 2020, so the idea of leaving behind a massive garden that would grow to be a raised garden bed might not be appreciated by anyone buying the house later. Another problem I had was that I had initially thought I could build this in March and be planting during the spring 2017 – this entire thing took 1 year to build. Why? SOIL.

My goal was to build a garden that basically tended to and watered itself. It was a low-maintenance garden, one I couldn’t kill. What I didn’t factor in was the cost of importing and moving soil to fill the entire thing up. My goal had been a garden that cost next to nothing to build and here I was discovering that layering the grass with cardboard (smothering) required soil. So I had to wait until I could throw in some leaves. I can’t recall how I got the first layer of leaves in May when this photo was taken but I ended up having to wait until Fall to add a thick layer of leaves to the garden. I didn’t take any pictures in fall of the large mass of leaves that ended up being in there but it was pretty thick.

Figure 2 – May 2017

I was worried I wouldn’t be able to plant at the end of the year because of the cardboard at the bottom – About 1 year later in 2018 of January I had a garden that was growing weeds and so if it could grow weeds I was certain it could grow my vegetables.

Figure 3 – January 2018

You can see some Dwarf Lily or Mondo Grass invading my garden. It ended up within the garden itself, so I placed a layer of cardboard over it and within a few days it died.

Now for deciding what to plant…

Needless to say my plan for prepping a garden and growing food in 3 months didn’t work, it ended up taking me 1 year to get that together. As of today the outdoor garden is ready to plant and I plan on working on an indoor garden for growing Mycelium and Mushrooms (particularly king oysters, blue oysters, and lion’s mane. Mushrooms have a bit of a learning curve to them, so I plan to focus on them in the Summer; Kitchen Herbs, Medicinal herbs like Schizandra, and passionflower, as well as vegetables I eat are on my top list but that’s only half the battle – I still have to figure out zero waste packaging, licensing and what I have to do to actually store these foods and where to sell them.

What fresh foods I don’t sell will be composted and I’m thinking of canning, freezing, and/or focusing on herbal teas, soaps, and the like. So more to come on that journey as well.

Converting Notebooks into Compost: Shredding Notebooks Vermicomposting – 2018 January

Sometime in January a year too late, I realized I could make my own compost year round. I was already composting vegetable scraps in the garden itself, but I didn’t have a system where I collected it in actual bins; and I didn’t realize the joys of vermicomposting and…vermiponics. This past month between January and February has been dedicated to worms and composting. There’s a lot to share here, mistakes made, things learned and more.

All of that will be written about in Part 2.

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The Hero Challenge: Planning & Conception


Lessons from the Hero Campaign

It’s taken a long time to discover the direction of this blog, each day I understand it a little bit more. – S. K Murghein, “Leaf”

My Mission this year is to take everything I’ve learned over the past few years and bring it altogether to off grid. For those who weren’t here during the original days of this blog, you might have noticed I cycled a lot between topics. Some months I focused on digital currency and sharing tips related to mindset; other months I focused on the digital economy I was trying to create to directly tackle income inequality and automation. On the other hand you might have also been around when Zenratstudios started out as a nonprofit game and book publishing company trying to show people there is more that meets the eye than ‘just a game and book publishing company’. There may have even been some who were there when I focused on sharing education; as an autodidact who has been committed to teaching myself as much as possible I’ve often wanted to share what I learned. In my day to day life I have stacks of 500 page thematic notebooks containing notes after notes of things I’ve learned over time; and a means to integrate it all together into a single system.

For a long time I believed I needed to have a lot of money to achieve independency from the grid while building a sustainable infrastructure; but then I came to realize that just like my philosophies on everything else you can start small and scale up. My motto has always been if you can’t take $1 and turn it into $5 and $5 and turn it into $50+ then you’re not going to take $600 and turn it into $50,000 or even more than that. This same philosophy works with everything you do, be it starting a small business or beginning something new. I realized recently that this holds true for everything, including the project I had to “save the world, one person at a time”.

Instead of trying to recruit people to work with me; I needed to spend more time working out exactly what I was doing, what I wanted to say and how. And I needed to do so in one page or less, once I could communicate to people without convoluted text. The next thing I needed to do was tackle why I had failed to hold and keep together a team in spite of others expressing interest in what I do. I blamed it on two things: Poor communication and Limited Resources to Barter.

The problem with running any organization is you end up having many mouths to feed. Your family as well as the people who want to join you but also need to earn a living too. You always need something to offer; be it a place to live, free food, financial resources or other. All I had was a vision and I struggled to express that right. Following the principals of Kaizen I began to realize my primary focus needed to be: Supporting and organizing myself, then gradually scaling up to include others. And only as much as one can manage.

The most beautiful realization I had was the realization that I didn’t need an army of people to support me right off the block; I needed to build something small, sustainable, and scalable for just me, use that to generate more income and scale up. Whatever I did had to be scalable and had to be something I could do with my family, so that we spent more time together than apart. It also had to be able to solve other people’s problems. Trading digital currency was off the table. The vast majority interested in what I was doing were only interested in getting rich quick schemes, they struggled to develop the zen mindset that I was teaching, and it took away from my family. It also was not inclusive or recommendable towards those who are in poverty or low-income situations the type of people I want to work with. Gardening, waste management and shelter production is my current solution; and I don’t need to have land to do it.….

I can lead by example.


My 1st challenge: Naming The Challenge


This is part of my challenge series. I’ve played with different ideas for what to call it. Zero Waste Challenge…no that doesn’t work because my mission is more than just Zero Waste. Gardening Challenge for the Lazy Gardener…nope that’s not it. Sustainability challenge? Well that’s a loaded term. What about Construction? Since I’ll be learning how to build teardrop trailers, tiny houses, and earthbag houses along the way.

I could call it the “Guardian Challenge” but no one would know what a Guardian is but me and my family; and then what if the term caught on and people began using it without realizing that the Guardian philosophy is a spiritual lifestyle that serves for the foundation of my life. The Hero Challenge on the other hand would be the appropriate term because it refers to anyone regardless of philosophy, spiritual or religious beliefs. The truth is all Guardian’s are actually “Heroes” who have dedicated their lifestyle and way of life to serving in a reciprocal self-supporting environment; so this blog series will be called “The Hero Challenge”.


My 2nd Challenge: Making Complex Communication a series of Unfolding Pictures that reveal over time the full plan

Be sustainable and self-sufficient – Learn skills – monetize skills – build an inclusive sustainable digital economy – create resources for those in need – show through pictures

My problem is that I struggle to communicate and express in vocabulary terms what I’m doing. So…I’m going to take pictures of my projects. I’m going to share them like pieces of puzzles on a map; and allow others interested in the journey to see how it all begins to unfold. How Education, Community, Governance, Philosophy and Economy all come together into a single center to form a whole utilizing Zero Waste Sustainability principals. The idea of how two communities with differing ways of lives Guardians, Heroes and Future Heroes can all interact together and even what that means.

I’m going to think of this blog like a game, a puzzle piece for others to solve and put together. I’ve written plenty of information about what I’m trying to do but it’s only a fraction and not as well written as it could be. At this point I’m going to document the journey as a blog or map. My goal is not to tell you what I’m doing, or to help explain how it all works but to show you in action in example; while also taking you on the journey of how I build it.

When in researching and planning mode pictures can be schematics, drawings, sketches; but when in building mode pictures define the process of unfolding objects.

I won’t purchase a new camera for this; I’ll just use my phone or old digital camera I have and take pictures of unfolding things that way.


My 3rd Challenge: Not being afraid to share changes in direction

In the past I would start and pursue projects and campaigns and then fail. But this time this is not a campaign but a personal challenge. One where I lead by example; and once I establish something, I can challenge others to do the same and work with me; I just have to show how it works. When I was trying to lead an organization I would often cycle between different learning projects… when people were following me that was hard; but not only am I not going to be afraid of cycling in my personal challenge; I’m going to also share projects and ideas that work and ones that fail; and how I address those challenges.

Here is an example.

My first plan this past month was to build a teardrop trailer out of cardboard lumber and mycelium insulation that I grew myself. The goal was to use it to store my bell tent and some plants to grow and travel around WWOOFing, work-exchanging, or utilizing camping to program and relax in nature. A semi-indefinite traveller. My main focus would have been continuing to learn how to program and growing plants. Needless to say the teardrop trailer was too small and it didn’t account for some other issues related to social anxiety and extreme climate.

My new plan is to finish building my garden, to be zero waste, and use the byproducts I create to sell and create buy-back programs or options for people to collect food waste and pay them for that waste the way one might pay for scrap metal. While I can’t do buy-backs and offer incentives for waste collection just yet (and where I live that requires a license), what I can do is build my garden and produce compost from my home and sell it on the roadside, at farmer’s markets, online, and in other places. I could also continue building my teardrop trailer and either use it for selling my produce, or I could sell the teardrop trailer.

My 4th Challenge: Making it all a Game That Others can Join

One idea is to integrate these plans into my Hero campaign itself offering people Hero points for whenever they purchase from me; offering ways for them to earn money back from those points; or if they share it with others. Maybe even free fruits and vegetables the more points the earn, and if they donate it to someone in need even more incentives. And perhaps even to include nominating a hero in this system itself. I could make it a game and insert little stories and puzzles or even challenges into each purchase (because as a game developer I really can’t help wanting to insert some game element into something). I can design it like an ARG (alternate reality game), except that there is no ‘alternate reality’ there’s just this reality, making our lives more fun. Even if people don’t know what it means they really don’t have to, that’s part of the cool part. Just like my original idea I can include the ability to level up and earn ranks and all sorts of fun features.

Part of the game is that you don’t have to understand me to play. It just has to feel fun and be rewarding.

So the Hero Challenge will definitely take the format of a personalized game with its own board and rule book and a means to recruit other players in day to day life. I’m confident there will be Guardians who have their own story to tell the one being played out in this blog; and Heroes the people they interact with.

I have to explore this idea some more; but the thing I need to remember is it’s ok to document the journey and make it a game, and to make part of the game the ability to say, you know what this isn’t working; and to share with others what I can do to fix it and how I tackled to fix it; not as an invite for judgment but as an example to one person’s solution for change.


My 5th Challenge: Sharing a new Mindset for What True Abundance Is (Minimalism and Value Creation)

I want to help build a system that isn’t dependent on money and system: the overall money traps our system creates. I want to create a refuge where people work together not from a place of wanting to live lavishly in a yacht, but where lavish and abundance is founded in a place of minimalism not consumerism. For me the Guardian Philosophy I designed was built to tackle this for myself; to do this I need to find a way to build an inclusive economy and scale up over time sure, but the biggest thing I need to do is tackle mindset by showing mindset. To me wealth comes from minimalism, it comes from investment in assets, and the most important asset is ‘yourself’. Learning skills and using them. Vocational training to me as I apply it is really just a fancy way of saying becoming an asset that can turn things around us into assets. Every asset requires investment and so instead of a consumerist ‘money’ mindset an investment asset, where what we receive isn’t always ‘money’ the middle-man but the things we want from money directly.

Shelter, Food, Water; and then using that money not to retire and sip martinis on some yacht somewhere or live in a lavish house – no that’s not wealth to me that’s poverty. It’s a person who needs material status to express their worth. To me true wealth manifests differently, it manifests in the societies we create and the scale of how those societies impact others. It manifests in so many ways that in this moment I can’t express… but my pictures in time will.

My 6th Challenge: Writing a blog post about the Hero Challenge and the rules of the game for myself

Because this one aint it :D.

2,193 Words

Phase N: Breaking the disabled Mindset

The Beginning

“A Person cannot be disabled, the technologies that exist are what is broken.” – Hugh Herr

I was still a small child, not even out of kindergarten when I determined “I was broken.” I believed deeply that something was greatly wrong with me, that my brain was wrong. I experienced and felt the world differently than others seemed to feel it. My maternal grandmother was a nurse and so she had a lot of medical books. I said, “When I grow up I’m going to become a neurologist so I can fix myself.” I read everything I could, psychology books, anatomy, encyclopedias, medical books, looking to find the pieces in my brain that weren’t right. Likewise I spent years in therapy trying to figure out what I could do to help me.

“In an insane world a sane man, must pretend to be insane”. – Alien Quadrilogy

Around the time I hit my preteens I began to wonder, maybe I’m not broken, maybe the rest of the world is broken. And so I set off on a mission to discover a medium I could use to help “save” the world. As a child I used fantasy and world-building to escape and cope with the painful reality of my tormented mind and youth. Fiction and writing were my ways to escape the pain of not only the outside world but of myself too; by age 16 I could fairly say that the fantasy world I lived in was so thick that any attempt to offer me glimpses of the real world would lead me in a mangled mess of tears and deeper withdrawal. All I knew about the real world was that the pain overridded the joy and that I could feel all of that pain so deeply as though what was happening in the world outside of me, was happening to me directly. I wanted to make that pain stop.

“Reality is broken and games can fix it.” – Jane Mcgonigal

I didn’t speak to other people much, but around highschool this all began to change and I slowly began to devise solutions for both healing myself and healing the world. One solution I had was to take my insights, and my fantasy worlds and turn them into games. Story centric games with RPG elements could be designed to heal our wounds, we could save the world, one person one ‘you’ at a time. That was my motto. I began studying programming and game development, and eventually went to college for this degree. While in college I discovered Jane Mcgonigal another person who had the same ideas that I did, except that she was already established as a Game Developer. To that end Zenratstudios was founded with games in mind, in turn my games were founded with stories in mind, a particular set of stories involving snake-haired women as Guardians. From my stories and elaborate worlds built was where my strategy for healing myself began.

So how Zenratstudios went from novels, to games, to guardian philosophies, monasteries, sustainability, economies and A.I? It’s easy. I viewed all these things as mediums as technology and technology as Tools. To me it didn’t matter whether I reached out to the world through novels, games, bots or society which to me was just some other medium – all that mattered was that I created a tool that could be used to make the world a better life. Going from the pages of the books, to virtual reality, to real life just seemed natural progression. And though it was easy to get swept up on the global meaning of “Save The World”, what it really meant, what it always meant was how to make my life better for me, how to “Heal myself” and like a candle, or butterfly effect help others without ever making it my goal.

Society as a tool

I’ve lived my whole life believing I am broken. I couldn’t fit into societies shoe, and so I’ve worked hard to build my own custom made shoes. What I’m realizing now is that the world I see is a reflection of me, and I have never been broken to begin with. Likewise the collective of individuals like me who make up society, aren’t broken either. It’s the technologies we have come to use and rely on that are broken. Society as an example is a tool and reflection of the collective, a collection of technologies on wheels a spoke working together to control resources and make our lives ‘easier’. Society as it is does not support any individual who does not fit into a predetermined cutout it has defined for us. Disabilities exist as part of societies failure to build a society of inclusion, not just through accommodations but through better design that supports the health of the people it contains.

I believe when we live in the right environment, one that supports and nourishes our well-being, as well as equips individuals with the tools they need, customized to fit their own unique set of challenges and strengths; everyone thrives and wins. In such a world, disabilities no longer exist because like the plants and the insects and the animals in nature, we all have a purpose to serve and all return value in some way through our byproducts, the waste we create. Whether we are breathing, relieving ourselves, or expending energy to get from A to B we are always giving something we’ve taken back to the universe in a new form. What we excrete can be transformed and utilized as part of the cycle we need to live.

There are No Utopias, No such Utopia Exists

Some people think this is utopian. A supportive environment where people’s financial, physical and emotional needs are met; but that’s a false truth. All utopias are dystopias; they don’t exist. A supportive environment isn’t one where everyone’s ‘needs’ are met, but instead where the conditions for meeting those needs are present and more accessible; it’s an environment where people’s basic security needs are met, freeing people to focus on developing the emotional and mental interpersonal communication and coping skills, the mindset required to resolve conflict, process information and make decisions, to heal and to grow, to love and freedom and build self-supporting communities much like a reciprocal roof or a circle; where no one angle holds the weight of the world on its shoulders. It sounds utopian but it doesn’t resolve our biggest problem ‘ourselves’. Such a resolution is no easy task and can take many lifetimes, let alone the one.

My guardian philosophy, was designed for my own personal needs. What this philosophy is for me, was born from my penchant for world-building and story creation. I wanted to be the architect of my own world, so I used my fantasy worlds to explore tough concepts I was struggling with, concepts that caused me great pain and distress; and from those concepts built a world that I wanted to make real. First to make real as a game, and then as a lifestyle I live today. My biggest challenge has been myself. Moving from dreamer mode to building mode. Coping with feelings of apathy, walls I put up to protect me from pain. Coping with a desire to withdraw and shut myself away from people who may not always have my best interests at heart; choosing to manipulate or hurt me for their own self-gain indifferent of what I do or don’t do. My challenge has been making an active choice to control the only thing I can control, myself, and to live with compassion and an open-heart, to give myself and others around me the freedom to explore themselves without guilt or shame whether it be by me to them, or them to me; to focus on me and only me and my healing. Of telling myself I am worthy and loveable, and breaking through this feeling of imposter syndrome, of failure.

Hindrances and Challenges

“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree he will live his whole life believing he is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Fear of failure is a double edged sword; because for me at least on the other side is a fear of success. What if I succeed? This feeling of, wanting to succeed and then being one step close to it and stepping back saying. “I’m not ready to succeed”, because I don’t always feel capable of handling alone what that success means for me. The truth is I just make this stuff up as I go along, I don’t know what I’m doing. At times I suffer from paralyzing doubt and inaction. I start a million interwoven projects. Stopping, starting, and pausing. For every 9 failures I have 1 success. With failures being lessons learned and gained.

To this end I’ve broken my goals into two Phases. Phase I: Micro “Personal” Sustainability & Phase II: Macro “Community” Sustainability. But there is an “Nth” phase, a root phase; and that’s where I’m at now. I’m waiting for my tools required for my project to arrive at my doorstep, reading and applying as much of the knowledge as I can about mushroom insulation, worm composting and basic construction. Trying to find ways to get rid of all this ‘excess’ stuff I have and don’t need to be truly zero waste and minimalist.

Getting Started and maintaining the momentum is only half the battle, the rest of it is all in my head. In truth, a large part of what I do to heal and work through the noise inside my head, is pain and conflict management. Pain – be it emotional or physical whether from feelings of abandonment and loss – from things and ideas I’ve attached myself to, become linked to the awareness that we are mortal, that we all die and that without access to resources which take the form of people, things and skills we can’t survive. We have an aversion in the form of pain and fear of anything that will threaten our ability to survive long enough to reproduce – and so my task in life has been managing the pain and discomfort I feel and pushing through it with an open heart and palm.

The Ongoing Path

An open palm in a nutshell is to hold the world in my hand not with a tight fist or closed palm squeezed over it, but with an open palm that gives that which I love around me room to breathe. It’s the basic idea that it’s not attachment that is bad for us, but what we are attached to instead. Attachment to the material vs. immaterial, attachment to fears and insecurities, to things beyond our control, vs. our attachment to things that we can always control without ever having to manipulate it. Our attachment to our connection to universal oneness, our commitment to healing and loving. Our attachments to a way of living that allows us to go from rigid and on guard to open and relaxed, able to respond to life’s challenges rather than react to them.

Learning how to love with an open more compassionate heart, to give others and myself freedom to be and explore myself in nonviolent ways comes easier when our pain is managed. So a lot of what I do is reigning in that pain and instinctive reactions to that pain to live with more of an open heart. The second part of what I do to handle myself is conflict management. The inner and external conflict that exists within me. The battle to give in to self-protective desires and instincts, to cling to ideals and ways of being that don’t serve me or others. Interpersonal conflict and internal conflict triggered by external behaviour, and the desire to runaway from it all.

I view each conflict as lessons, and lessons as infinite. These lessons or conflicts repeat themselves in my life until the lesson I am meant to learn from them resolves themselves. New lessons or conflicts arise that show me I still have more to learn. Because I believe there are no masters, there are no final destinations, the journey for wisdom and peace is an infinite work in progress; and the path one can take in resolving conflict can be towards the path of closed fist or open palm. One of ignorance or one of wisdom.

Phase N

This is called Phase N, and it’s not a phase that will start and end but an ongoing process of starts and stops and maintenance. It’s funny because I have such great thoughts and strategies on how to live for myself, but practicing it and growing remains a work in progress. My awareness of what I need doesn’t seem to make me immune to being hindered by the challenges I have; and that’s why I spend a lot of time stopping and going and trying to maintain my growth instead of withering away. And while there is beauty in withering and death, like that of an autumn leaf; rebirth from the winter of death come spring…the type of death and rebirth I speak of is metaphorical. And so this is my journey. Phase N. Pushing through the muck for what appears to be an ongoing path made of eternity.

2,217 Words

How The Search Engine We Use Can Impact The World


We don’t really think about the decisions we make in our day to day life. Not the tiny ones at least. We wake up and we use products online that are available to us for free but are only free because we’re the product. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Airbnb, Uber — we use these products because they’re free, cheap or simply convenient. Each time we do a google search, each time we scroll facebook, each time we make a purchase at the grocery store, each time we throw out good food we make a vote with our money, our lifestyle.

Here is one small example of just one change out of many that can be implemented to help make a difference.


Search Engines: Ecosia

I personally love Google Search. It’s slick, it’s clean, it’s convenient to me. I don’t always agree with Google’s practices, but I don’t always feel like I have a choice either. As an example I don’t agree with the economic model Google and most corporations have. Every time I’ve tried to switch however I’ve been disappointed by the search engine results. They are often poor and the look and feel doesn’t feel clean. Periodically I research alternative search engines and try it out for 24-48 hours, sometimes a week. If the first search doesn’t bring up the same or better results that Google would bring then I throw it away and try another one. The most recent search engine I’ve discovered is Ecosia.

It’s a small thing but each time I use Google Search engine, google displays ads which give Google money. Google then reinvests it into itself, pays its employees in a hierarchy from a few k to several million and that’s the end of it. I choose Search engines that (1) respect my privacy and (2) redistributes the money in a way that helps those who need it. Ecosia takes the ad revenue it generates from your searches and uses 80% of it to plant trees. You can learn more about them: Here and here.


It wasn’t hard to switch to Ecosia. I simply changed my default search engine in my browsers search settings to ” “. The first thing I noticed when I switched is that the search page is very slick, clean and familiar to what I am used to (Google). Here is an example of what a simple search looks like:

I use an adblocker whenever I search websites. Whenever a site asks me to disable my adblocker so they can profit I feel for them, but I’m not usually moved enough to disable my ads to deal with an obnoxious or intrusive ads they may have. When I disable my ads on ecosia it says:



“Ads plant trees! We’ve detected that you are using an ad blocker. We plant trees thanks to income earned from ads. Please disable your ad blocker for Ecosia so that we can keep on planting. Don’t worry, we don’t have banners, annoying pop-ups or autoplay videos.”

Ecosia does 4 things. (1) It reframes Ads in a positive light (2) It uses gratitude and tells me how these ad help further a cause that is greater than myself or any one individual, (3) It asks me nicely to disable my adblocker so that they can continue servicing other people, and finally (4) They acknowledge and ease my worries that the ads will be intrusive, annoying or even irrelevant. It also keeps a counter on the top bar to tell me how many trees I’ve helped them plant. As of this sentence, I’ve planted a total of 14 trees just having to research for this post.

This is the first request that has ever moved me enough to remove the ad blocker. They give a lot of information that helps me make the decision to switch over to them; and so far my search results have been just as good or better than Google’s. It even has ‘news’ built in. It is amazing how realizing that the products I use for free are a financial decision that can affect others and at no cost to me; with equal convenience I can help make a difference by the choices I make in the products and services I use…whether I pay for them or not.

By the end of this post I went from having saved 8 trees to 16, the counter helps me keep track of how much of a difference I’m truly making. And while there are other search engines, some that pay you to search and some that pay others. They’re not always good. Ecosia is a search engine that feels good to me and is just one small way out of many that I’m implementing into our lifestyle that I feels make a positive impact in the world.




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The Holocene Era: A New Beginning

Zenratstudios blog first launched January in the year 12,015 HE. During that time frame approx. 240 blogs were written. And of those 240 blogs only less than 40 were relevant. Taking down the site allowed time to decide how to reboot the blog with a fresh start. Today every blog is an article that focuses on an aspect of the  loop stack (TIPATI) pronounced “Tipachi”:

Prove = “Improve”

Technology, Ideas & Philosophy, Analysis, Test, Improve
  • Technology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Centralized & Decentralized Databases
  • Economics
  • Programming & Development
  • Ideas and Philosophies as Experiments
  • Framework for solving problems
  • Analysis as Exploration
  • Problem Identification
  • Conflict & Problem Resolution
  • Possible Solutions
  • Test, Build, Explore(through technology)
  • Prototypes
  • Experimental projects
  • Simulations and Proof of Concepts
  • Build, Rebuild, Improve “Grow”
  • Cycle of rebuilding and improving
  • Becoming more efficient and lean
  • Addressing flaws in any area of TIPATI


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