Tag Archive: Practices


This interesting article by Johnathan Rowson at the RSA caught my eye. Those of us who are awake in the world are often frustrated when we encounter people who aren’t and desperately search for ways to influence the behavior and choices of those who seem to be oblivious to their effect on the world. Understanding a little bit more about behavior in the macro sense, as well as perfecting our ability to master our own behavior are important first steps in the crusade to inspire better choices and behaviors in others.

Our actions define our character. Habits make up a large part of our actions. From the obvious physical ones we do all day (breathing) to the judgements, reactions, and other mental positions we rarely examine but are heavily invested in, our habits can be beneficial or destructive. Being vigilant about the habits you form and the ones you shake is a great way to become more mindful in your life. As Rowsen points out:

Habits are important because they define who we are, but also because they can be changed. You breathe automatically, you see automatically, but you think, decide and act habitually. Confucius captures the point nicely when he says:  ’Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.’ But habits are acquired and conditioned behaviours rather than strictly automatic. They are second nature rather than first, and therefore amenable to the influence of deliberation and reflection.

To bring changes to our behaviors, our perspectives, our lives and our world, sometimes the path is deceptively simple. Just start small. Shake up your routine in easy and non-threatening areas. Rituals can be comforting and even productive, but they can also discourage growth and evolution. Take a different path to work, drink out of a different cup, sit in a different chair, or go so far as to brush your teeth with the other hand.

These little blips on your comfort radar can help wake your senses and shake the auto-pilot coma we call living.

No matter how much knowledge, reflection, and deliberation you bring to bare, you need behavior to change behavior.  Thought alone will rarely change a habit, because willpower is scarce and depletable, and rarely sufficient to turn the thought into action on an ongoing basis.

Dwelling on breaking the bad habits can be a drag and put you off the whole exercise. In the Net Positive spirit, we need to focus as much (if not more) attention on creating the habits we’d like to have. Rowsen suggests that there is a threshold of 66 days to form a new habit. Which means a behavior that is automatic and no longer needs to be consciously chosen, in short it’s a part of your character. This article he sites from Psyblog is an expansion on the concept of time frames for behavior modification.

For laughs. And a reminder to be thankful it’s not the ’50’s!

An incredible analysis of the macro issues in human behavior and influences can be found in a new documentary called Zeitgeist: Moving Forward. It’s a far-reaching documentary that covers so many of the topics critical to a Net Positive awareness and deserves to be watched in its entirety (despite the epic length of 2h40). The first hour or so focuses exclusively on human behavior and presents a comprehensive analysis delivered by compelling experts. If you’re at all interested in why we are the way we are, view this as the foundation to your quest.


Real Clean

This is an article about how to actually clean your home. For the purposes of clarity, let’s all get on the same page about what a clean house really is, and what it is not.

Coating a surface in a layer of chemicals and calling it clean won’t suffice in a Net Positive home. You may succeed in killing every microbe in sight, both helpful and harmful ones, but you’ll probably also damage yourself in the process. We too are made of organic matter, and it may surprise you to know that the majority of the mass in our bodies is not in fact human cells but the same types of microbes (bacteria, fungi etc) killed by the harmful chemicals in most of the formulas you find at the store. You do the math.
As you innocently clean your home with the best of intentions, you may actually be creating unsafe levels of indoor air pollution, a problem that some estimates indicate is responsible for $6 billion in costs to society ranging from medical bills to sick days. This indoor pollution can compromise your immune system, lead to allergic reactions and over time even birth defects, cancers and a host of other illnesses. And not just in us modern, industrialized, western folks, we’re now finding levels of synthetic chemicals in the breast milk of Inuit women so high that the FDA would categorize it as hazardous waste unfit for human consumption.
Dupont assured us that we could expect “better living through chemistry”, and we jumped at the promise of longer lives, free from the illnesses brought on by pathogens in our environment who were no match for our potent chemical brews. As time has passed, evidence has mounted that these chemical are likely doing more harm than good. It just takes a cursory glance at the paragraphs of bold warning labels and fine print covering the containers to see that something might be amiss.

Even more important that cleanliness in a home environment is safety. We want to believe that our home, if nowhere else, is a place of security where no harm can come to us. In reality, our greatest exposure to toxic chemicals happens in our own homes, from products we ourselves willing purchase and use.

There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 different synthetic chemicals in use across the   e globe. We would probably like to believe that there is someone in a lab somewhere verifying that these substances are at the very least not harmful to humans. According to the Government Accountability Office in 2005 “EPA does not routinely asses existing chemicals, has limited information on their health and environmental risks, and has issued few regulations controlling such chemicals.” The EPA actually does not conduct safety tests, but instead relies on the manufacturers to provide this information. About 15% of chemicals used ever have reports filed on their safety.

Yet, even with the inadequate testing that we currently have, there is still conclusive evidence that many, if not most, of these chemicals lead to serious illness in humans. This is all to say nothing of the effects these chemicals have on the environments outside our homes. We can’t ignore the fact that anything applied to the inside of our homes eventually finds its way out into the water and air that we share with all the other living things on the planet.

So how many of these chemicals might be lurking in your home. If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty and peel the layers of this rotting onion, the book “The Hundred Year Lie” by Randall Fitzgerald is your best friend. This treasure trove of information is so meticulously researched and detailed you’ll be an expert yourself when you’ve finished it. Don’t be scared off by this painstakingly comprehensive book, at 257 it’s amazingly readable for something so informative.

Now if it’s solutions you’re looking for, I recently picked up a diminutive little tome called “The Naturally Clean Home” by Karyn Siegel-Maier. It was smiling up at me from the rack at my local market and I couldn’t help but flip through. Do not be fooled by it’s size, this book is loaded with 150 recipes/ formulas and how-to instructions for every kind of cleaning job you can imagine and some you couldn’t.

My favorites so far are the Lemon Blast surface cleaner (great in the kitchen,) the Herbal Disinfectant with borax (keeps the bathroom fresh as a spring breeze), and the Herbal Scouring Formula (actually makes cleaning the tub less awful). There are formulas for everything from automatic dishwasher detergent to laundry detergent and stain solutions for every mess. There are about ten inexpensive and easily accessible ingredients and a handful of helpful essential oils that combine in various ways to make these 150 priceless (but purse friendly) formulas. For less than the cost of some of the store-bought cleaning products out there, the book itself is a bargain too!

No discussion of the safety issues associated with cleaning our homes is complete without mentioning the original bible on the subject, “Home Safe Home” by Debra Lynn Dadd. Originally published in the mid ‘80’s and thoroughly expanded and updated over time, this classic is well worth the shelf space.

As with any recommendations, be sure to follow your instincts and research your options. You are the ultimate guardian of your environment, we are just here to help bring critical information to your attention. Where you go from here is entirely up to you!

Photos courtesy of organicconsumers.org, cathysparkle.com, blissfullycomestic.com 



Hi there and Welcome to Net Positive!

This is a collaborative experiment in positive living. We’re writing this blog to share our journey toward living more consciously, more creatively, more compassionately….in other words: Net Positively!

The current paradigm we’ve all subscribed to has begun to fail as billions of our fellow humans are forced to endure abject misery while billions of others horde far more cash and resources than they need. Any paradigm will be stable until it generates problems it can not solve. Those problems then become the catalyst for a shift to a whole new paradigm. One that hopefully exemplifies the ingenuity, passion and promise of the human family.

We dream of a day when we are all partners and collaborators in the architecture of our happiness rather than rivals and adversaries competing in an endless and devastating cycle of manufactured scarcity. Opposing destructive forces through equally destructive solutions will only serve to multiply their damage.  Instead we propose a path to prosperity achievable without the frustration and rage we’ve relied on to revolutionize our world in the past.

This journey is constantly evolving and clarifying itself. The path unfolds before us as we walk it, never affording us more than a momentary glimpse of its future. We hope to be fluid enough to follow the path wherever it leads. After all, each passing moment is a chance to redefine, reinvigorate, awaken and transcend.

No one is perfect, but anyone can be net positive. The idea is to shift the balance of your interactions, ideas, contributions, choices to the positive side of the spectrum. We all have down days, and that’s OK. Our goal is simply to make the good outweigh the bad.

We’re glad you’re here and we hope you’ll share your voice and your journey with us!

Human Nature is not a fixed thing but a Spectrum of Potentials. One moment we are at our best, the next is an unknown. No being or path is homogenous, but a continuously evolving diversity of elements and energies. No one is perfect, but anyone can keep the balance of their participation in the world/ universe/ paradigm on the positive end of the spectrum.

Every day is a New Frontier. Every moment is a chance to be Born Anew. Let your identity be fluid. Let yourself be Net Positive.