Saturday, May 31, 2014

31 Days in May!

We've reached the end of May... the final day of my writing challenge!

Looking back I didn't do too poorly with it.  I actually surprised myself a little.  I only missed about eight days, so I guess I achieved somewhere around 75% of perfection!  More importantly, what this month has encouraged me to do is keep up with writing more frequently, which is a delightful consequence of challenging myself to write every day for the month of May.

I have received some wonderful feedback over that past 30 days, and I'm so grateful to know that some of my experiences, which were translated into words, have touched your hearts or lifted your spirits in some way.  So thank you for your support.  It really helped me through this month and motivated me to keep going.

We are in Ontario right now, somewhere north of Toronto sitting in a cabin over looking a lake.  It pretty much took us two full days (minus an overnight rest) to get here, but after a full night's sleep and a little time to take in the view, it sure was worth it!  This is a beautiful setting.  I'm feeling very Canadian sitting here writing, overlooking our natural landscape, and feeling the peacefulness of being completely immersed in nature, while listing to the morning birds sing and taking a deep breath of fresh, clean air.

We are here with Jeff's family, his two brothers, sister-in-law, their kids and of course his parents, as we're here to celebrate his parent's 50th wedding anniversary.  Now... 50 years - that's something to celebrate! 

Thus, in the middle of this vast and expansive scenery, we find ourselves in the midst of three generations; and it comes to mind that if our parents represent the past, and our children represent the future, then here we are in the balance of the two, weighing what has come before us, while trying to manage and shape what is yet to be.  We are the present.  It seems this is the key to everything:  AWARENESS of the PRESENT MOMENT.

As the month closes, I find myself contemplating time.  Time is slippery thing.  Forever moving.  Always elusive.  It is uncatchable; except perhaps, in those still quiet moments when we are able to sit in the seat of our own inner soul, and fully immerse ourselves in the present, when we become one with time per se, without thinking, analyzing, or judging - a moment of pure active observation: YOGA.

Life can feel overly full at times; but we are blessed with this unique opportunity to be on this planet, at this exact time in history, conscious beings, alive, awaking up more each moment.  I encourage you to make time in your day to seize those fleeting occurrences of calm, and remind yourself it is truly a gift to be alive!  

As Guruji would continually bring to our attention: "you are given, maybe, one hundred years, don't waste your time!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

But... Green is my Life!

Jediah and I were driving yesterday in our car, and I pointed out how the construction crew had cut down a whole bunch of trees in one area to make a clearing for a new road and bridge that they are building near our home.

At which point he says, with a very sad tone in his voice,
"but... Green is my life!"

I started to smile and as always, I was in awe of how profound, yet simple, the words of a three year old could be, and I replied, "it is true, Green is my life too.  Green is everyone's life."

We were on our way to the doctor, and at the office I was flipping through a magazine and came across this advertisement for It was incredibly effective, and since Jediah was there due to some trouble with his breathing, it seemed very synchronistic to our current situation.

It reminded me that we are so intricately connected to nature that sometimes it is easy to overlook how absolutely essential and necessary it is for our existence.  Everything we need and depend on is provided by nature - yes... even your computer and iPhone! 

For example, did you know that there is no living thing on this planet that can survive without water?
In an ideal environment, a human may be able to last a total of 12 days without water, but more then likely would die sometime around the five day point.

Here in Canada, we are championed in environmental activism by David Suzuki and his foundation. They bring attention to many issues, and also provide simple solutions that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and can significantly help to reduce our negative impact on this planet. You see, every breath we take, everything we eat or drink, and everything we own is derived from nature, even our homes are made from natural materials. We are completely dependent upon sustaining a harmonious environmental balance for our survival.

Here are a few quick facts from that you might find enlightening:
  1. At least half of all medicines in use worldwide are derived directly from natural components, primarily from tropical forests. Antiviral drugs and painkillers are among the modern medicines obtained from coral reefs.  Only a small fraction of tropical rainforest species have been analyzed for their medicinal properties. We may yet discover more cures in nature — if we don’t destroy them first.
  2. Most large, modern structures are made from concrete, glass and steel. All three are derived from nature. Steel making is one of the world’s leading industrial sources of greenhouse gases. In 2010, according to the International Energy Agency, the iron and steel industry accounted for approximately 6.7% of total world CO2 emissions.
  3. Most vehicles run on fossil fuels like diesel and gasoline. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there are fewer than 1.3 trillion barrels of crude oil left in the world oil reserve, which at the current rate of consumption would last the world only 41 more years.
  4. Deforestation accounts for 20% of all carbon emissions, which is twice the amount that all the cars, trucks and planes in the world emit, combined.  That's pretty major, as there are more than 1 billion vehicles on the road worldwide, including buses and trucks, which are themselves, disproportionately heavy polluters.
  5. The production of one hamburger releases as many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as driving a car 10 miles.
  6. The production of one burger requires 7,000 liters (about 1,850 gallons) of water, the bulk of which is used to grow grain for cattle feed.
  7. Beef production uses about 60% of the world's agricultural land, yet provides less than 2% of the world's calories.
  8. Because cattle ranching requires large tracts of land, producers frequently clear-cut tropical forest to provide pastures for their herds. Extensive cattle ranching accounts for 80% of the amazon's deforestation.
  9. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil found in about half of all the packaged food products on supermarket shelves — not just baked goods and snacks, but also cosmetics and lotions, soaps and detergents, even pet food.  Palm oil is incredibly productive, producing far more oil than other crops on the same amount of land. Today, a third of all vegetable oil used worldwide is palm oil.  However, most palm oil is produced on large industrial plantations, primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia. Often, tropical forests are cleared to make way for oil palm plantations that are destroying the habitat for endangered species like the orangutan. This deforestation also releases carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, contributing to global climate change.

Not to overwhelm you with the issues at hand; but, knowledge is power, and it is important to understand what is happening so we can make informed choices in how to respond and protect the environment that supports us day in and day out.

Our yoga teacher R. Sharath Jois is also very passionate about the environment and protecting nature.  I found a shirt he made awhile back that has on the it one of his favorite sayings from that period in time:  Save Nature - Nature Saves You.  I have always admired this about him, the fact that he see this Ashtanga Yoga Practice expanding beyond simply the asana into how we treat our environment, the animals, and of course other people too.

Each day we should wake up with gratitude for all that we have, most of all for this beautiful planet that nourishes and supports us through the endless offering of herself.  That is the reason why Nature is conceptualized as a Mother, because she gives and gives without hesitation, without reserve, unconditionally loving and supporting us to the detriment of her own welfare, and will continue to do so until she is completely depleted.  Any mother understands this innate inclination of sacrificial offering and unlimited relinquishing of everything, for her children.

David Swenson was quoted in Yoga International, as saying "the definition of a yogi that I like most is this: A yogi is one who leave a place just a little nicer then when they arrived!"
I think this is a brilliant definition, much better then: "the one who can do the most handstands!" (that's another issue for another day).

My friend Lara Land started a movement to encourage more awareness of bringing our practice into every aspect of our day both on and off the mat.  It's called All Eight Limbs and you can read more about it on her blog Adventures in Yogaland.  I think this is a wonderful idea, and I am excited to support her in reminding all the yogis out there that our practice has to be about more then bending and stretching, it has to be about transformation, of not only for ourselves, but for our whole planet!
(aside: I'm pretty sure that our world doesn't need more handstands; rather, it needs more people making the world a kinder, and more sustainable place for every living being).

So, as you go, try your best to tred lightly on this planet and leave it a nicer, cleaner, happier home for everyone, because Green is our life, whether we want it to be or not.

Let's bring our yoga alive - and start living our practice - All Eight Limbs!  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Moving Beyond the Practice Plateau

When I first came to the practice of Yoga, like many, I immediately fell in love with it.  The sensation of lightness and clarity I had after my first class was like nothing I had experienced before.  It blew my mind.  I was hooked.  Each practice brought with it a sense of euphoria, and the changes in my body and mind were both obvious and exciting. 

I've seen this same initial passion for practice in many students over the years.  At the beginning it is encouraging to see all the visible transformation happening, and you might even get to taste a little bit of bliss, an aftereffect from this practice, which is distinctly different from any other activity you might have dabbled in.  

However, after some time, maybe months, if you're lucky it's years, the fascination and exhilaration wear off, and all that's left is you and your practice day in and day out.  

The changes become imperceptible, and the overwhelming sense of well-being that was so novel at the beginning becomes your new normal; and it's around this time that the practice starts to get hard; consequently,  I would argue that this is when the real yoga truly begins.   

Unfortunately, it seems that it is also around this time that one starts to hit a wall or plateau and many students head for the door and start to look for the next best thing to entertain their minds, bodies and senses; some fall back into old patterns that work against the practice, while others move onto something more gratifying to their ego.  
For those who decide to stick with it, many obstacles and challenges come up along the way that act to deter or sidetrack us from keeping our eyes firmly fixed on the goal of liberation or Self-realization.  

Personally, I found that difficulties often arise to keep my ego in check.  They are obstacles disguised as life-lessons and opportunities to go deeper into what Yoga really is all about, and what it's calling us to become.  They are like a spur that urges me to get unstuck from that universal habit of stroking my ego with pride about some physical or pseudo-spiritual achievement.  They help me to refocus on what is important, and identify less with the things that are not real and do not ultimately matter.  

Over the years, I’ve become very conscious about trying to remain unattached to the fruits of my practice because in the past, it has seemed that whenever I started to feel a little bit high on myself it never takes very long for the great fall from grace to come, and I have to pick myself up and start from the beginning again.  

Once we start on the path of yoga it can be a long journey back home to our True Self.  

One of Guruji's favourite quotes from the Yoga Sutras was: sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkarasevito drdha bhumih  
"Practice becomes firmly established when it has been cultivated without interruption and with sincere devotion over a long long period of time." (Yoga Sutra 1:14)  

This is the recipe for a successful yoga practice.  It must be sustained without interruption and with love for the practice for a long long period of time, likely your entire lifetime, and possibly several lifetimes (if you believe in that kind of thing).

I often compare the relationship we have to our practice with a marriage.  At the beginning it is all rainbows and butterflies, excitement, passion, and adoration; but after some years, your spouse becomes so close to you that at times you barely notice them, their presence is your new normal as the titillation of unfamiliarity is replaced by routine.  

You might not even realize how integrated that person is into the very fabric of your soul until they are gone.  In many ways they start to act as a mirror for you, to see all of your own stuff, both good and bad, and all the areas you need to work on, if you are to evolve spiritually and become a better person.  Interestingly, if you can see this, and respond positively, you will figure out a way to keep that spark alive through the test of time, and your relationship will have the space it needs to grow, and change, and move through all the different phases of life together.  
You will be able to adapt and overcome all the obstacles and struggles that undoubtedly will come up along the way because you are open to giving your whole self, without reservation, and your love and connection will become deeper then you ever could have imagined.  You verily become One.  
You are yoked - this is also Yoga.

It is the same with your yoga practice.  Over time it will go through different stages and phases. Growth will not always be in an upward moving linear projection.  Sometimes we have to go back to the beginning to understand the inner workings more deeply, to get reestablished in something we missed the first time.  The practice also acts like a mirror showing us our areas of weakness and the places in our lives where we need to let go.  Ultimately, if you stick with this practice through the good periods as well as the less enjoyable ones, it gets interwoven into every moment of your day.  
 It becomes your time to connect intimately with the Divine.  

It becomes your very heart.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Soup Kitchen Craze

Early on in the day I set out to make this salad that I love.  It's called "Hail To The Kale" from Planet Organic (recipe is below).  It usually takes about 30 minutes for a normal person. 
For me however, it turned into an epic all-day cookathon, whereby I made a huge pot of vegetable soup, a massive amount of tomato based pasta sauce, and an abundantly large pot of mushroom soup, all in addition to the salad.  I started around 11am, and finally just wrapped up at just after 8pm! 
It was definitely over-kill on my part.  I think I got a little carried away.  I guess that's what happens when you only set out to cook once every couple months! 

Now, the big problem is... we don't have enough tupperware to store it all! 

I guess you know what I'll be doing tomorrow... going out and stocking up on new freezable containers to store all this soup and sauce in! 

Anyone want some? 

prep time:
30 min
total time:
30 min


  • 1 bunch Kale, chopped
  • 3 cups Carrots, grated
  • 1/2 head Red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Tamari pumpkin seeds (see method below)
  • 1/2 cup Tamari sunflower seeds (see method below)
  • 1/2 cup Flax or hemp oil
  • 1/3 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos (or organic soy sauce)
  • 5 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Oregano, dried


  • 1 - Wash kale and chop. Be careful to rinse the leaves to remove dirt and grit.
  • 2 - In a cast iron skillet over medium to high heat, stir sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Remove from heat when they’re toasted golden brown. While the skillet is hot, add in a few drops of tamari, which will sear onto the seeds. Remove and let cool.
  • 3 - In a large bowl combine chopped kale, carrots, cabbage and seeds. Set aside.
  • 4 - In a small bowl whisk together oil, Bragg Liquid Aminos, vinegar and oregano and pour over kale mixture. Toss until evenly coated and chill 2 hours before serving. This salad keeps well refrigerated 2-3 days.
  • Makes 8-10 Servings

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Finding Inspiration in Parkour

Jeff inadvertently found the inspiration for my blog today.  He started showing me all these videos on a discipline called Parkour.  You may be familiar with it as something called "Free Running."

It made me start thinking though, how Parkour shares many similarities to Yoga.   It is a philosophy of living.  It is a discipline and a daily practice.  It is not about gymnastics.   However, it is about connecting deeply with an internal force of energy and moving efficiently, and effectively through space in unison with this flow that is within us, and all around us.

It changes one's perspective on life.  Using the body as a platform for discovery, it unravels our preconceived ideas about what is physically possible, and in doing so it frees our minds from the constructs we've built to control our reality.  

These restrictions were once adopted to protect ourselves; but eventually they grow and begin to strangle the joy from our lives, and we become enslaved to our limiting ideas about who and what we are.  

Pakour is about becoming connected to a flow of movement.  To the force of prana (cosmic energy) that thrives and pulses within us.  There are no limits, no boundaries, except the ones we create in our mind.  It forces us to breakdown the prison we comfortably enclose ourselves within.

Through daily practice, there is a possibility that we can potentially evolve, transcend, and become more then human.  Facing our fear of death (abhinivesha) and courageously moving beyond it, we hope to realize our true identities as embodied, divine beings.

It encourages Play.  It dares us to Change.  It makes us question whether we are really, truly Free.

I hope these videos inspire you to keep Exploring and Playing in whatever form that might take.  Explore yourself, your capabilities, and your infinite potential.

Become ONE with God.  This Is Union.  This IS YOGA.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Time for a Spring Clean!

Jeff and I started a cleanse this week.  We are combining a couple of different cleanse ideas and kind-of creating our own thing (and doing our best not to cheat too much!)  As it is Spring after all, which is a great season to do a little proverbial housecleaning both internally and externally!

We are using the guidelines from the 21-Day Clean Program, which involves having a smoothie for breakfast, your main meal at lunch, and then something liquid, a fresh juice, smoothie, or soup for dinner.  We are also following the diet restrictions (with a few exceptions) and taking the supplements from the Wild Rose Herbal D-tox.  Of course we actually are pretty terrible at not "cheating" on these kinds of things... but we are doing our best to stick to it, and also, we're not getting too down on ourselves or throwing the whole plan out the window if we do slip a little from time to time.

The first couple of days I felt super hungry and pretty tired, but I'm starting to feel a little more energized and am beginning to find my rhythm again.  The most important thing to set yourself up for success on a cleanse like this, is to be very clear about the parameters at the beginning, and then be sure to stock your fridge and cupboards in advance with quick and healthy snacks and food for those times when you're super hungry and need a fix.

We filled our fridge with fresh berries at the start of the week, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries... delicious! We also have ready to eat carrots, celery, cucumber, rice cakes and hummus.
Everything is washed and ready to go!  No excuses to snack on something illegitimate.
We're also stocked up with lemons, baby spinach, ready to eat salad mix, kale, hemp, chia seeds, and tons of frozen berries for smoothies.
As well, don't forget the vegan protein / probiotic / all-in-one smoothie mix.  Personally, we like Progressive Nutritional: VegEssential All In One.   However, there are many great products out there that are comparable, and some may even be superior, but this is the one we're enjoying right now, and it is easy to find, which makes it a good choice for us.  
At the end of the day, when I'm feeling hungry or weak willed, and all I really want to do is just relax and fill my belly with chips and salsa, Jeff repeats what our friend Rachel told us helped her make it through... "drink some water and know that I love you."

So, if you were wondering what's going on with us, and why I haven't exactly been feeling a tidal wave of creative energy this week, this is the reason.  I've been lost in a bit of a detox fog... but the clouds are clearing now, and it looks like we're moving into a sunshiny summer!
Hang On... there's only 10 days left in May! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Meatrix

Just in case you couldn't stomach Earthlings... here is a cartoon called the Meatrix.  
I know that many of you have already seen this but it is worth another look.
It is quite a funny parody about a subject that is sadly not funny at all.

Yes... something more about what we consider to be food and where it comes from...
I just want us all to become more conscious consumers!
This is a topic that is close to my heart and I feel very passionate about it.

I hope you enjoy these little goodies!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Gratitude For Guruji

It was five years ago, May 18, 2009, that Sri K Pattabhi Jois (Guruji) passed away.  We were fortunate to spend time some quality time with him a month earlier in his home, just the three of us together with Joseph Dunham.  On our final visit with him, we said our goodbyes, touched his feet, and he started chanting in sanskrit, which we interpreted as his way of giving us his blessing before we had to leave, we both knew it would be that last time we would see him alive.  He seemed to know that too. 

Every day when I practice I always remember him, and my heart is filled with gratitude.

Guruji’s tradition of Ashtanga Yoga has given me my life as it is today.  Outside of my parents and their continuous love and support, this lineage of yoga has been the most influential factor in my personal growth and development.

This practice came to me at a time in my life when I was really struggling.  It saved me.  You could say that almost everything good in my life has come as a result of this turning point. 

Prior to learning this practice I battled with addictions, eating disorders, and in general a huge lack of self-esteem, which resulted in my many self-destructive behaviours and choices.  Upon finding this practice I started feeling better about myself, and I began living inside my own skin for the first time in as long as I could remember. 

Through this practice of Ashtanga Yoga I developed more compassion and love towards myself, which was an entirely new experience.  This allowed me to feel my connection to others more deeply, which aroused more positive choices that stemmed from forgiving myself, and releasing the past. 

It was because of this practice that I met my now husband, and love of my life, Jeff Lichty.  
We traveled the world together, taught together, started a Yoga School together, and have a son together, who lights up our whole universe, and has taught me the meaning of selfless service and unconditional love.  

Therefore, it is with the deepest gratitude that I continue to dedicate my daily practice to Guruji and his lineage.  I always hear him when I chant the invocation, and feel his force supporting me as I teach.  His commitment and devotion is an endless inspiration for me.

Guruji had many gifts.  He had a way of seeing things in a person.  He would know you could do something even when you didn't believe it yourself.  He was a philosopher at heart, and always enjoyed a good laugh.  He welcomed questions, and loved to hear any gossip or news about his students.  Whenever we would call he would always ask, "when are you coming?" even if we had just arrived back home.  He loved to teach - it was truly his dharma, and there was almost nothing that could keep him away from it.
You couldn't be in Guruji's presence and not feel your heart overflowing with affection.  He was humble and yet fierce.  Everyone that had the privilege of being his student was deeply touched and transformed by his presence, and we all felt a unique and special connection with him.

He would be so happy to see the growing number of students who have been healed and touch by the Ashtanga Yoga practice.  I think he would be proud that his legacy is continuing on through the teachers he blessed.  I consider myself very fortunate to be amongst this group of inspired practitioners who reside under his guiding light, and continue to keep his memory alive and teach what we have received from him, and from this practice that he loved. 

Om Sri Gurubhyo Namah

Saturday, May 17, 2014

For the Children of the Earth and Sky

As I sit here listening to my sweet boy play with the other kids in this kid-play-zone, I hear him say things like "I'm on my way to Mexico because I have an important appointment" and "it's lunchtime now so I am going to go catch some fish" and "I'll be Eagle Boy and you can be the princes."

His imagination is magnificent. His world is constantly filled with games and joy and make-believe adventures. I am reminded of a time long ago when I also lived almost entirely in the world of imagination, and my thoughts turn to reflect upon the question 'at what stage in our development does life get so serious?'

There is so much felicity and lightness in the world of imagination, and I have a feeling that if more of us were able to hold onto this gift for a little longer, the world would be a much more interesting and magical place, where all the endless possibilities would be easily seen, and no one would feel stuck, or powerless, or easily defeated. 

I feel blessed to have this special time where I can laugh and play in Jediah's sacred imaginary land, and I'm encouraged by this idea that there is a way we can retrieve the freedom found in the power of imagination and the creative force that accompanies it.   I look to those who walk amongst us that are intensely connected to this realm: the artists, actors, dancers, storytellers, writers, inventors, physicists, philosophers, and dreamers.  I think we can find further inspiration from them.

I'm sure we will discover that there is a lot to learn from connecting to our creativity in whatever form it shows up in, and I believe there is a strong possibility that our future survival will depend on these discoveries.

I hope that collectively we will continue to encourage and nurture this gift of imagination in our children, as well as in each other, for we are all children of the earth and sky, and we belong to one another.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. 
For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand,
Imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.
~ Albert Einstein ~ 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Guru Tattva

Sometime I hear this idea that a Guru or a Teacher is not really necessary on the path of Yoga.   Be your own Guru.  Find the Teacher within.  These are common sentiments that are out there in the Yoga Community at large.  
The true teachings of Yoga however, have always been passed down through the relationship of Teacher to Student in a line of transmission called parampara.  The Guru is absolutely necessary.  He or She is there to shine a light on your blind spots.  
The Teacher is your road map on the spiritual path.  God works through your Guru to help guide you in your practice and eliminate any inner obstacles that can come up along the way.  In India they have a saying that "just as you need the flame of an already burning candle to light the wick of another candle; likewise, only an illumined soul can light the inner lamp of another person."  Consequently, we need the direct contact of a True Teacher to help enlighten us, to wake us up inside, and get the spark going.  
I would say that it is difficult, if not entirely impossible, to see ourselves clearly.  As a result, we need the help of a Guru to hold up the mirror and give us clarity so that we can overcome our lower nature and negative qualities.  The Guru represents the one's ideal of perfection, and is the pattern from which one wishes to mould oneself after.  It is a challenge for the human mind to conceive of an Infinite Formless God, so in the physical form of the Guru, the mind attaches itself more easily and begins to see God within this physical embodiment.  Through our reverence, obedience, and willingness to surrender to a True Teacher we are able to connect to the Ultimate Reality that exists everywhere beyond form and time.

On a practical level, the Teacher is able to lift our spirits and helps to keep us motivated in our practice during difficult times along the path.  Even the mere presence of one's Teacher can help elevate one’s mood and enhance one's consciousness.  
However, the work, the sadhana, the spiritual practice must be done by the student.  A Guru cannot bestow a miraculous awakening onto anyone, but He or She is there to show us the door, but as a student, we must do the work, and have the courage and determination to walk through it.
Om Tat Sat

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Difference by Andrei Codrescu

This is a little something I heard at the start of Tina James' Jivamukti Yoga class, while at the lululemon Ambassador Summit a couple weeks ago.  It pretty much made my whole day.

It's a spoken word piece by Andrei Codrescu called "The Difference" from the collection: No Tacos For Saddam.

I pretty much think everyone in the world should listen to it at least once... so here it is for you to enjoy!

Hopefully it will take you into the end of your week with a smile - I know it will for me!

The Difference by Andrei Codrescu on Grooveshark

Thank you to Tina James for sending me the info on this little goodie. 

Much Love & Gratitude for the Inspiration. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Our global water supply has been a big concern on my mind for over two decades.  
Water scarcity and the threat of a water shortage is something I've been aware since I first learned that the average hamburger takes 2,400 liters, or 630 gallons, of water to produce.
Humans are extremely wasteful when it comes to water.  It seems to be one of our collective blind spots, it is just something we take for granted in the first world because we have it.  However, learning about our inefficiency in so far as it relates to food production was also one of my first reasons for becoming vegetarian, and the time I've spent in India, where clean drinking water is in short supply, has made me a whole lot more conservative in my own use, and keeps this issue constantly at the forefront of my mind.

While nearly 70 percent of the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is fresh. The rest is saline and ocean-based. Even then, just 1 percent of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields. In essence, only 0.007 percent of the planet's water is available to fuel and feed its 6.8 billion people. (National Geographic: Fresh Water Crisis)

As the world's population continues to grow, water is becoming more of a scarce natural resource.  In Africa alone there are 345 million people without access to clean drinking water.  Every 21 seconds a child dies from lack of access to clean water or a water related illness due to poor sanitation.  An estimated 200 million hours are spent each day, globally, collecting water for families in developing nations. (Water.Org: Water Facts) 

Welcome to the water crisis.  
If you didn't know this was a major issue, you better start doing some research and getting involved because it's about to become a lot more political; and if you don't think it will effect you - you're wrong.  

The United Nations estimate that by 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world's population living in water-stressed regions as a result of use, growth, and climate change. (National Geographic: Fresh Water Crisis)

Bottled water is now a multi-billion dollar market, and to be able to sell and make money from bottling water, you must first own it.  Huge corporations like Nestle have already seen the writing on the wall and are buying up water supplies in developing nations, bottling it up, and selling it back to first world nations to make a huge profit.  
You can watch the documentary Bottled Life to learn more about this.

However, the good news is that there are some charitable organizations that are making a difference and being a voice for people who are too parched to speak for themselves.   HOPE International Development Agency is a Canadian based registered charity committed to helping the world's poorest families out of poverty. 

HOPE is among the leanest of development organizations with an amazing 95 cents out of every dollar raised going directly to the water projects.

I am so proud to tell you that my brother, Adam Slater, on May 24th, will personally be getting involved and embarking on a new exciting challenge.  
He will have the great privilege of running an Ultra Marathon (50+ km) to support this incredible cause: Run for Water.

Now, since I'm not a runner, I think anyone who wants to run this crazy long distance is a bit nuts!  My motto is: "run - only when in danger!"  

However, my brother has an amazing heart that is dedicated to serving others, and he has a calling to support and raise awareness for Hope International Development Agency in partnership with Run for Water through this special event.

I figure if you're going to run, it might as well be in support of something that can change the world.

All of the money raised from the runners, will go directly to the efforts of these two charities, who together, will work to bring clean drinking water to villages in Ethiopia, Africa.

Ethiopia is prone to droughts, which produces massive water shortages and famines; because of this, disease and death spread uncontrollably as their is limited surface water ends up fully contaminated by both human and animal waste.  
Thousands of people live in remote areas where mainly women and children walk for hours a day just to collect this contaminated water for their families.  
Fortunately, this year the Envision Financial Run for Water along with HOPE International Development Agency, will raise enough funds to provide a clean and reliable water source to a cluster of 10 villages in the Bonke Region. 

The good news is that you too can directly support my brother and this great cause by donating to his pledge page: Adam's 50K Ultra Run For Water.   

(All gifts over $20 will get a tax receipt and you can give anonymously or publicly)

The link above will tell you more about the project and there’s a great video that will explain why this project will literally change the lives for many young people in Ethiopia; especially young girls and women, who bear most of the burden of collecting water for their families, and consequently, miss out on education, and other activities. 

Running an Ultra Marathon has been a goal of my brother's for the last two years, so running 50K for this incredible cause was a no brainer for him.  Even if you do not donate to his run, we both encourage you to make a donation to one of the charity organizations above, and get involved.  You can make a difference in the lives of millions of families.  

Their pain is our pain.  Their suffering is our suffering.  We all share this planet and her resources.  
We all need water to live; it should not be reserved for only the fortunate few.

We thank you for your support!

“God is always with you, that you have more strength than you ever realized, and that if you don’t stop, you can’t be stopped”  ~ Jason Lestor