Archive for March, 2011

Honda is on Charge

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

To all intents and purposes Formula One should be the most exciting sport on Earth. Just one look at the key ingredients that concoct this sport has me salivating with excitement. Firstly you have a global giant of the car world such as Honda breaking away from the hatchback market and producing nearly 1,000bhp in a car that weighs less than the original Mini. Secondly this outlandish performance is put in the trust of 20 of the most skilled drivers on the planet, who are only ever 2-3 seconds away from a high speed shunt. Thirdly, the races take place in the most exotic locations around the world, including: Bahrain, Monaco, Brazil, Australia and Singapore. Why oh why then is it so dull?

As a child I’d drag myself out of bed at 3am just to watch a Friday practice, before repeating the feat for Saturday qualifying and Sunday race day. I knew all the drivers statistics, why rear down force shouldn’t be an issue around the Hockenheim circuit and the past winners of the championship for 50 years. Much like a lot of the population I’ve tired in recent years of no overtaking, the same winners and consistent rule changes that try and fail to re-ignite excitement. Michael Schumacher was the greatest driver in the history of the sport but his constant winning also destroyed my love for it.

Then there was the tobacco sponsorship ban of a few years ago. Such a furore was made over banning the cancer-givers that the sport’s focus was lost. So what that I fancied a cigarette after watching ‘Marlboro’ on Schumacher’s car cross the winning line again, the advertising really wasn’t the root of the problem Formula One was suffering.

Not content with banning cigarettes, overtaking had to be improved (or at least occur once in a race). So cars were slowed down and made more difficult to drive. The result? The best drivers were still in the fastest cars and could cope far better than the weaker drivers already in cars to suit their abilities. The emergence of Lewis Hamilton last year has certainly gone some way to undo the monotony of the now-retired Schumacher era. Not only is he the first black driver in Formula One, but he’s super-quick – if a bit erratic.

Problem is that even if we overlook the unsolved overtaking problem, the President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Max Mosley’s sexual preferences, constant rule changes and Lewis’s efforts to promote the sport, there’s one massive problem that looms like an Eagle over its prey – global warming. With the Earth dying thanks to mankind’s greed it seems everyone from every walk of life is being encouraged to recycle, use less energy and travel using green transport. I guess doing four miles to the gallon at 200mph every other weekend, with hundreds of articulated lorries, private jets and motor homes in tow doesn’t quite reflect that Formula One is listening.

Well maybe Honda has got the hint with their ‘Earth’ car from the 2007 season. Sponsorship free and painted with the planet Earth on it, Honda sold every pixel on its livery with each donation helping towards climate change. This season’s car has continued with promoting the dangers of climate change in a more subtle manner and once again no sponsorship – wise when you consider the car was previously run by BAT – British American Tobacco.

Ok so you like Formula One, you love Honda, support Jenson Button (although you agree he’s not much cop) and therefore want to reflect this in your everyday life – whilst saving the planet. The answer is a simple three words – Honda Civic Hybrid. Yep Honda has produced an eco-friendly car that doesn’t need plugging into the wall, look stupid or cost the earth. The Honda Hybrid looks like any other saloon which when you consider the stylings of most electric or hybrid cars is a major plus point. Road Tax in the United Kingdom is stupidly expensive so having to fork out a mere £15 a year for driving the Civic Hybrid is probably all the encouragement you’ll need to buy one. The other justification for buying one is that other than great fuel economy thanks to the electric motor doing a fair proportion of the work, it’s actually a good drive. Yes it’s not a 0-60mph monster but every other aspect is as you’d expect from a car from the Civic range – it’s a main contender in the green race.

So there you have it, buy a Honda Hybrid and watch Formula One guilt free. Now if Jenson could just overtake someone…

Mark Creese

What to Know Before Purchasing Home Solar Electricity

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Getting home solar electricity is more affordable today than it was 10 years ago.  In fact, the federal government and many state governments are currently offering tax rebates to persons that choose to convert to home solar electricity.  If installing a photovoltaic system to supply your home solar electricity is too far out of your financial abilities, there are also programs available to purchase your utilities from an accredited green energy supplier.  Green energy suppliers offer only utilities fueled by renewable resources, such as solar electricity, hydroelectricity and wind generated electricity.  However, if you made the decision to switch to solar electricity for your home it is important to determine your electricity needs before you start shopping.


The first thing you have to determine is how much power you will need from your home solar electricity system.  Different arrays and solar panel set-ups offer different wattage outputs.  Take the time to determine your average daily electricity usage.  You want to achieve a number that includes the entire year and affords for the different amount of energy used during winter and summer months (more lights, heaters, air conditioners).


When shopping for the right photovoltaic system to supply your home solar electricity definitely research the quality of the product.  A product offering 13% efficiency and a lifetime warranty will be far more valuable than the panel offering 15% efficiency and a one-year warranty.  Ask neighbors, friends and even strangers currently using home solar electricity, to learn more about the differences in systems.  Sufficient time should also be spent interviewing installers and researching manufacturers as well.


A final decision needs to be made as to what kind of system you would like to use to supply your home solar electricity.  There are generally three types of solar panel systems used to supply home solar electricity.  The first type is a grid-tied system in which your solar panels are tied into your current power meter.  You are using both electricity supplied by your panels and your supply is then backed by electricity from your electric company.  The second available solar panel system for supplying home solar electricity is a grid-tie with battery backup.  With this system you are collecting electricity from you panels, filling your batteries for emergencies and then the excess is sent back to the electric company through your meter.  The final system is a stand-alone system.  Very similar to the grid-tied system with battery backup except that you are completely disconnected or maybe never connected to a major utility provider for your area.


Once you educate yourself on providing your home solar electricity, you are probably ready to start shopping.  Remember that converting to home solar electricity is an investment and you will reap the rewards over time.  And don’t forget the pride you will have with reducing your carbon footprint by converting to home solar electricity.


Practical Money-saving Tips for Small Business

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

In today’s economic climate, it’s more important than ever to save every penny we can in our small businesses. With profits becoming harder to turn, trimming costs needs to be one of the primary focuses of any responsible small businesses – right there beside increasing revenues.So here are some cost-cutting measures you can take right to the bank.

<b>Consider carefully before you buy</b> – Before you buy that new piece of high-tech equipment or company car, think about three things 1) Can you afford it? 2) What it your ROI (return on investment)? and 3) Are there any tax-advantages or deductions?

<b>Comparison shop</b> – This is as important to do for small-ticket items like office supplies as it is for big-ticket items like copy machines. If you order online, you can use the Internet to research prices and it’s very simple to pull up side-by-side comparison. And if you decide to buy from a bricks-and-mortar store, you can use your research as negotiation.

<b>Get three bids</b> – This is along the same lines as comparison shopping, and works especially well if you are contracting for services like repairs or office cleaning, or any number of other things. You’d be surprised how widely bids will vary. If you like another higher-bidding company better than a lower-bidding company, if you quote their competitor’s lower price, companies will often match the lower bid to get your business.

<b>Barter</b> – One of the best ways to stretch your business budget is to barter, or swap, your product or service for another product or service. You keep your cash, but get the item you need. You can either barter with businesses directly, or hire a barter broker who works on commission (look in the phone book or Internet to locate one). You can also join a barter club or exchange through clearinghouses like National Association of Trade Exchange where you receive “trade dollars” for your goods or services that you can exchange for other goods or services. Check them out at

<b>Join your local Chamber</b> – Or other trade or business association. Many of them offer discounts on important business expenses like insurance.

<b>Know your tax-deductions</b> – This is especially important if you run a home-based business where you can deduct a percentage of the money you outlay for rent or mortgage interest, utilities, house cleaning, lawn care, home maintenance, and more. Whether you’re home-based or not, I’d recommend you get with your tax advisor, or go to and do some research on what you can legally deduct.

<b>Consider used or reconditioned</b> – You don’t have to buy new to get quality office equipment and furnishings. Check out your newspaper classified sections, auctions, and Internet sites like eBay and Craig’s List. Be sure to have all merchandise checked out thoroughly before you buy, or to get a money-back guarantee.

<b>Pay your bills online</b> – Save postage costs and time by setting up an online account with your bank, and paying your regular monthly bills from your computer. (Be sure to check the “lag” time and adjust your payment times accordingly.) Depending on the payee and bank, it sometimes takes several days from the time you pay to the time your check makes it to its intended destination. Along the same lines, you can also pay your bills directly to the payee in some instances. Be sure to check out all your options and use them.

<b>Centralize your office supplies</b> – Unfortunately, we often waste or misuse office supplies through lack of diligence. Many times we don’t keep good track of what we have and what we need, and end up running out (and paying too much in panic), or we order something we already have. Keep your office supplies in one centralized location, and designate one person who will monitor and dole out the supplies, and reorder when necessary.

<b>Reduce your energy footprint</b> – Going green often means saving some green as well. Turn lights off when the area is not in use. Replace your old standard bulbs with the new compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). The initial cost of the bulb is more, but the bulbs last 10 times as long as standard bulbs, and use 75 percent less energy. The long-term cost savings far outweigh the price of the bulb.

<b>Negotiate</b> – Did you know that just by asking, you can often get a discount? It’s true. Especially if you are paying with cash and in full. Ask ad you may just receive!

<b>Save on insurance</b> – By raising your deductible, you can save a tremendous amount on your monthly premiums. Chances are good that even if you have to pay your deductible, you’ll still end up saving over what you would have paid in premiums. Check with your insurance carrier to find out for sure.

Follow these cost-cutting tips and you’ll soon see your overhead going down, and your bottom line going up.

(c) Copyright 2008, All rights reserved.

Donna Williams

Christmas Craft Projects: Bust Boredom With Kid Crafts

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Have you ever heard those familiar words, “I’m bored,” coming from the mouth of your child? If so, then kid crafts are the answer. Providing the kids with plenty of interesting craft materials and project ideas and boredom will soon be a thing of the past. In here I will outline a few ideas and their instructions to keep little fingers busy throughout the Holidays.

I?m sure you already know that you need to have plenty of the basic essential on hand like paper, crayons, safe scissors, and glue. Paper for kid crafts can include construction paper, plain typing paper, cardstock of various colors, and many other options. Make sure you start saving magazines and even junk mail can be cut up to make interesting art projects. Crayons are nice for younger children, but the stores are now filled with other options, such as washable dry-erase markers, watercolor pencils, and gel pens. Kid crafts supplies can run into money, but even on a tight budget there are many affordable craft materials for kids.

Other materials kids can craft with include recycled junk and found objects. By recycled junk, I’m referring to things lying around the house and empty packaging like plastic containers, and even tin cans. If you let kids craft with tin cans, however, you need to make sure the open edge of the can doesn’t have any sharp edges. Simply file these off or squeeze them flat with a pair of pliers.

Found objects include dry leaves, pebbles, feathers and other natural items a child might find. You can also recycle old or damaged toys to make interesting gifts for the family. Even a colourful jigsaw that lost the box so has no guide picture anymore can be used for the pieces to be glued to a paper circle to make a decorative wreath for Christmas. Glue on some extra decorations or holly scraps and it will be a welcome gift for other family members.

One of the most fun and popular kid crafts is making a collage. Kids can glue together all kinds of paper products and objects when making a collage. Use heavy paper for the background, and then let the creativity begin! For an extra challenge, a collage can be built around a theme, like food, animals, or babies. Old magazines can be searched for just the right pictures, which can be cut out and glued to the background. Older kids can also cut out interesting words and headlines and add them as well.

You can also use this idea to make your own jigsaws for toddlers. Glue an attractive picture from the magazine onto some firm cardboard, and then just cut it into irregular large shapes for your little kids to re-assemble.

Younger kid crafts can include collages made of glued down pasta, beans, popsicle sticks, leaves, and many other materials. And make sure you remember the sparkles. If the budget allows only a few kid crafts splurges, remember that kids of all ages, particularly girls, really enjoy crafting artwork that includes *glitter* But whether your kids are boys or girls, young or older, suggest some kid crafts the next time your kids are bored!

Bead and Pipe Cleaner Ornaments

Christmas objects made from ordinary pipe cleaners and inexpensive acrylic beads are very pretty and easy to make. They look quite impressive but only needs a basic level of skill for small children to make. This is one Christmas craft idea to use again and again. Older people will enjoy making this Christmas craft, too, which can be varied to make a number of different sparkling ornaments for your Christmas tree.

To make the bead and pipe cleaner ornaments, you need craft supply pipe cleaners in desired colors and acrylic beads. Two types of beads are particularly effective when strung on pipe cleaners. One type are called sunburst beads, but are also known as paddlewheel beads, snowflake beads, or starburst beads. These beads have six faceted paddles spaced equally around a center that contains the hole for stringing. When several of these sunburst beads are strung consecutively, they fit against each other in an interlocking pattern.

The other type of bead that is also effective for this Christmas craft is called the tri bead or propeller bead. It has three rounded bumps arranged around the stringing hole. Like the sunburst beads, the tri beads interlock when strung consecutively. For the most cheerful and bright Christmas ornaments, get tri beads and/or sunburst beads in translucent colors of red, green, and clear. The tri beads can also be found in metallic gold and silver which can be used in this Christmas craft as well.

Pipe cleaners can be found in silver and gold tinsel as well as chenille of all colors. For Christmas crafts, the best colors to use are the metallics and Christmas colors. The beads cover the pipe cleaners, but the ends will need to be twisted together and made into hangers, so they show.

Anyone, even small children, can string these beads on pipe cleaners. Bend up the end of the pipe cleaner so the beads don’t fall off. The pipe cleaner works like a needle, making a needle unnecessary. For best results, show the children how to use a variety of bead styles and colours when stringing, or start a pattern of three colors. When the beads are strung on the pipe cleaners, they can be bent into different Christmas shapes.

For instance, string red and clear beads alternately, then bend down one end of the pipe cleaner for a candy cane shape. Or alternate red and green beads and form a circle for a wreath. Use red pipe cleaner to form a small bow to decorate the wreath. Form a hanger for the Christmas craft or simply slip the circle over a branch of the tree.

If you experiment with clear beads and silver pipe cleaners, you can make some very attractive snowflake or star ornaments. Snowflake designs can be twisted of silver pipe cleaner only, without the beads for a simple but pretty decoration.

Bead and pipe cleaner ornaments are a Christmas craft you will find yourself using every year. Children and their parents will both appreciate this simple yet pretty Christmas craft.

Craft Idea for a Group: Make a Mural
If you are minding the kids for the rest of the family on some of the key holiday, it is helpful to come up with group games and activities to suit the tastes of all involved, for a wide range of ages and of course interesting for both girls and boys. Most craft ideas are geared to individuals, whether kids or adults. Sometimes you’d like to have a craft idea that works for a group of kids working together. Making a mural together is an idea that works for a group. By working together, you are creating something to decorate a shared area.

Individual crafts can be displayed, but one unique item is often more effective than a group of items that are almost identical. In addition, sometimes kids crafts, like it or not, just become clutter when they are taken home, and it isn’t long before Mom throws it out. This craft idea of making a group mural can be displayed for several weeks and will not become clutter in anyone’s home.

The basic materials for a kids’ group mural is freezer paper. Freezer paper is about 18 inches wide, and it is very tough. One side is plastic coated. That is the side that is designed to be placed against the food. You will have better luck drawing on and gluing things onto the other side. Class or group murals can feature a number of different design elements.

You can mix up some finger paint and let the children make finger streaks on the paper. You can let them scour old cast-off magazines and color catalogs for pictures they like and let them cut the pictures out and glue them on. They can add scribbles, designs, signatures, slogans, or pictures using markers, crayons, or gel pens. They can attach stickers to the mural as well. This craft idea is very flexible!

For making the mural, choose a theme that relates to the whole group in some way. If the group are girl scouts, for instance, and have been learning to camp, the mural can feature pictures of items related to camping. If you’ve been learning about dinosaurs, you can use them as a theme.

Little preschoolers will like making a mural with an animal theme. You should probably find and cut out animal magazine pictures to start with, and then let the children choose the ones they like for gluing down.

The children can also use animal cookie cutters dipped in finger paint to stamp animals on the mural, too. You may need to tape the paper to the table so it doesn’t slide around while the children work.

Again, the craft idea is to build group solidarity and not to highlight one artist’s skills over another. When the mural is completed, it can be a group project to display it. It can be hung in a special central location or given to an appreciated community leader or family member.

Gen Wright

Where It’s Easy Buying Green…directbuy Provides One-stop Shopping Solution for Green Building Materials and Appliances

Saturday, March 26th, 2011


At the four DirectBuy showrooms of greater Chicago, members not only have the opportunity to purchase the full spectrum of green products under one roof, but they also can save some “green” buy paying manufacturer-direct prices.

Some of the “green” products available to DirectBuy members include:

?        Faucets and plumbing fixtures that offer low consumption

?        Natural cork flooring and underlayments

?        Flooring made of renewable natural bamboo

?        Lighting and ceiling fans with Energy Star ratings

?        Energy Star compliant kitchen appliances, washers and dryers

?        Cabinets treated with low-voc, LEED-compliant stains

?        Bedroom, dining room, living furniture manufactured by members of the Sustainable Furniture Council; many of these pieces are made from natural fibres, use eco-friendly foam and contain organic, halogen-free fire retardants.

“Consumers are always being encouraged to make ‘greener’ purchases, but there’s no real road map as to where to make these purchases and whether or not what they do buy is green,” said Dave Kushman, owner of DirectBuy of Hoffman Estates. “The green products our members can buy through DirectBuy have been rated by recognized ‘green’ authorities like Energy Star, LEED or the Sustainable Furniture Council so you know the green purchase you’re making is part of the solution.”

Energy Star ratings refer to the U.S.-government backed program ranking the energy efficiency of products. LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is voluntary green building rating system, which is a consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance sustainable buildings. The Sustainable Furniture Council is a non-profit balanced coalition of manufacturers, retailers and consumers offering a public tagging program to identify good “green” choices.

“We all know we should be making greener purchases, particularly when it comes to products we use in our everyday lives like lighting and appliances. Unfortunately, making those wiser choices can be quite costly. By making all these green options available at DirectBuy, we give our members the choice to save money and valuable natural resources,” said Kushman.

Since 1971, DirectBuy franchises have offered members the opportunity to enjoy enormous savings on home furnishings, home improvement items, entertainment and outdoor products and accessories by buying wholesale, directly from the manufacturer. With four convenient locations in the greater Chicago area (Gurnee, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, and Tinley Park), consumers can enjoy a comfortable, country-club setting, where they finally have the financial control of buying direct.

For more information on a DirectBuy membership, you can call 1-800-DIRECTBUY or visit

About DirectBuy

Since 1971, DirectBuy has helped hundreds of thousands of families enjoy a better quality of life, enabling them to buy directly from more than 700 manufacturers and their authorized suppliers. Buying direct makes members’ hard-earned money to go much further, while having the selection and choice not available at any retail store. Access to confidential prices, local suppliers, and unparalleled selection helps make members’ dream projects a reality.  It’s a comfortable, country-club setting, where you finally have the financial control of buying direct. The four DirectBuy showrooms serving the greater Chicago area are part of more than 160 franchise locations throughout North America.

Consumers interested in becoming members may obtain a Visitor’s Pass to attend an Open House by contacting DirectBuy at 847-885-3508, or visiting 

Locations of the four DirectBuy showrooms serving the greater Chicago area are: DirectBuy of Gurnee, 4081 Ryan Rd. #107, Gurnee, IL; DirectBuy of Hoffman Estates, 2200 N. Stonington Ave Ste. 150 Hoffman Estates, IL; DirectBuy of Dupage County, 1864 Highgrove Ste. 136 Naperville, IL; and DirectBuy of Tinley Park, 18400 S. 76th Avenue Ste. B, Tinley Park, IL.

To learn more about the superior value and benefits of a DirectBuy membership, visit

Joe D’eramo

Lower My Golf Score- Tips Used To Rebuild My Game

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Here you are looking for some tips to improve your golf score. You can repair and rebuild your game. Keeping it simple and utilizing the following tips will lead to a marked improvement in your game. This will still take time and effort on your part if you want to realize a more competitive golf score.

These tips may seem basic but that is the secret. Get good at some basics.

First off you want to be physically in golf shape. What does this mean? You want to be flexible. Get some stretching exercises in your daily routine. The more flexible you are the more fluid your swing will be. Improve your balance by standing on one leg for about 30 seconds at a time.

Get your mental game in tune. Visualize yourself totally relaxed and making that difficult shot you may have in front of you. Picture it all the way through. Mentally do not be too hard on yourself. The more relaxed you are the more open your mind is to what you have to do.

Be consistent in these basics. Use this one grip all the time. Holding your club with your fingers and not your palm is the proper start to setting your grip. Your upper hand is the one that holds the club the other had just goes along for the ride. Grasp the club lightly with your last three fingers at the top of the club. At this point no one should be able to pull the club from your hand. You don’t need a stranglehold of the club just a light grip.

Proper stance and addressing of the ball should be the same every time. Keep your knees slightly bent. Bend forward a little at the waist. Head and chin will be up to allow proper takeaway. Take a nice slow backswing. Almost always if your backswing is slow and controlled the clubface will always return to the same location you started with.

Here are a couple of tips outside of the basics to help with other common problems.

Curing a slice can be fixed by twisting your back hip rearward at address. This helps by setting you up in a position to take the club away to the inside. An inside out swing is what you want to fix that slice.

Problems with chipping will be helped by keeping your hands in front of the club face. Taking a shallow swing with no wrist break should be used for a pitch and run scenario. Try opening your clubface at address to get the ball to bite on the green.

Putting difficulties can be aided by simply using a relaxed technique and smooth follow through. Try focusing on a smaller target around the cup, like a leaf or blade of grass, to increase your aiming success.

These basic ideas when practiced regularly really benefited me in my ability to bring my game to next level.

Mark Smith

The Universal Cycles of Change: ?patterns in Nature Translated to Human Behavior

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

We can learn so much about ourselves from observing the lives of cells, the growth of trees, the waves in the ocean, along with other universal and biological patterns of growth and self creation. Nature is our greatest teacher. Since humans are a part of nature and our universe is 15 billion years old, it seems obvious that there must be some kind of connection between the patterns that exist outside of ourselves and the unconscious patterns that reside within us.

For the last 16 years I have been observing nature and studying the laws of our universe with the same question in mind. “How is our inner reality directly related to our outer reality, and how do the two affect one another?” This has led me on a long journey that has included studying cybernetics, the sciences of complexity, autopoiesis, chaos theory, morphogenetic fields, quantum mechanics and string theory; coupled with NLP and many other psychological and spiritual models. Through this ongoing research and many long–winded discussions with my husband, Tim Hallbom—we’ve developed a model to help you consciously create what you want in life called the universal cycles of change.

The universal cycles of change are an ongoing process that’s been happening in our universe for about 15 billion years, so it is a really old model. We have observed seven universal cycles of change that occur in all living systems such as plants, trees, stars, cells, and animals. You can also see these same cycles occurring in most nonliving systems such as cars, houses, computers, and the economy.

The universal cycles of change can also be found within all aspects of human life and behavior. They happen in marriages, in business, with health, with families, with various states of mind and so on. We go through these cycles every day and every year of our life. Being aware of these cycles can help us to consciously create the kinds of life experiences that we want, and to bring forth the reality of our choice. The people who do well in life are naturally attuned to these cycles of change.

Here is a brief description of the seven universal cycles of change that have been identified (A more detailed description of these cycles is provided later in the article):

 Creation–This cycle is about new beginnings. All systems must have a starting point of some kind.

Growth–when a living system begins to grow and develop, it becomes “self organizing.”

Complexity to Maturity–As a system begins to take shape and form through continued growth, it becomes more complex to the point where it reaches what we call a “steady state. “A system operates at its best when it is in a steady state.

Turbulence–When the system becomes too complex in its growth, problems begin to develop and turbulence sets in. Turbulence is considered feedback from the environment that the system’s complex state can no longer be supported. Something has to shift for it to go to the next level of creation and growth. If this shift does not occur, then chaos will set in.

Chaos–This is when the system begins to fall apart because it has become too complex, and chaos sets it. The system can no longer hold it all together.

Droppings Off–Once chaos has set in, there must be some kind of a letting go or dropping off to bring the system back into balance.

Meditation and Dormancy– This is the final cycle in which the ystem regains its balance, which will allow it to recycle back up into…

Creation. The system now has less mass, yet more energy because it contains all the learnings from the previous cycles.Everything in our universe evolves and grows, and has been doing so for billions of years. Part of this natural evolutionary process includes going through different states of change. Let’s take a tree for example, since its the easiest metaphor I’ve found to describe the universal cycles of change.

The first cycle that a tree goes through is that of creation, which happens when a seed gets planted. Then the tree grows—given that it has been provided with enough water and sunshine to grow. Over time the tree reaches a steady state of maturity in which all of its leaves have blossomed with complete beauty. Then the autumn season sets in; the leaves begin to change color. They turn brown and drop off to the ground. After this happens, the tree stands in dormancy without any leaves. But then spring comes around, the tree sprouts new leaves and the whole process of creation happens again.

Because all living systems get too complex in their growth and development, they must have some kind of a dropping off to regain their balance. Trees do this all the time with their leaves. We can learn a lot by modelling trees. Have you ever been walking by a tree and its leaves are falling off. And all of a sudden you hear the tree crying out, “Pleeeease, don’t let my leaves fall off!” This never happens. The tree has mastered the art of dropping off and recycling back up to creation. Snakes are the same way when they shed their skin. I have never know of a snake to resist the process. Even most computers have trash bins to drop off the excess information that can slow down their hard drive, which thus allows for the computer to operate more quickly and creatively.

Interestingly, there is only one living system that does not allow itself to naturally go through this 15 billion year old process of change. This same system allows itself to stay stuck in turbulence and chaos for extended periods of time. This same system often resists dropping off what needs to be dropped off. Can you guess which system it is?

Human beings of course.

People represent the only living systems that will allow themselves to stay stuck in turbulence and chaos. They are the only living systems that will not drop off whatever needs to be dropped off in their life. We see this resistance happening a lot in relationships, career, and health.

For example, my husband, Tim, and I were teaching a class in Australia last year, when a man in the group shared an amazing realization that he had about the universal cycles of change and how they related to him. This man had a teenage daughter who he had been unable to communicate with for several years. After learning about the universal cycles of change, he raised his hand and said,

“I finally understand why I have been having so many problems with my 17 year old daughter. In my mind I still think of her as a little child. I am now realizing that I need to ‘drop off’ my perception of her as a child and start treating her like a young adult. It makes complete sense to me why there has been so much turbulence and chaos in our relationship over the last couple of years.”

Another woman who attended our training in London, England, told me of an amazing experience that she had with her children and the universal cycles of change model. “Kris, I just have to tell you about the funniest thing that happened to me last night. After I learned the universal cycles of change model, I made the decision that I needed to ‘drop off’ the co–dependent relationship that I have with my five adult children.” she said with excitement.

“Even though my children are grown up, they are all so needy. I felt like my life was all about them and there was no room for me. On my drive home last night, I set the intent to release the co–dependence that has been keeping me enmeshed with my children for so many years. After I got home, all ‘chaos’ broke loose. One by one, each child phoned me with some major crisis. One of my children’s car broke down, the other had just broken up with a boyfriend, another was having a bad day, and so on. The phone just kept ringing off the hook with their problems. I told each child one by one that they were responsible for themselves from now on and that they will need to solve their own problems,” she said. At this point in the story, she was glowing as she continued to say, “I just wanted to tell you that today is the beginning of the rest of my life. I am no longer co–dependent with my children and I can have my life back! I am going to go back to school and I am also going to start painting again, and doing the kinds of things that make me happy. I am going to start living my life for me now, instead of for everyone else.”

So often people are afraid to make changes, because they are worried about throwing their lives into turbulence and chaos. In the case of the English woman, she was worried that her grown children would feel resentment towards her if she was not always fully present for them. Instead of being present for her children, she ended up resenting them because she wasn’t getting to live the life she wanted. Once she released her children from the co–dependent bonds of enmeshment, she was able to evolve into a new way of interacting with her children. And in doing so, she found that she could be more present for her children because she felt more spiritually fulfilled in her life.

As mentioned earlier, the universal cycles of change influence all the areas of our lives. The primary life areas that they effect are:

* Romance and Love 

* Career

* Health
* Family
* Money Matters
* Friends
* Spirituality
* Your Present State of Mind

When you assess each area of your life, which universal cycle of change are you experiencing in that context? If any of your areas are in turbulence or chaos, you may want to ask yourself,

“What are some things that I need to drop off so that I can bring my life back into balance?”

It doesn’t always have to be a dramatic dropping off. You can drop off something as simple as reading the morning newspaper or drinking diet coke every day. Some other examples of things that may need to be dropped off are: behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, ways of thinking, perceptions, habits, jobs, and relationships. Other specific examples might include: smoking, drinking too much alcohol, weight, television, coffee, unclear boundaries, frenetic busyness, old relationships that need to be updated, a troublesome employee, a toxic friendship, clutter, disorganization, grudges, anger, jealousy, unnecessary debt and unfinished business with people.


Here is a more detailed description of the universal cycles of change to help you identify which cycle you might be in:

Creation—This cycle is about new beginnings. Everything has a starting point, and typically that point begins with an idea, an action, or a blueprint. Some examples of this include starting a business, having a baby, investing in your first stock or fund, creating an idea for a book or a painting, building your first house, getting married, buying a new car, planting the seeds for a vegetable garden, or the Big Bang (the beginning of our universe as we know it).

Growth—When a system begins to grow and develop, it also becomes “self organizing.” What this means is that the initial creation begins to take shape or form. New patterns of behavior start to develop, and the system self–organizes itself around the original creation. For example, a new business develops a wonderful marketing plan, the tock that you’ve invested in begins to rise in price, the small tree that you’ve planted shows signs of growth, you install fancy hubcaps and new seat covers in your car, or your child speaks its first words and takes her first steps.

Complexity to Maturity—As a system begins to take shape and form through continued growth, it becomes more complex to the point where it reaches a “steady state.” A system operates at its best when it is in a steady state. Some examples of a steady state are when things are going exceptionally well in your job, when an athlete enters into the zone, when the tree that you have planted is sprouting beautiful green leaves, when your marriage is going incredibly well, the car that you bought is running great, the stock that you have invested in has made a big jump in the right direction, or when you’re feeling good about yourself and everything in your life.

Turbulence–Feedback—When the system becomes too complex in its growth and development, problems begin to develop and turbulence sets is. Turbulence is considered feedback from the environment that the system’s complex state can no longer be supported—and that something has to be reorganized, changed, or dropped off. For example, you may have hired someone to work for you and that person isn’t working out, you may start noticing some serious communication problems in your marriage that are effecting your individual health and well–being, the leaves on the tree that you planted begin to change color, you may have invested in a stock and it begins to drop, you develop a minor physical symptom that is distracting, you notice signs of depression or dissatisfaction in your life, or your car starts making funny little sounds.

Chaos—This is when the system completely falls apart and chaos sets in. For example, the leaves on the tree turn brown and shrivel up, the troublesome employee acts out to the point where the overall welfare of the business is threatened, the stock that you bought takes a huge drop, your marriage is completely falling apart, you get seriously ill, or the funny sound that your car was making turns into a loud choking sound and grey–blue smoke starts blowing out the tail pipe.

Droppings Off and Reorganization—Sometimes life becomes so complex that chaos sets in and you have to drop off something to help the system regain its overall balance. For example, when the snake sheds its skin or the leaves drop off the tree—these are considered to be droppings off. Even having to replace a part on your car is a form of dropping off or a form of reorganization. In order to move forward through a difficult life challenge you often need to let go of a limiting belief, a dysfunctional relationship, change a behavior, or reorganize how you view the world; thus making the space in your life to create something wonderfully new. All life forms in this universe such as trees, snakes, and even stars allow for this natural dropping off cycle to occur; as well as nonliving forms such as computers with animated trash bins. The purpose of the trash bin is to get rid of extra information on the hard drive because it takes up too much space. Human beings are the only ones that resist these natural cycles of change.

Meditation and Dormancy—The way a system regains its balance is to drop something off. Then it can rejuvenate itself during the dormancy phase, thus allowing itself to recycle back up to a new evolutionary level of creation. Just as the tree stands without leaves in the brisk cold winter, we sometimes need to go into a place of meditation and inner silence. It might be uncomfortable for a while, but it can be very healing to quiet one’s mind or to lay low for a while. Before you can move forward, you need to give yourself plenty of being time to renew and rejuvenate. Once you’ve done this, you can become creative again. You will have dropped off what was holding you back. Yet you’ll still have all the knowledge and wisdom that was gained from the whole experience. This sets the tone for a whole new cycle of creativity and growth.

My husband, Tim, and I have found that it is useful for people to look at the different areas of their life, and to identify where they are in the universal cycles of change. For example, there was a woman attending a WealthyMind™ seminar in Dallas, Texas last November, who took herself through the universal cycles of change model. In doing so, she discovered that there were three primary areas in her life that were in total chaos. These areas included her job, her marriage, and her health. She had been very unhappy in her marriage for over five years and tried everything possible to make it work. She and her husband hadn’t slept in the same bedroom for over three years. She had also become extremely unhappy with her job, and was 40 pounds overweight. She decided that she needed to drop off her marriage, her job, and the extra 40 pounds of weight that she was carrying.

This same woman reappeared four months later at our WealthyMindTM Program in Omaha, Nebraska. She had lost 32 pounds and looked fantastic. I asked her how her life was going. She said that she had asked her husband for a divorce and was in the middle of transitioning out of her old job and starting a new business. She had also dropped off some of her limiting beliefs around money, which had given her the courage to start a new business. She admitted that all of these changes had created some chaos in her life, yet she was happier than she had ever been and was looking forward to her new adventure.

We certainly don’t recommend dropping off a relationship or a job. This is a last resort. We always encourage our students and clients to start off by trying to drop an attitude, a perception, or any behaviors and beliefs that are related to their overall disharmony. If dropping those things off doesn’t work, then perhaps they will need to drop off the relationship or job. Especially if it is highly dysfunctional, toxic, or abusive. Fortunately, we have NLP as a resource to help people transition through these universal cycles of change.

In the case of the man who was having problems with his teenage daughter, it’s not like he could just “drop off” the relationship with his child. His only option was to reorganize who he was within the context of the relationship. As soon as he stopped treating her like a little girl, and started treating her like an adult, their relationship got better. The magic in what he did with his daughter can be found within the structure of his internal experience. He had an internal representation of her being a little girl. When he shifted that representation to her being an adult, then she started acting like an adult. By doing this, he was able to create an entirely new experience with his daughter.

What happened with the man and his daughter leads me back to the original question that I posed earlier in this article. “How is our inner reality directly related to our outer reality, and how do the two affect one another?”

Our outer reality is a reflection of our inner reality. What nature can do for us—is to serve as a perfect model for creating the life we want, as well as evolving to higher levels of personal and spiritual fulfillment. The answers to creating what we want in life can be found by becoming aware of the universal cycles of change and applying them to all the various life areas. There is no reason why we can’t harness the same kind of creative potential that exists within the seed of a plant or a star in our galaxy.

Barbara Walters was interviewing multi–billionaire Bill Gates, and asked him, “Now that you’re the richest man in the world and you can have anything you desire, what more could you possibly want?” Gates replied, “To never stop changing. Whatever I do today, will be considered history tomorrow. I have to make sure that I never stop creating, and that I am always changing.”

Suggested Reading:


A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber

Complexity by M.Mitchell Waldrop

The Web of Life by Fritjof Capra
The Tree of Knowledge by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela
Chaos: Making A New Science by James Gleick
Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson
Psycho–Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
Beliefs: Pathways to Health and Well-Being by Robert Dilts, Tim Hallbom, and Suzi Smith


© 2003 by Kris Hallbom


Kris Hallbom

Gentlest Home Remedies For Acne Scars

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Which home remedies for acne scars actually work? And which acne home remedies are safe for sensitive skin? Here are some of the natural acne scar healing tips we have learned that are the gentlest and safest for sensitive skin.

Having acne is a terrible experience, and even worse are the scars that are left on your face long after the acne has healed. It can take many months for acne scars to disappear, and there are some things you can do to speed up the healing process.

Many people with sensitive skin cannot use traditional acne scar treatments such as dermabrasion or collagen injections, which are invasive and can cause irritation, rashes and other side effects.

Homemade acne treatments can be very effective, however for best results we recommend that you create a comprehensive, whole body acne treatment program which will help you clear out the root causes of your acne so that you can prevent your skin from developing more acne scars.

If you have very severe acne, you may want to consult a qualified natural health practitioner that can assist you with creating the dietary and lifestyle changes that will clear your skin and help your body heal the acne scars. They can also guide you to find acne scar treatments that are effective even for people with sensitive skin.

Tips for Using Acne Home Remedies

1. Skin test FIRST – Even the gentlest acne home remedy might not work for YOUR sensitive skin, so please be sure to do a skin test FIRST on the back of your arm or the inside of your ear, to see if these home remedies for acne scars will work for your skin.

2. Be consistent – choose a treatment, first doing a skin test as I have suggested, and if your sensitive skin does not react to the treatment, then use it faithfully for at least a week or two. See how your face looks and feels before making a final decision.

3. Find a good daily routine for your skin – Using gentle, fragrance free and hypoallergenic products will help you to cleanse, tone and moisturize your skin without triggering more acne outbreaks.

4. Treat your WHOLE body – home remedies for acne scars are not just something you dab on your pimples. You need to maximize your body’s miraculous innate healing and rejuvenating capabilities by modifying your diet and lifestyle. I know, that’s not so easy especially in today’s busy world! In order to clear your skin, you need to drink enough pure water, exercise, eat fresh, whole foods, and eliminate foods and drinks that trigger acne outbreaks.

Simplest Acne Scar Home Remedies

Many acne home remedies also work for helping acne scars to heal. Here are a few of the most popular ones, which you can find in your kitchen or at the health food store!

Ice cubes calm the inflammation, reduce the size of pimples and reduce scarring. After icing, let your face air dry.

Baking soda and water, used as a facial mask can both clear acne outbreaks and reduce scarring.

Lemon or lime juice acts as a skin lightener and will lighten the scars. You can also use this to treat acne outbreaks.

Ground organic orange peel and water can reduce acne outbreaks and help the skin heal.

Tomato and cucumber slices, applied to your face regularly will help clear up acne and reduce scarring.

Olive oil can reduce the visibility of your acne scars and help to soften them.

Green tea contains many potent antioxidants which help the skin to heal and rejuvenate.

Lavender essential oil can help acne outbreaks to heal and also will help the scars to disappear.

Vitamin E helps the skin to heal from scarring. You can apply a little to your acne scars, and also take internally.

Vitamin C also helps the skin to rejuvenate and to produce more collagen. Some facial products with Vitamin C can cause burning, so choose a good hypoallergenic product line that works for sensitive skin.

A Comprehensive Home Facial Treatment for Acne Scar Healing

If you want to do a more comprehensive treatment program for your acne with natural ingredients, this simple and very affordable program will clean your skin, open your pores, moisturize and tone your skin and reduce irritation and acne inflammations.

* Steam your face over a pan of hot water for one to three minutes with a towel over your head. For best results, do this morning and night.

* Apply a paste of baking soda mixed with a little water to your face. Leave on for one to three minutes.

* Rinse with cool water.

* Gently pat your skin dry, then wait a few minutes until your face is completely dry.

* Apply a small amount of aloe vera gel, mixed with tea tree oil. If the tea tree oil is too intense for your sensitive skin, try lavender oil. If that doesn’t work, simply use the aloe gel by itself.

These home remedies for acne scars are just the beginning. To completely clear up your skin, consider eating a more natural diet and drinking an abundance of pure, clean water. Recent research suggests that this can reduce your acne by 50% or more! Foods that have been known to cause acne outbreaks include processed foods, sugar, caffeine, and dairy products. It IS possible to completely clear up your acne and to heal your acne scars naturally!


Green Green Opening 1

Monday, March 21st, 2011

The opening to the awesome anime, GREEN GREEN
Song: Guri Guri
Sung By: Hiromi Satou
Note: i do not own this anime

Duration : 2 min 18 sec


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Vegetable Oil Van

Monday, March 21st, 2011

A restaurant uses recycled vegetable oil to fuel its delivery van.

Duration : 2 min 1 sec


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