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Author’s image of Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, Ireland

An Irish Autumn is a closing curtain. Watching winter creep closer every day amidst evergreen horizontal rain, people search for time to soak up sunshine spots like they drop candy from the sky. They are divine, as every hour of precious space between drooping grey curtains brings small salvation. An afternoon rainbow or raindrop sheen across green fields are not strangers but, like the Irish, are inclined to vanish without warning.

Many know the brilliant surprise in greeting a spring day to see a choir of flowers opening for sunlight after a long winter. Well, Irish fields hold an encore at Autumn’s close. Just as flowers open to sing with Spring sunshine, fungi rise between tufts of grass and cling to tree bark as a last gasp before winter. …


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When the Irish winter darkness closed around me, I did what any one of us would do: solve a problem that was within my control. So, I set out to find a solution to the heap of organic waste. Inspired by my fellow Stardust writer, Eléonore, I pulled the trigger and purchased two Bokashi Composting Bins.

Click here to learn how Eléonore eliminated half her plastic waste.

LOOKING FOR LOCAL IMPROVEMENTS

I live in Westport, Ireland in County Mayo. Even though I am a proud ex-pat living an ocean apart from my American family, the events of the past six months pull my heartstrings until I’m dizzy from emotional whiplash. …


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Photo by my father of me on Donegal Golf Course

Did you have a childhood skill you did with mixed feelings but persisted nevertheless?

For me, that was golf. The “Game of Life.” Except, as a teenager, life was not a game but an unwelcome burden as the world did not extend beyond my eyelids. Yet, nearly every weekend, my dad would stir me from my pubescent coma at 6:30 a.m. to meander about on, mainly, a glorified walk punctuated by mild manicured physical effort.

Like most teenagers, I wanted to do one thing and only one thing only on a Saturday: precisely what I wanted to do. Sleep. I can’t blame myself for that. My father probably knew that I didn’t want to go and was doing what most parents of teenagers want to do: enjoy their weekend and make their children live in a waking nightmare. …


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Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash

Is it just me, or are we collectively sick of social distancing? It was cute for a while. A welcome break from our routines, perhaps, or a sudden stay-cation and permission to indulge in comforting pleasures. But now it feels stale — that apocalyptic spice dulled into a pressing sense that something needs to change to account for the 2-meter space and breathing through masks.

I, too, suppressed my feelings underneath a starch-induced paralysis. Baked bread and made soup until it dripped out of my ears (still haven’t mastered the art of “half-portions”). Last week, I saw Ireland, my home, extend its lockdown and squash any hope for Summer plans. It forced me to rethink my perspective of this isolation and find a way to turn my stay-cation into a sabbatical. …


Black and white image of a Lion’s jaws. Open wide and attacking.
Black and white image of a Lion’s jaws. Open wide and attacking.
Image by Ian Lindsay from Pixabay

I don’t want to write or read, another article that says COVID-19 is the end of all things. It is not just reductive but, worse, ignores the more impending challenge — to harness fear into a vehicle for personal discovery and growth.

We simply don’t have time for fearful narratives.

With the United States becoming the new epicenter of the virus, it is here to stay. For many of us, the only thing to plan for is next week or tomorrow. Challenges will only grow. …


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My picture of Westport Quay along the road to the mysterious point

Religious institutions cloistered the mystical experiences that connect us to our environment. The priest swings incense, and the Buddhists use their traditional Ohm vocal melody.

These images are familiar and remind us that sacred spaces are practically proprietary and for only the selected divine.

Well, no longer.

A new digital method offers anyone free access to finding liminal space. At a time when everyone is urged to seclude themselves from Coronavirus, I went exploring — albeit alone for social-distancing. I tried Randonauting, it moved me on a deep level, and this is a report of my first try.

When facing the unknown, ask the unknown

Randonauting is a growing Internet subculture that is summoning people to explore their environments in new, more mindful ways, and pick up trash at the same time. There’s a great beginner’s guide, which I am not going to repeat. …


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BlackRock is a Behemoth

BlackRock is the type of firm that needs no introduction. As the world’s largest asset management firm, Blackrock manages over $7tn financial assets — and always reminds me of the first act in Kubrick’s 2001 Space Oddessey (Image 1).

Last month the firm adopted a new sustainability initiative, and — just as the black monolith liberated the apes from their arid environment through weaponry — BlackRock is large enough to put a sharp edge on the sustainable investing industry.


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What can I learn from financial advisors?

Their business model is quite simple, and their concerns cross-industry barriers. First, advisors market to bring customers into their office through whatever means necessary — door to door, social media. Then, demonstrate competency through clear communication to show their service is better than the rest. That’s where independent businesses thrive. Large advising companies struggle to build trust because the shadow brand of a national conglomerate, and all their misdealings, loom behind them.

It was my first time at a conference for financial professionals, but I expected to:

First, to confront high school trauma — it seems like every high school bully grew up to be a sharp jawed, pinstripe suit-wearing financial advisor. …


Doctor, I can see the head

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STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA WIRE

Residents and anyone visiting Ireland or the United Kingdom will be overwhelmed with news about Boris’ burgeoning baby, BREXIT. It is everywhere, but who can blame Irish and British news media for relentlessly covering essentially the same story over and over and over? Just last month, when the Brexit baby seemed ready to breech, Ol’ Boris decided to let go of his “do or die” moment and permit every member of parliament to continue with their little 4-yr civil charade and continue debating Brexit. (Literally, it has never been easier to be a member of parliament).

All that aside, I flew from my home in Ireland to visit the stateside family and saw no less than half a dozen people watching Prince Andrew’s BBC interview. For nearly an hour, people watched a member of the royal parliament “categorically deny” any illicit sexual behavior associated with Jeffrey Epstein because of a pizza party alibi and an inability to sweat. (How’s that for inflight entertainment?) All to get out of the Brexit news loop. But, there is one major Brexit impact the media is not covering. …


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The Source of Evil: Psychosis

Joker is a beautiful mess. The audience may be conflicted between pity and anti-hero idolization, but the film guides them to see crime as motivated by mental illness rather than economic distress. The character, the Joker, represents a manifestation of evil brought about by psychosis. For a significant corporatized film, it explores exciting ideas but does not quite tap the pulse of an anarchic vein in a culturally fulfilling manner.

About

Colin Ward

Reformed economist tackling mental health and spiritual subjects. Links to my writing: https://linktr.ee/colinkmw

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