Sustainable Housing? Try Shipping Containers

I came across an interesting article at Fast Company, So You Want Sustainable Housing? Try Shipping Containers. It’s about a Dutch startup converting used shipping containers into off-the-shelf, off-the-grid dwellings.

Dutch startup Sustainer Homes is attempting to eliminate at least some of the difficulty by producing the world’s first off-the-shelf, zero-impact dwelling. Set in a converted shipping container, the 323-square-foot space includes a bedroom, bathroom, full kitchen, and living room, all constructed from wood-free, Ecoboard panels. The entire thing costs $78,000, approximately $1,300 of which would be made up annually in heat and electricity savings. And because it’s completely self-contained, it can be shipped anywhere and set up in minutes.

Sustainer Homes writes this:

In the world of tomorrow, with its rising rents, sprawling cities, and dwindling resources, we’ll need housing that is much more independent, flexible, and sustainable than anything offered on the housing market of today. Sustainer Homes builds the world’s first fully off-grid, sustainable, and mobile container homes that require no sacrifices in living comfort. We believe we have designed a home of the future.

Books September 2015

BooksHere’s a list of the books I bought in September and the reasons why I bought them. I include book texts to give a hint of what the books are about. Reviews might (or might not) come later.

A Well Tempered Heart

I bought “A Well Tempered Heart” by Jan-Philipp Sendker because I love his book “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats”.

Julia Win, a successful Manhattan lawyer, is at a crossroads in her life. Despite her wealth and privilege, she is exhausted and unhappy – a lost soul. She returns to Burma, the homeland of her father, where she encounters an anguished mother whose life is shattered when her two sons are called up from their rural village to fight in Burma’s civil war. Both women embark on their own journeys of self-discovery, experiencing heartbreak, horror, love and, ultimately, redemption. This mesmerising novel explores the most inspiring and passionate terrain of all: the human heart.

More than two

I bought “More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert based on a tip and my own curiosity. Polyamory is having several relationships at the same time. The tip said the book is a lot about relationships, valid whether you have one relationshp at a time or many. I’m also curious about polyamory.

The book includes questions at the end of each chapter which gives you a possibility to work on your own in addition to reading. I am right now at page 35 (of 469) and it’s a really interesting book. The book has a lot to give about what matters in relationships and how to make them work.

From Ancient Greece through the many dynasties of China to current practices of non-monogamy, people have openly engaged in multiple intimate relationships. Not until the late 20th century, however, was a word coined that encapsulated the practice: polyamory.In recent years, as more people have discovered polyamory as a legitimate option for their relationships, Franklin Veaux and his partner Eve Rickert saw a growing need for a comprehensive guide to the lifestyle.This wide-ranging resource explores living polyamorously?the nuances, the options, the myths and the expectations without judgment and with a good dose of humor. The authors share not only their hard-won philosophies about polyamory, but also their hurts and embarrassments. They underscore the importance of engaging in ethical polyamory and guide readers through the thorny issues of jealousy and insecurity, encouraging readers to work conscientiously on both their relationships and themselves.

Big Magic

I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED presentation about creativity, A different way to think about creative genius. That presentation is the main reason I bought “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I hope the book will both deepen and widen my knowledge about creativity as well as serve as an inspiration.

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process – and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.

Quoted texts about the books are from The Book Depository.

Books and reading

BooksI love books, browsing book stores in real life is a pleasure. Despite that I’m not an avid collector with lots of book on shelves. I’m picky which books I buy, it has to click in some way. My favourite online book store is The Book Depository. They have free shipping to many countries, including mine, which makes it easy to order one book at a time.

I prefer printed books. In non-fiction books I make notes when I find something interesting. It happens in novels as well, when something in the text really strikes a chord. I have many unread printed books, piled in a book shelf and some of them on tables.

There are almost 150 books in my Kindle library, most of them unread. The Kindle books are mostly non-fiction but include some novels. I get interesting books when they are for free or at a really low price.

About ten books are ones that I have in my reading process. I prefer to have several books going instead of focusing on just one. Another thing is that I am an irregular reader. That will change. Blogging about my new books will help me improve my reading habits. My goal is to read daily and to have maximum three books running parallel.

There’s no rush in catching up with my unread books. I want to get better reading habits in order to get wiser, to learn from the books I’ve bought. It often turns out that I learn things from novels too. There always seems to be a reason why I read a specific book.

The Little Prince

I just finished “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It’s a lovely fable and a great story. What especially stuck with me is the secret the fox tells him: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

The prince repeats it later in the book: “The eyes are blind. One must look with the heart.”

A pilot stranded in the desert awakes one morning to see, standing before him, the most extraordinary little fellow. “Please,” asks the stranger, “draw me a sheep.” And the pilot realizes that when life’s events are too difficult to understand, there is no choice but to succumb to their mysteries. He pulls out pencil and paper …Thus begins this wise and enchanting fable that, in teaching the secret of what is really important in life, has changed the world forever for its readers. Often seen as a symbol of childhood innocence, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s best-selling book The Little Prince is cherished by children and adults alike across the globe.

Quoted text about the book is from The Book Depository.

That elusive book of mine

For a longer time I’ve wanted to write a book. Several people have told me I ought to share what I know. The catch is that what I’ve written so far is purely for my own pleasure and nothing to share. Now things change – for the better. I have a partner in crime, we intend to create the book together. We’re in the same business, helping people change and develop, and we work on our own change and development as well.

There’s no deadline set but we’re intent on keeping a steady pace. Since we’re in the beginning of our book project it’s still more of bouncing topics and ideas than actually writing. The introduction, still a draft, looks like this:

The book is written with a very small audience – ourselves. At the same time, we know that the book is relevant to many more. When we now share the book with others, the goal is that the book will provide both inspiration and insights. We want the book to lead to reflection. Above all, we want to inspire and motivate you the reader to make the changes that you want to do.

The book is based on our own personal and spiritual development, supplemented by experiences of working with clients. It is a sometimes meandering journey between different subjects and problems and joys. We have done our best to avoid lecturing and platitudes. Where relevant, we have tips and tools so that you as readers have the opportunity to gain practical utility of the book.

Drafts and snippets will be posted in my blogs. That means here at Bengt’s Notes as well as at Bengt Wendel (Swedish), GRS Mentor (English), GRS Mentor (Swedish) and at The Mental Leap.

If the stuff that you're writing is not for yourself, it won't work. - Stephen King

Healer vs shaman

In a discussion on Facebook a person wrote “I understand that word Shaman is nowadays replaced with the word ‘healer’ ”

I objected. “Shaman and healer are different things – or at least should be.” Of course I was called on to explain how I see it. This is my answer:

A healer works with energy. That’s about it. (Psychics and mediums do other things.)

A real shaman (not the diluted Western version) is more complex. Shamans do healing work too but it’s only part of what they do. The shaman communicates with the spirits on behalf of the community. Many shamans have expert knowledge of medicinal plants native to their area, and often prescribe an herbal treatment as part of the process. Shamans are often chosen, either by their tribe or by “the other side”.

“Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world.”

Your mileage may vary, this is how I see a healer vs shaman.