Women's March Poem (Video)

2 years ago, I recorded my good friend Alyson's poetry / spoken word piece on the "sunset terrace" in Nepal for the Women's March in DC and women all around the world.

I've had the utmost pleasure to work alongside Alyson since 2016 within Conscious Impact as well. She's the visionary behind the Youth Empowerment program, and currently she's in the village of Takure in Nepal continuing to run the program, finding a Nepali coordinator to improve and expand the reach of our work, while also helping to build up the coffee cooperative processing center for local farmers to process and sell their organic coffee beans in the future.

I am thankful for her presence, strength of character, devotion, authenticity, and friendship.

The video can be viewed on Vimeo as well.

Check out Alyson's other work at Alyson Noele Poetry or alysonnoele.com

Food Resilience in Ōtautahi Christchurch

In continuing my invitation to attract awesome people and work in my life, here's a collaborative project I've had the utmost pleasure of being a small part of earlier this year, in New Zealand.

This is a story of resilience in Ōtautahi Christchurch. This is a story of community. A story of people coming together. Of co-creating spaces that serve not only our bodies, mind, and spirit, but also of the greater invisible bonds that bind us together, as well as for the greater good of the ecosystems that nourish us and other living beings. Fundamentally, food connects all of us, and in getting to know these wonderful people in the local community all around Ōtautahi, I got to hear and learn about their why and how, their inspirations and greater vision especially coming out of the traumatic earthquakes that rocked the city over 7 years ago now. The destruction led to tremendous loss and sadness, however it has henceforth provided immense opportunities to come together and rebuild a city that better serve us and all living beings. My invitation down under last year stemmed out of these new sprouts, and I am personally very thankful for the time spent and connections made whilst in Aotearoa New Zealand, and for this piece to be story that we co-created and tell all around Canterbury and beyond. May inspirations spark and seeds be sowed in the minds and the earth for months, years, and decades to come.

Please share the aroha far and wide! 

Directing: Jonathan H. LeeSubtledream Photography
Production: Michael Reynolds and Jonathan H. Lee
Videography, editing, sound mixing: Jonathan H. Lee
Additional video: Jonny KnoppPeanut Productions Photography
Video and sound assistance: Milena Pascuzzi
Music: Scott Nice of Jumpsuit Records, used with permission via Bandcamp membership

Special gratitude: 
Peter WellsOtakaro Orchard 
Michael ReynoldsFood Resilience Network Canterbury
Hayley GugliettaRichmond Community Garden
Catherine O'NeillNew Brighton Community Gardens
Alex DaviesGatherings
Ashvin GoburdhoneCultivate Christchurch
Kit HindinKit Hindin Activation
Marian JohnsonMinistry of Awesome
Erica Austin-KnoppTe Pūtahi - Christchurch centre for architecture and city-making

Coffee Co-op Groundbreak! (Video)

Friends and fans! This is a very exciting new construction project that Conscious Impact broke ground in the past month. We've been working with and talking about coffee with local farmers for about 2 years now, and each day we bring the hub closer from conception to reality.

Personally, I am pretty darn excited to have been able to integrate my new video capturing (especially the aerial shots!), editing, and storytelling skills gained from this past year in New Zealand and Australia and infuse them into the work that we do in Nepal (and beyond).

It has been a tremendous time being back with the team here in the lower Himalayas living, working, and co-creating together. Watching the trees, kids, ideas, and our community grow and thrive is often beyond any still photograph or video can truly convey, but I'll do what I can in bringing it all to life.

As I transition back to the U.S. in a few days, keep an eye out for much more content that I've captured these past 7 weeks and get into editing/writing/production mode, and of course continue to publish them on Conscious Impact's social media outlets and here with you all.

A heartfelt shoutout to all of my patrons on Patreon in making my livelihood and this work possible. Patrons also get exclusive content, early releases, and other perks! Check it out to see my story and how you could possibly take part also.

Water Tank Project Update (Video)

Last spring, hundreds of people helped Conscious Impact raise $7,000 USD via GlobalGiving towards a new water tank for the community of Takure. Now, just 3 weeks into our new season, the tank has seen some amazing progress. Community members and volunteers have been working nearly every day, moving sand, stone, and other construction materials, to make this project a reality. In one month, upon its completion, more than 50 families will finally have access to a sufficient year-round water supply.

I used $100 USD of the funding from Patreon to donate towards this water tank project. This project came out of the community members' desires, and has been made possible because of grassroots donations and supporters like yourself, seeking out initiatives, projects, communities, and organizations such as Conscious Impact to co-create a more collaborative and equal world. I am thankful to so many friends and family supporting me on Patreon in allowing me to return to Nepal and take part, capture, and re-tell progress and stories like this to more and more people.

Check out how I am able to do this on my page: www.patreon.com/subtledream

Kick off video!

Freshest video update of our kickoff of season/year 4 of Conscious Impact's work in the village of Takure in Nepal.

We kickoff with some housekeeping, volunteer camp upgrades, and steadily move towards the continuation of our existing projects in the rebuilding and agriculture spaces as well as youth empowerment. I'm thrilled to be utilizing my craft as well as my hands to serve this project and community once more.

A huge thanks to my 42 patrons on Patreon in making this a reality, and a special shoutout to Urška Čebron, my latest patron! Big gratitude. 🙏

Patreon is a platform that allows content creators like myself to earn a sustained income from individuals like yourself to support radical projects, art, and grassroots initiatives like this. Consider pitching in if you find value in what I/we do, starting as little as just $1/month! See and learn more about me via www.patreon.com/subtledream

Video shot and edited by yours truly featuring Orion Haas, one of the co-founders of Conscious Impact, a long-time friend, and also a fellow patron/supporter.

Check out and follow along Conscious Impact's journey: 
consciousimpact.org 
instagram.com/consciousimpact 
facebook.com/consciousimpact
vimeo.com/consciousimpact

Yoga for Nepal - Conscious Impact

Did you know that Conscious Impact is about to run our third annual yoga retreat at the village where we've worked and live? November 6-15 -- and trust me, that's a beautiful time to be amongst the Himalayas.

Learn more and sign up via: https://www.consciousimpact.org/yoga

Special thanks to Sebastian Buffa of Redefined Films for filming and recording Dharma Shakti working her magic physically, verbally, and energetically with the land and people. Putting this video together was a breeze because of you guys' sublime work! 

Thriving in the broken landscape, living in SOILdarity [TEDx talk]

Several weeks back when I was in Barcelona and feeling the weight of the issues of our world crush down on my mind, I wrote a post with some of those thoughts. A number of you read it and responded, and I was thrilled to have received a number of heartfelt replies and words of encouragement. When I was in Los Angeles briefly in June I visited a good friend Ryan Serrano and caught up with life. One of the many things mentioned was keeping up the good work admist seemingly a sea of apathy and massive consumerism. 
Ryan calls it "well-informed futility syndrome, a condition of anxiety that comes from knowing about the world's problems and wanting to fix them but feeling helpless and overwhelmed against the cultural and economic patterns that create them in the first place."
I am blessed to have walked this journey in the past several years with countless individuals who continue to lift their heads and carry the light with them as they show others the light and the joy that we all have within. 
This TEDx talk is one of the brightest beacons of light I have come across in recent times. Take the time to re-energize yourself with my brother Ryan's words and perspective. 
PLUG: if you are in southern California and in search of ecological landscaping advice, give Ryan a holla through his business via Earth Steward Ecology.

 

What do healthy societies and healthy ecosystems have in common? In his inspired TEDx Talk, Ryan Serrano shares the importance of grassroots movements in an age of globalization and the power of rooting sustainability within our cultures. Ryan Serrano is a student and practitioner of regenerative design.

#MoreThanATree Campaign

I am late to the #MoreThanATree campaign, but folks ought to know about this, so here's my post.
As the videography and editor of this piece, I can tell you this campaign really, truly is much more than just a (coffee) tree (or 10,000!). This represents Conscious Impact's original commitment and intent in the village of Takure - a long-term vision and solution that is in-line with the community members' point of view. Narayan Bhattarai, a Takure local and a walking encyclopedia of local plants and all-things agriculture (and more), is our amazing community liaison and a dear friend since the inception of the project. Together with the agriculture team, we have taken part in many conversations and plannings in working to this point - the joining of an existing coffee growing cooperative that guarantees buyers at a fixed rate. What does this mean? It signifies that farmers who are part of this co-op can sell their harvest coffee beans at a rate that would bring in considerable income for his/herself and their families. What other benefits are there, you may ask? Good question! Since coffee trees enjoy being in the shade, part of coffee planting means also planting canopy trees which will tower over the coffee. For this we will put in the ground native and other fruit/food-bearing trees that will not only provide shade, but also food for humans, birds, and other fauna will be attracted to his multi-layer habitat, just as a natural and healthy-functioning ecosystem would. Another added bonus: more trees and a restored natural habitat = less erosion, and that's definitely a good thing in these deforested hillsides battered with heavy monsoon rains every summer. 
With that said, and having watched these coffee saplings grow from sprouts 13 months ago to their height now, the evolution of the agriculture program and its potential to really make a positive impact on regional community members ecologically and financially, I am beyond pleased to have cut this together to fund a project that I believe in personally. Big, big thanks to Sunita Pandey and Alyson Noele Sagala in translating our interviews throughout the Spring season, while the ag team consisting of Bryce Geralynn TannerGreg Robinson, Narayan Bhattarai, Jose Whelan, and Renée Dyke certainly deserve a round of applause for their dedication and (ongoing) work in making this a reality. We are at 44% or so now and I don't see why we cannot hit 100% before the summer's end. Big thanks to all who have supported us so far!

Ready to pitch in?
Campaign fundraiser link: https://www.classy.org/campaign/more-than-a-tree/c118678

Want to know more?

Vimeo video link (to share with those not only on Facebook): https://vimeo.com/consciousimpact/morethanatree

See more on Conscious Impact's Facebook page, Instagram @ConsciousImpact #MoreThanATree, and of course our website www.consciousimpact.org

PS: Gratitude to Rebeca Segal for photographing alongside yours truly, and to the musical talents Scott HansonIftach Yaya Meir, and Chris Mains for the sublime soundtrack!

Education Program Update Blog & Video

Always a pleasure working with the amazing Alyson Noele Sagala who I met through Conscious Impact last year. Last week I went to the local secondary school with Alyson and two other volunteers/friends, Allie Seymour and Lilly Foster, and together they facilitated a women's reproductive health class alongside Shakya Jenisha, a Teach for Nepal fellow. Photos by yours truly and words and Alyson's.
Link to blog: https://www.consciousimpact.org/new-blog/2017/5/2/education-update-252017-sexual-reproduction-and-health

Also! Fresh video update of the same day. As is the case usually, Alyson describes it best:
"Though news from across the ocean is as disheartening as ever, I am reminded of the good we are still capable of putting out in the world to counteract ugliness, no matter the context.
Last Friday we did a sexual reproductive health and menstruation education workshop for the members of the Girls Empowerment Program. I'm even more excited about the follow up meeting we had just this morning with even more girls in attendance. But for now, take a gander at this video that documents what we did last week, engaging this bright group of girls with invaluable education in a fun, supportive, and safe environment.
"
Shout out to Lilly FosterAllie Seymour, and Shakya Jenisha in making this possible, enlightening curious young minds here where we've lived and worked. I always enjoy documenting a meaningful and empowering event and cause. Thank you! #ComeToNepal