Recycling and Reducing Waste in the Workplace

Recycling help our planet

Recycling help our planet

Businesses that are fast, efficient and organized thrive in the modern world. Unfortunately, meeting the demands of consumers can lead to the creation of substantial amounts of waste. The overuse of energy and resources impacts not only the environment, but company profits as well.  When businesses work to reduce waste, everyone benefits.

 

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, up to 90% of workplace waste is paper.  This means that businesses have a great opportunity to give back to their communities by simply recycling just this one resource.  Fortunately, more and more businesses are recognizing the importance and value of recycling, leading to the implementation of policies designed to reduce waste.

Before implementing a recycling program, it’s important to consider all the ways to reduce waste.  Doing both simultaneously helps develop a more efficient business.  There are several simple techniques that can help in this endeavor.

Print only what you need. Make use of email and programs like Google Drive to share information among co-workers without the need for excessive memos and handouts.  When you do print;use both sides of the paper.

Make use of ceramic or metal coffee mugs and reusable containers for snacks and coffee breaks.  If it’s feasible, consider a compost bin or other way to reuse things like food scraps.  Use this to fertilize the grounds.

Reuse items when possible. Use shipping boxes to store items and reuse scrap paper for taking messages or leaving notes.

Always turn off lights, computers and other equipment when it isn’t in use.  “Sleep mode” still consumes a large amount of electricity over time.

Eliminate waste by using items like paper clips instead of staples.  Use crumpled paper instead of bubble wrap for sending out packages.  This eliminates the need to purchase unnecessary office supplies.  Consider all other areas where you can find permanent or reusable solutions.

Companies that go green serve as great examples in the community and their efforts are often mirrored by other organizations.  Many customers are more inclined to support businesses that demonstrate environmental awareness and conscientious practices.

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

A recycling program is also a great way to boost morale in the workplace, bringing people together for a common cause. It feels good to know you are doing something that benefits everyone around you.  Cooperation, teamwork and even some friendly competition can be fostered with a good recycling program.

Implementing a workplace recycling program doesn’t have to be complicated.  There are several simple things any business can implement and in our next post, we’ll discuss how to start a successful campaign in your business.

Incense for Healing

Incense Burning Incense is produced with a variety of plant based ingredients including barks, leaves, resins, roots and essential oils.  Throughout history, plants and their essential oils have been used to facilitate healing on all levels – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.  Incense is also used in many traditions to purify the energy of a space, removing negative energies that can further fuel illness.

Purifying smoke has been used since ancient times to send messages to the Gods and to welcome the presence of the Divine.  There are several Bible references regarding the use of incense and anointing with oil for healing purposes.  These practices have continued into our modern era for good reason.

The fragrant smoke of incense can enhance meditations, promoting the state of mind required to guide healing energies intuitively to where they are needed in the body.  Incense can also be used together with other items to enhance the healing effect.

Types of Healing Incense

Use the following types of incense to promote healing on all levels: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.

Amber

Carnation

Cedar

Cinnamon

Citron

Cypress

Eucalyptus

Gardenia

Honeysuckle

Juniper

Lavender

Sage

Sandalwood

Thyme

Violet

Healing Practices with Incense

There are several ways to incorporate incense into a healing ritual. The techniques are simple enough that anyone can do them.

Purifying Baths

One of the simplest ways to detox and purify the body is to soak in a purifying bath.  This is another ritual with a rich history in a variety of cultures.  Ritualistic baths not only cleanse the body and help draw out toxins, they also soothe the mind and soul.

Use Himalayan salt or Epsom salts in the water to draw out impurities and toxins through the skin and to cleanse the aura. You can also add your favorite herbal bath tea.   As you soak for 20 minutes, burn your favorite healing incense nearby, allowing the smoke to cleanse the area and to help induce a deeply relaxed state that can relieve stress and facilitate healing.

Healing Meditations & Energy Work

Meditating on the Chakras and learning to cleanse and balance them is a great way to bring healing on multiple levels.  Each of the 7 major chakras are linked to various locations throughout the body.  When you cleanse and balance the chakras, it also promotes physical healing.

There are specialty incense bundles available that can assist in working with chakras.  Each chakra point has its own corresponding type of incense.  Burn a stick during chakra cleansing meditations or Reiki sessions to facilitate the flow of healing energy throughout the energy body.  Enhance the effect by adding chakra stones or other tools to your practice.

Stress Relief

Stress is often at the heart of many conditions and ailments like headaches, stiffness, aches and general feelings of malaise.  The right type of incense can instantly relieve stress and relax the body.  On a cold day, toss a bit of wood incense into the fire to release soothing fragrance throughout the area.  Place a cone or stick on a pretty holder and burn it whenever and wherever you need to feel relaxed.  Close your eyes and let the fragrance help you relax and unwind.

Releasing stress is the key to health and longevity.  Studies have proven that there is a direct link between high,  chronic stress levels and life-threatening conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.  Unfortunately, our hectic modern lifestyles lend themselves to this dangerous chronic stress, but the effects can be undone by taking time regularly to relax and regroup.

Using Sage for Spring Cleansing

As Spring arrives, it carries with it the spirit of renewal as new life emerges from the deep sleep of Winter.  Spring tends to find many people more energized and eager to welcome renewal into their own lives as well.  In order to do this, it is important to remove old, stagnant energies to make way for new opportunities to enter.

Often, people engage in Spring cleaning rituals.  Once the weather is warm, windows are opened and fresh air is let in.  Deep cleaning brings a feeling of freshness.  Spiritually, it is a good time to engage in a similar practice.  Smudging with sage can help draw out stagnant, negative energies and clear the home, office or sacred space.  Spiritual cleansing will raise the energetic vibration of any space, enhancing that enthusiastic Spring energy.

 

smudging1How to Smudge

For those new to the practice, the idea of smudging may be intimidating, but rest assured it is a safe practice that doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  Smudging is an ancient and sacred ritual that has been used for centuries.  Approach the process with the respect it deserves.  Take your time and be thorough in your practice.

Even blissfully happy homes can accumulate stagnant energies.  This is especially true after long winters, where people spend a lot of time cooped up and shut in tight.  Even your work space can be smudged, but make sure you do this during off hours and that you have permission of course.

Supplies you will need include a sage smudge stick, a lighter or matches, a candle, and a flame proof container. You can also use a feather to push the smoke, but this is optional.  To start, gather your supplies and offer a prayer of gratitude and protection – or whatever suits you according to your belief system.

Light the candle and focus your energy and then light the tip of your smudge stick.  White candles are a good choice because they symbolize purity.  Wave the stick until it begins to gently smolder.  You don’t want it to be set on fire. If it should catch, blow out the flame.  The idea is to have it smolder just enough to produce gentle smoke.

Keep your smudge stick over your fire proof container at all times.  You may want to keep a lighter with you to relight the stick if it goes completely out.  If another person is participating in the ceremony with you; have them carry the candle.

Using a feather or your hand, go clockwise around the home starting at the front door and wave the smoke gently into the corners of each room.  Make your way around to all rooms in the home and be sure to also include closets, garages, basements and storage rooms.

Make your way all the way around to where you started and then extinguish your smudge stick.  You can allow the candle to continue to burn to further purify the home and welcome in positive energy.

Ostara and Spring Equinox

Ostara is a celebration that marks the arrival of Spring.  During this time, the Earth starts to make changes in preparation for the growing season ahead. The ground becomes warmer, the first signs of new life begin to emerge from the soil; buds may even form on some trees.  Ostara is the ancient Pagan holiday that later also blossomed into the Christian holiday Easter.  There are many ancient cultures and religions that honor renewal and mark the Vernal equinox.

1235900_589200897798646_792380404_nOstara is a celebration of the fertility of the Earth and is celebrated during the Vernal equinox, when day and night are the same length, marking the end of Winter and the first day of Spring.  Symbolically, it is seen as a return to harmony and as a time to celebrate fertility.  In the Northern hemisphere, the vernal equinox occurs in March; in the Southern hemisphere it happens in September.

Ostara Traditions & History

 The Spring equinox has always help great significance in many of the Earth’s ancient cultures. The Great Sphinx in Egypt directly faces the rising Spring equinox sun. It was celebrated as a time of resurrection of the Egyptian god Osiris.  The temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia also aligns to the Spring Equinox and marks the struggle between the forces of light and dark.  In Christianity, this period marks the time of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Regardless of the tradition, the spiritual lessons are similar.  This time of year is seen as a battle between light and dark, where the light eventually triumphs, ensuring immortality.  It is a good time to focus on renewal in life, to release the things that hold us back and to embrace new beginnings and fresh starts.  This symbolism can also depict what we go through on our spiritual journeys, finding our way through the darkness and emerging as a spiritually awakened being.

Many traditions we participate in today have their roots in Ostara.  Painting and dying eggs for example is found in ancient Pagan mythology.  Eggs are symbols of creation and represent the cycles of nature.  Spring traditions in the past included collecting wild eggs, dying and painting, and burying them in the Earth.  Burying eggs was believed to increase the fertility of the land.

Rabbit Dolomite Carving

Rabbit Dolomite Carving

Rabbits and lambs are also traditional symbols of Ostara.  Lambs represent purity and new potential. Rabbits are a symbol of abundance and fertility.

Another common practice was the gathering of herbs during Ostara. It was believed that magical herbs hold the most power on this day.

This time of year is steeped in rich tradition. No matter how you choose to honor it, allow the wisdom to help you grow and flourish.  The wisdom of the Sun, Earth and cycles has had a profound impact on all cultures throughout history.  When you honor the cycles of the Sun; you give reverence to the history of humanity as a whole.

Best Items for Spring

springAh, Spring is nearly upon us, and it is a welcome time for many who are feeling ready to shake off the effects of a long, cold winter.  This is the time of year that a spirit of renewal can be felt almost everywhere.  Many people begin cleansing rituals, planning gardens and preparing for the coming months where they can spend more time enjoying the outdoors.

Spring brings so many wonderful blessings: longer days, warm weather, the return of color, as what was dormant comes to life again.  So, how to prepare for Spring?  One of the best ways to welcome Spring is by cleansing your home, both literally and spiritually.  Open windows, get rid of your dust bunnies, and get the air and energy flowing again.

Many find this is a great time to perform a smudging ritual, to push out any negative, stagnant energy and invite positive new energy to come in.  Smudging can really make it feel a weight has been lifted. Burning incense can have the same cleansing effect.  Many people prefer to burn it in the warmer months when windows can be opened to better dissipate the smoke. With these kinds of cleansings, the smoke is used to carry away negative energy, making room for abundance and positivity.

Incorporating water features is another great way to encourage the flow of positive energy.  A water fountain is a good choice to encourage flow and amplify positive vibrations.  Spring is the season of growth and renewal. Anything that draws this energy and helps it flow through your space can welcome more opportunities to come your way.  Water features are great indoors and outdoors.  The best fountains should have quiet motors, be sturdy and easy to clean.

Spring is also a great time to cleanse crystals and stones.  Restore their energy and place them in auspicious areas to balance and amplify positive energy.  Gypsum (Selenite) is a great stone to place in any space.  In its natural state, it is a lovely, white/transparent stone that goes with any décor.  Selenite is beautiful, and it brings a tranquil, peaceful energy.  It also promotes clarity of thought and raises the vibration of any area it is placed in.  Selenite is often formed into candle holders, statues and even jewelry.

Spring of course means the desire to spend more time outdoors.  Make your outdoor space more inviting with a set of wind chimes to carry the light spring breezes.  Nothing sounds as lovely during a quiet day as the gentle ringing of chimes.  Open the window and allow their gentle sound to lift your spirits.

If you have a garden space or zen area in your yard, a volcanic stone statue is a lasting, high-quality piece that will retain its beauty for many seasons.  Buddha or God’s hands statues are a perfect way to show gratitude and to welcome the spirit of abundance into your garden area.

Regardless of what you do to welcome it, Spring is a beautiful time of the year to reflect on fresh starts and new direction.  Enjoy and embrace the enthusiasm that comes with the season of renewal.

 

Saraswati Puja

 

Saraswati Puja, also known as Vasant Panchami, is the first of two Spring Hindu festivals.  It celebrates Saraswati, the goddess of education, music, arts and culture.  On this day, books are not used. Instead, students place their books, pens and musical instruments before a statue of the Goddess, so that they might receive her blessings.  It is common for new students to begin their education around this celebration. Schools and Universities offer special times for worship during the festival, in addition to their traditional activities. Young children are also encouraged to write the alphabet for the first time, to start the path to gaining knowledge.

In the Punjab region of India, a kite festival draws tourists from around the world. Kites and string are purchased in large quantities and the children fly them to celebrate the festival. The sky comes alive with a rainbow of vivid colors. There is also a tradition called the “throwing of color” where people throw packets of dyes and shower one another in bright, vivid colors.  The kids paint each other in this fun and joyful event. There are also special dances and songs.

Other rituals of the holiday include the use of a white idol which represents purity.  Natural dye for the Shiuli flowers are used for the deity’s sari.  Offerings are presented to her including sweets like berries and puffed rice. Meals on this day are strictly vegetarian to represent purity and learning.

The color yellow plays a large role in this festival because it is associated with the blooming of mustard flowers.  Saraswati is often depicted wearing a yellow dress, and during the festival many people wear yellow to represent the coming of spring. Sweet saffron rice, and other yellow traditional dishes are shared among celebrating families.

Yellow has the ability to lift the spirit. It instantly draws the mind to thoughts of sunshine and renewal after the often long, gray days of winter.  If you are feeling the winter blues or experiencing some cabin fever, enhance your environment with a punch of bright yellow color.

 Kheops can help you celebrate the coming Spring with several unique items. Our miniature Saraswati figurines are great for carrying or placing on your altar. Give your space a lift with brightly colored prayer flags or other décor.  Yellow can add a touch of warmth to your space. Even the warm glow of candlelight soothes the soul and embraces the essence of warmth that comes with Spring. Take time to plan your garden, or renew a sacred space.  In the spirit of Saraswati, it may be a great time to increase your knowledge as well.

Happy Saraswati Puja

The Importance of Going Green

1450720_245924625557129_152380469_n“Going Green” is a buzz phrase that is widely popular in recent times.  It seems many are getting on the sustainability bandwagon, from businesses, to community groups and individuals.  Aside from the basic environmental impact though, what is the true value and importance of going green?

A Better Future

Going green and developing more sustainable practices today helps ensure that there will be a system in place for future generations. It also helps preserve resources we all require for our very survival. Deforestation of the rainforests is a problem that will eventually effect the climate on a global scale if the practice is not reduced. Unfortunately, many food items, pharmaceutical drug ingredients and other products are leading to massive deforestation in the Amazon and frantic efforts are in place to slow the practice. It is also important to consider that natural resources like oil and coal are non-renewable resources. Once they are gone, that’s it.

Taking in all the information about climate change can seem daunting and overwhelming.  Often people feel powerless to do anything to stop it, but the truth is every action you take has an impact on the environment.  This means that you are empowered to make decisions that can have a positive impact.  You can choose what you eat, what you buy, how you shop, vote, and live.

Every choice you make that is positive, benefits the whole. Here are just a few ways you can make a positive impact today.

  • Support green businesses.
  • Recycle items whenever possible.
  • Carry cloth shopping bags and stop using plastic.
  • Grow a garden or participate in a community garden.
  • Ride a bike or use public transportation instead of taking the car if you live in more urban areas.

Simple acts like these have an immediate positive impact.  Still unsure of the importance of small steps? Consider this: If every American household recycled 1/10th of their newspapers annually, it would save approximately 25 million trees per year. Every small act does indeed add up. Every positive choice you make will make a difference.

It is also important to consider energy use. With a vast and ever-increasing population, it is increasingly imperative to focus on conservation of finite resources, while simultaneously developing renewable sources.  Solar  and wind power for example are not only infinite in supply, they are clean, which means no disease caused by breathing polluted air or drinking contaminated water.

Finally, for many families one of the major reasons green living is important is its ability to save money. Green living often goes hand-in-hand with more frugal living.  Less trips to the store, turning down the thermostat, replacing standard bulbs with high-efficiency ones, repairing or reusing items, building greener homes that are better insulated, growing ones own food – all of these practices save money and positively benefit the environment at the same time.

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Kheops International supports green living as more than just a corporate value. Visit our about us page to see how we work diligently to promote sustainability both locally and internationally.  Our green practices embody all aspects of our business, from how we use and conserve energy, to how we source our products ethically.

Monthly Retailer Spotlight: Leaping Lizards

Kheops is running a new program featuring one of our retailers monthly. This program has been implemented to say thank you to our customers and to highlight the some of the diverse and truly amazing businesses where our products are sold.  Our products are carried by many unique shops, with truly amazing people running them. It’s very rewarding to recognize these retailers in a meaningful way.

Our first featured retailer is Leaping Lizards with two Maine locations in Portland and Freeport.

Leaping Lizards is a holistic gift store and center that offers many great products and services to its customers.  Their mission is to help people find their way to growth and enlightenment via a fun, positive environment that embraces many different paths.

Great products aren’t all you’ll find here either.  They also offer other classes and events like Reiki, hypnosis, meditation events and psychic readings.  There is truly something for everyone. The shop and its Facebook page are very uplifting, and you can feel the community spirit and true joy they have in helping to motivate and inspire others.

We talked to owner Melissa and she shared with us that her favorite thing about the shop is all the beautiful people she finds herself surrounded by. We also asked her what advice she would offer to fellow retailers to make their businesses the most successful.  Melissa speaks of the need to “stay positive in all you do, listen to your customers requests, ask for their suggestions and keep inventory fresh and exciting.” Melissa and her staff also strive to share knowledge, demonstrating items to customers and how to best use them. Their business is obviously very customer oriented and hands-on and that approach has worked very well.

Some of the best selling items at Leaping Lizards include salt lamps, God hands, pendulums and crystals. Their diverse range of products and services, coupled with their devotion to providing exceptional customer service, make it easy to see why Leaping Lizards is such a success.

You can see how beautiful the shop is by visiting their FB page.  They regularly update with the latests classes and events and have a large fan base.  https://wwww.facebook.com/pages/Leapin-Lizards-Gift-and-Holistic-Center/369161392332 Their main website is a great way to get to know the various staff members and learn more about the companies mission.  You’ll find the address, store hours and contact information for both locations and a current calendar of events. Find them at http://www.leapinglizards.biz

The next time you are in the Portland or Freeport areas be sure to stop in for a visit and get to know the lovely people who make this shop truly special.

Focus on Gratitude and Thanksgiving

Autumn brings the season of Thanksgiving in many cultures. It is a time to celebrate the harvest, to open our doors to friends and family and celebrate the spirit of gratitude and abundance.  Although we tend to focus more on gratitude at this time of the year; practicing gratitude daily is a simple way to enhance your life on all levels.

Happy People

Gratitude is one of the most powerful energies there is.  It transforms and empowers lives, opening doors to better opportunities.  Those who practice gratitude daily align their energies and consciously direct their focus to what they do want. This develops more optimism, which in turn increases the amount of abundance and prosperity that enters your life.

Focus on blessings and gratitude is more than a mere platitude.  In fact, researchers have discovered that optimists have better mental, emotional and physical health overall and they live longer!

Gratitude is the direct path to optimism and leading an inspired life.  When you fill your world with thoughts of blessings and abundance, it suppresses the stress responses that cause anxiety and self-doubt. The conscious mind has a finite amount of space, so directing your thoughts consciously in positive ways directly impacts your outlook and experiences in life.

One of the simplest ways to adopt a mindset of gratitude and fulfillment year round is to create your space to be a haven that welcomes and enhances positive energy.  There are many items that can help with this.  Gratitude prayers and banners to hang in the dining or living area can serve as a blessing and a reminder to focus on what matters. 

Zen Salt Lamp

Salt lamps are not only beautiful, they clear the air of toxins and negative energy generated by electronics, and they help you breathe easier – both literally and figuratively.  The soft glow is warm and inviting.  Use them regularly to cleanse your environment and enhance your overall sense of wellbeing.

Buddha Set

Feng shui items can directly impact and enhance the energy of your home or workspace.  Carefully placing feng shui cures can help welcome abundance and prosperity, while eliminating negative energies.  Buddha statues are excellent for focusing on abundance. Fish are said to bring prosperity and elephants can both protect and guide the flow of chi. Creating a harmonious environment welcomes blessings.

Leather Goddess Journal

Journals are another fantastic way to express gratitude.  Fill a journal with all the things that make you feel truly blessed in your life.  When you have a down day as we all do sometimes, pull your journal out and read it.  You’ll be surprised how quickly reading over all your blessings can restore your faith and improve your outlook.

This season, as you sit to enjoy bountiful feasts and celebrations with friends and family, remember the importance of welcoming the thanksgiving spirit into your daily life.  Your world will be transformed

Dear God

Keep Your Community Strong This Holiday Season – Buy Local

 Zen Salt Lamp Glass Pyramid Case Jizo Buddha Four Point Star Pendant Love Candle

Regardless of what religion or faith you practice the holiday season brings forth the tradition of spreading cheer and goodwill to all.  Buying from local businesses will do this and much more.

Most people know that buying from a locally owned independent business keeps their hard earned dollars in the community where they live. But most do not realize how that decision translates to impacting other vital areas of our communities.   Local businesses do so much for our communities; they are the glue that keeps our towns and cities independent and unique.

Here are five lesser known reasons to shop locally:

1. Independent businesses constantly give back to the community, they make the most and largest donations to the areas local nonprofits, this includes donations to schools, food pantries and numerous health related fundraisers.  And, local businesses don’t just donate products; they donate their time by hosting community events, volunteering and act as board members for many nonprofit organizations.

2. Independent local businesses know the importance of supporting other local business and as such they hire local designers, sign makers, architects, lawyers and trades people.  They bank, advertise and consult locally.  All of this creates more jobs and it keeps the community, state and nation thriving.

3. Local businesses have creative, unique and diverse inventories when compared to box stores which carry the same items store-to-store and state-to-state.  Local businesses can carry inventories based on the regions unique needs, wants and desires.  This keeps each of our cities and towns distinctive and special by creating one-of-kind stores, shops and restaurants.

4. Expertise, product knowledge and better service can all be found at a locally owned business.  Shop owners are passionate and well informed about the work, products or services they provide; they have to be to compete.  Most shop owners are excited to spread the word and pass on their knowledge, and they’ll go to great lengths to help you and keep you satisfied.

5. Buying locally often saves you money. Traveling expenses have to be added to the final cost of any purchase.  When you travel out of your area to shop it is important to calculate how much you spent on gas to get to your destination.  Did you have to purchase lunch, snacks and drinks? These added expenses add to the true cost of your out of area purchase.

Shopping locally is one of the best ways to spread goodwill and cheer.  You’ll meet old acquaintances and make new friends.  You’ll find diverse and unique items and the money you spend will keep giving back to the communities you live and work in.