Having Fun at the Beach Clean-Up

This one was organized and promoted by the Town of Lantana with the help of staff member Nadine Shawah a little over two weeks ago, on February 23, 2019.

I wanted to participate not only because it’s always a good thing to get rid of litter, but also because I wanted to get a better idea of what to expect.

A couple of Love & Peace Society members had expressed an interest in a clean-up activity for the group. It first was mentioned during our morning walks, and it seemed that the entire group was eager to create an effort to help at least those areas where we routinely walk.

It’s so much nicer if the beach is clean. (Photo by Ingrid Webster)

Beaches are recreational areas and as such hugely useful for humans. But they are also reflective of the conditions of our oceans.

An indicator of human activity

The more litter you see on a beach, the more trash is likely to be found in the water as well. While all that stuff is really ugly to look at laying around on land, it becomes life threatening for the Ocean’s creatures. It’s their living environment, and it would be to us land denizens as if the trash was floating all around us in the air. We couldn’t even breathe!

What a gorgeous day in the middle of nature! (Photo by Ingrid Webster)

I was surprised, though. Overall, the Lantana public beach was in good shape. That’s because our town sends out workers regularly to pick up whatever flotsam gets washed ashore, or whatever those few careless beach goers left behind from the previous day.

Let me say few, because the good people who were there to enjoy the beach that day, came up to us volunteers and thanked us, pledging not to litter.

Some things are better left alone… (Photo by Ingrid Webster)

There are things we do not pick up, like the one above. It’s NOT a plastic bag, and it doesn’t matter if it looks like one.

It’s a Portuguese Man-O-War, a nasty stinging creature that will leave you in pain for the rest of the day.  Leave it alone – they’re not to be touched!

But there are things we found that day which were removed.

Let me show you the menu

  1. Plastic straws. The number ONE culprit and by numbers the most common single item. Makes me embrace the coming laws even more: paper is better than plastic!
  2. Cigarette butts. I used to smoke and loved it at the time. If you still do and don’t mind putting toxins into your body, go ahead and enjoy it. But dispose of your butts properly!
  3. Styrofoam pieces. Not a big deal if they’re large pieces that can easily be recognized and removed. Problem with these was that they were very small. That makes them dangerous.
  4. Plastic fragments. Same as #3. Plastic is good for humans in many ways. Let’s just make sure it doesn’t wind up where it doesn’t belong.
  5. Mylar balloon fragments. Same as #3. Thing is, I get it. They’re pretty and they usually say “I love you” in all their shiny glory. Use your common sense when disposing of them, so the wind can’t pick them up and carry them away…
Some of the debris that was collected (Image by Ingrid Webster)

One for everybody’s special bucket list:

If you’ve never done it – I highly recommend it! No, really. It is a rewarding feeling.

For a very low cost (it didn’t take that much effort and only a few drops of sweat), you can make things better for all. How cool is that?

I mean, what else IS there in life? How many movies can you watch, how many video games can you win (I know firsthand how much fun that is), how many parties can you go to, just so **POOF** they all go away after that moment of bliss.

Do something meaningful that lasts… Help create a better community, a better society, a better planet, and inspire others while you do it!

Oh, the things you can find. Or did it find me? (Photo by Ingrid Webster)

Love is never far away…

There is such a thing as finding love in all the right places. Among all the debris, the countless little plastic pieces, the endless stretches of brown algae, the many foot prints of the day, lay this ray of hope. A weathered, mostly sand-covered piece of plastic, looking innocent enough as perhaps a girl’s hair clip in its past life. Spelling the word L-O-V-E.

It is much more, though.

An artifact for the future Love, Peace & Beads Museum, it will serve as a reminder of human nature. As a symbol of fragility, disposable nature and at the same time the goodwill we all have inside of us.

Coincidence? It can be explained only by that very moment when I accidentally found it. It was meant to be.

This is the reason why I helped clean up the beach. I’m sure it’s the same for every volunteer who was there that day. (Image by Ingrid Webster)

Figured it out yet?

The quality of a nature-inclusive life is why I went and did it. I gained a new perspective and experienced something valuable for myself. So should you – it will enrich you. Lantana is having these four times a year, and if I’m in town and available, I will participate again, happily.

You can always contact your local town hall anywhere to find out whether your town or group is organizing a beach clean-up.

Better yet: make it totally rewarding and take Micah’s Challenge!

Learn about Micah’s Challenge and jump aboard >>

More Thoughts

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“Being nice benefits all of humanity. Being kind benefits the rest of the Universe.”

Love and Peace Project, June 24, 2017

Actually, this Love and Peace Project started out as a pearl and bead stringing business, specializing mostly in repairs. But the nature of that business never seemed to be fulfilling enough.

Granted, repairing or designing with pearls and beads is rewarding in its own right. It can come with an abundance of passion, a place where to live out one’s creativity, for sure. But after a while, the repetitive nature of stringing beads may call for something more progressive.

Ingrid, its owner, was always searching for a different purpose for herself. Becoming a catalyst, maybe. Specifically wanting to improve how people treat each other, building on a better society overall. Taking tiny steps of course, but that’s how we all start out.

The Neverending Necklace was born out of that idea. To this day, it still is very popular as a representative for the Love & Peace Project. It is always welcomed warmly. But more needed to be done, so here we go.

Love inside a string of beads. Graffiti in Lantana, FL by unknown artist.

The issues are overwhelming…

“If we want to become kinder, we must accept people who are different. If we want to accept others, we must seek to understand them. If we want to understand anyone, we must listen to them.”

There is an urgent need to eliminate prejudice. Way too often, people are being discriminated because of their heritage, where they came from, their traditions and culture.

And still today, those with physical limitation or mental illness, feel that they’re treated differently. Just ask one of them.

Then you have the discussions about race, as if the color of your skin or the shape of your eyes would somehow determine your character and soul.

It doesn’t matter which religious group or political party someone belongs to. It also doesn’t matter which sexual preference or gender one has. Bias leads nowhere. It doesn’t work.

It is a huge concern for us, because these stubborn prejudices hinder the peace process. And they damage the very core of society. So we’re trying to erase some of these, even in small increments wherever possible.

We always get excited when we see a public display of love and peace, like this one on a building next to an iconic burger joint, Dick’s in Seattle. It is huge, much bigger than it appears from this vantage point. What’s encouraging: it shows that there are enough people with means, who do care…

So, how do you eat an elephant?

First, we would NEVER eat an elephant. But to answer that question: you slice it up in smaller chunks and then cut them into bite sized pieces.

In other words: the real secret lies in portioning.

We can’t do everything we’d like to do. And we don’t need to. There are bigger and better organizations that have the experience and the power to tackle their own special causes. They’re doing a lot of good and hopefully continue their invaluable work well into the future.

The Love & Peace Project is no match for these well-funded, extraordinary groups. We just can string beads. Like mad. And give them to people who we think deserve something nice.

Sounds like an odd combination, maybe. It seems not so strange anymore, once you’ve traveled our site and have discovered what makes it so special, and what beads have to do with love and peace. (Hint: it goes way beyond the Sixties, and it started much, much sooner)

We invite you to explore. Perhaps you even find some genuine treasures along the way…

– Ingrid Webster

WE’re ready, if you are:

The Vision

Mission Statement and Future Plans

Love & Peace Ambassadors

Meet the Founder

I always like to mention businesses who get it. This one is from the Restore Coffee Roasters in Boynton Beach, Florida. Their coffee is delicious, and their attitude is a match. Thanks!

Let’s Talk About that Ant Hill Some More…

It’s important enough.

Even when I was very young, there were fewer things that fascinated me more than ants.

Observing them, playing with them, trying to set a chalk barrier to see whether they could be contained (they couldn’t) and simply following their movement, until I was restricted from accessing the inner structure of their settlement. I would get lost watching these tireless insects.

To me, they are giants. Their strength, their accuracy, the bond with each other, that perfect machinery.

And they’re functioning without some supervising boss ant standing nearby, ready to threaten the occasional non-conforming individual that dares to stray from the master plan.

Just like a perfect world.

Except for the fact, that none of them gets to choose which position they hold in their formicidaeic conga line. They have no free will.

An ant’s life and function is steered by the inherited experience of countless ancestors. It does not think. It does not contemplate.

Yet, it performs marvelously.

 

Let’s look at a completely different species. A species with individual members that get to choose, think and contemplate.

Those even have emotions: they can be hurting, they can love, they can be happy and they can emphasize.

I’m talking about humans. Somehow, human society doesn’t function as well as an ant community. But they don’t need to, because people have the freedom to observe what’s needed, and then take measures to do what is necessary.

We won’t talk about the bumpy fabric of society, with all the built-in weaving faults or loose warps. These are the spoils of a life form with conscious choices.

Humans are totally free, at least theoretically. And still, it is nearly impossible to exist without a connection to a group of other people.

More so, because of this connection with others, it is possible for a single human to achieve much more than as an isolated, lone person.

People need others to be successful. They build on top of achievements of predecessors, they even improve or magnify what they’ve learned.

They have the ability to make things better.

And they have an obligation to connect with others in order to share tasks and elevate the entire community.

Let’s help others understand the value of working together. Let’s make it a stronger, more supportive society by being a part of it!

What’s Up With the Beads?

Connecting People over Space and Time

Not just a 60s obsession…

Necklace made from wooden beads, most likely South Pacific, mid to late 20th Century

Beads are nothing new, and their popularity wasn’t exactly invented by the 60s’ hippies. Maybe they have rediscovered them, but beads were a cultural staple for Millennia.

They are believed to have been used for jewelry since ancient times and by each and every society on our planet.

Necklace using bone beads, made in the Native tradition for ceremonial dance. On loan from Allen Williams

Cherished not only for their beauty, they always were of tangible, real life value: during the course of history, beads were used as currency. Just like modern day money, they made it possible to trade goods between tribes or even far away lands.

Beads were literally bringing people together.

Beads as messengers…

If only it were possible to have such pretty money today. If only we could buy our groceries, clothes, medicine or furniture with beads. Imagine how much fun that would be!

At the very least, we would have more conversations while paying for our goods, and we would learn more from one another too! Beats Cryptocurrency in beauty and social value any given time…

Hebron glass beads from Israel, early to mid 20th Century

Trading with beads became so common, that entire towns made a living from producing beads. Some of these towns are well known for their beads still today. Just think of Venice and its ancient trade beads. Even today, the glass artists of Murano craft colorful glass beads of breathtaking beauty.

Let’s not even mention the awesomeness of old Kiffa beads from Mauretania. Sure, they still make them and they’re cute, but nothing like their antique versions. A very good example of a highly specialized, long forgotten technique and unique style, confined to a relatively small geographical area.

Hand blown glass heart, possibly Murano (?)

Jablonec in the Czech Republic is another important glass bead town, although with a different manufacturing process and a different purpose in bead history.

This Bohemian town brought along a spin-off into the modern era: Neu-Gablonz in Germany has secured its place in the 50s, 60s and 70s mainly by making imitation beads and other jewelry components.

Imitation Coral, made from plastic. Mid 20th Century

There are many places on Earth which have their very specific bead styles and materials, and it makes the origin of the older beads very identifiable. Of course today, as with anything else, their authenticity becomes more hazy, as our contemporary beads aren’t categorized as easily.

When it comes to their purpose, nothing is different from one corner of the world to the other. That’s true for bead collectors, historians, artisans or traders. And all are addicted to those little round balls with holes.

But the message is loud and clear: beads have flooded the planet. Like a liquid stream, consisting of little orbs and flowing everywhere. And they’re still doing a fine job connecting people.

Sidewalk plaque in Delray Beach, FL, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King

So it only makes sense to use beads as a symbol for the bond between individuals in our communities. Beads of all colors, sizes, shapes, materials – all are on one string!

Nothing is more casual and yet significant at the same time.

An expression of joy is captured in each bead. After all, beads are not a necessity for survival, so producing them carries a different motivational approach. A “Joie de vivre”, if you will.

They should remind us of our “human” origin, having essentially one goal: being happy and living a fulfilled life. A life that’s built on love. And peaceful coexistence.

 

Spreading Love – Promoting Kindness

Initial Thoughts

by Ingrid Webster

Next to our planet Earth and its preservation of all nature, each and every human being should be at the forefront of our concern. It must be our greatest priority to live a life of humanity while caring for and about others.

Life can be enjoyed by all, if only we can make it just a bit more peaceful

An advanced, healthy society has the obligation to maintain a status of love and peace. And that’s just the practical side. Because continuing violence and ignorance will result in a decadent human race that’s headed nowhere.

Alas, our world seems to be spinning out of control. Every day, the news are filled with sensations that revolve around war, greed, crime, and the worship of superficial values.

This can’t be all that we humans have to show for, right?

We can do this!

And it isn’t. There is an abundance of kindness out there. Good people are found everywhere, in every corner of the world.

For some, it may just be difficult to display it openly and on the spot. Or they may be dealing with enough struggles in their own lives, that they don’t realize what they could do to become a kinder, more thoughtful person. Maybe they’re simply lacking the role model.

Kindness can open up and blossom with just a little nurturing…

That’s why it is important to remind and motivate people to do more. To be more.

I’d like for people to show each other how it’s done. Make it contagious! Jump into the rebellion towards a kinder world! It’s so easy…

Surely, I wish to help.

You see, what I can do from here (out of my little studio/office/workshop that doubles as a bead storage and guest room) is string beads. So the Neverending Necklace was born, 20 years ago, on July 21, 1998. Twenty years of fun and reflection, and it continues into the future.

And very recently I thought “what if I make necklaces and give them to people who are being kind?” Perhaps it would help motivate others, or perhaps it can bring attention to the need for more love and peace.

Perhaps…