Indescribable Innocence

Kids can tell how authentic you are. By that look in your eye, or just by the vibe you give off. The instant you stop responding to their endless questions, raise your voice, or try to hide from them they’re all over you, make you realize that anger, reacting or avoidance is extremely ineffective. Fortunately I had a pretty joyous childhood. I often got to explore my feelings, and spent a lot of time outdoors. I still remember not understanding why I needed to follow rules, come inside when it got dark, or why my parents always seemed so busy, but didn’t have as much time to play with me.

Enter Levi, a 5 year old boy, obsessed with Pokemon and bikes. Having him around the house was like having a sugar-powered little brother, who never ran out of energy.

Enter Levi, and every waking second around him made me aware of how serious I’d become. Not that I consider myself a stick in the mud, but to kids, play is all that matters. If we forget how to play, or act like our life is more important, they’ll challenge you.

Even when I was cooking, Levi wanted to participate. I always let him, not to be useful, or get the job done faster, but because he made it FUN. To him the world is an endless cycle of fun, food, sleep. If at any stage, you rationally try to explain you need to be somewhere, doing something else, he’ll question you.

In fact Levi is a prime inquisitor. He never stops asking questions, and the more I try to answer them, the more I laugh at how simple the truth often is. I realize I’d been making things far more complicated than they need be, (i.e. would I rather enjoy myself now with a four-year-old helping me in the kitchen, or upstairs taking care of paperwork?)

It can be a fine line between responsibility and recess, often we are faced with doing the right thing in the form of  taking care of business. But as adults we need free time to wonder, joyfully explore, and especially goof off.

Wii Kid Crew

The more we engage with our peers in a playful way, the more we can address our issues around being overworked, or forgetting how we need social activities to thrive. If we are  afraid of our own innocence, then we might need a guide, or healing practice to show us the deeper nature of this problem. What we believe our limit are could be limiting us, because our beliefs attract to us what we hold to be true.

As an introvert, I placed myself in uncomfortable social situations just to vanquish my shyness. I was deeply afraid of my own innocence, sensitivity, and empathic nature. This led me to being quite confused for a number of years, and even believing I was flawed.

Even in rambunctious rapture, when I was playing with my friends, I would often imagine myself somewhere else. I placed myself in a category of a victim, that nobody could understand how different I was. I isolated, became passive aggressive, and resorted to video games and escapism for solace. I needed help, but the spirituality that was presented to me as the primary guide for resolving my issues still felt in

To reveal my deeper issue at large. I knew I’d be able to move through my limiting beliefs if the reward was as great as feeling free, and curious as a child.

Levi & Paul Car Ride

And now this four-year-old child is here to remind me to enjoy the present moment.

The truth is we are capable of far more than we might believe. We can change our current selves, to become more awake, more present and certainly more innocent.

 

Journey East pt. 2

Travelogue pt. 2

As a child I was  deeply claustrophobic. My family took many car trips every year, but we’d always take advantage of the many rest stops along the way. Airplane trips were even less desirable. Being shoulder to shoulder with someone I never met, and who I knew I’d eventually have to make conversation with wasn’t my idea of a good time. I was that kid who avoided most dances gatherings, and preferred to be alone (even hugging was an issue for me.)

Once I got more into meditation, my claustrophobia vanished. After I’d sink into my mantra, a profound sense of expansion would overcome me. I’d giggle at how small all my issues seemed, and I would forget that I ever despised cramped spaces. I started going to more social events, and even got back into hugging.

The flight was more than equipped for our 13+ hours of airborne travel. As the engines whirred on, I could feel the power surging around me, as if to say “You’re going to be here a while, so might as well enjoy it.”

The stewardess brought us our vegan meals with the a piece of fruit and raw kale salad.  I don’t care much for airplane food, so I opted to fast, and passed my prepackaged plane fare over to Teddy & Felipe.

After about four hours I wandered towards the back of the plane to stretch my legs. Two airline attendants were gabbing, one was cutting a baked potato with a plastic fork and knife.

After we landed at the Beijing Airport, and rounded up our bags at the carousel we went to meet up with Liya, Jennifer’s mom. Liya is an acclaimed author, public speaker, financial consultant, and creator of the WealthLand Game (among many other innovative projects.)

At the airport, I could almost see my face in the polished pink marble floors. Massively arched ceilings with steel girders loomed overhead, and LED screens displayed the latest & greatest Chinese products. This was a marvelous piece of architecture, and I wondered how many workers there were to keep this place clean.

Despite Beijing being the wonderfully modern city it was, we definitely got more looks than the average 老外 lǎowài (foreigner.) And who can blame them, when our crew looks this fine?

beijing-airport-crew-1At the Collab we encourage cultural diversity, collaboration, next-gen educational models and offer progressive trends in spirituality & sustainability.

Last time I was in Beijing it was 2008. I remember the streets were mostly dirt roads. Piles of steaming garbage were everywhere, and the air always smelled like burning plastic. Since then a LOT has changed.

When we got to our hotel, the room, floor and was super clean, modern and I could see how much progress had been implemented in Beijing. Thousands of skyscrapers pierced the heavens, all monoliths of shiny glass, concrete and steel. I now knew why the “Wo Ai Beijing,” song is so popular.

guang-yao-cThough I had meditated for 6 hours, I felt the draw of Jet Lag weighing me down. For our first Beijing meeting, we began planning our PPT for a major meeting with our Chinese peers about development of an Eco Village.

During our meeting there was definitely some friction. We had been experimenting with Flat Management since the Collab’s inception, but it can be challenging when people can’t come to an agreement. Especially for us spiritually minded folk. When unresolved patterns enter the mix, emotions can escalate and we can get distracted from the matter at hand.

My being a pacifist, I’ve suggested conscious communication in the past. I tend to go silent if there is a heated debate. Maybe it’s all the Yoga I’ve done, or maybe I’m scared to voice my opinion, but as our meeting became more heated, I found myself pulling back, and shutting down.

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I wanted to find as many strategies to prevent us from burning out. I opted to start implementing Conscious Communication, Yes Sessions (inspired by one of Pixar’s innovative idea-generating methods) breathing techniques, and make sure we stayed on our meditation game.

After our first draft was ready for the Eastern Eco Village presentation (along with our brand new Logo,) . 2016 was the year of the Fire Monkey, and it was rapidly coming to a head. It was one of the busiest and best years of my life, but as we sat down to clear the air and meditate, I made a silent promise to make sure none of my team would burn out.

Morehead Media Manifesto

Greetings!

If this is your first time setting eyes on this site, then welcome!

If you’re returning to my digital domicile, and wanting to follow my journey again, then welcome back!

Paul-J-Morehead

My name is Paul (保罗, ポール, พอล) James Morehead.

I am a comic artist, animator, storyteller, educator, vegan, poet, blogger, yoga teacher and globe trotter.

Mini Bio: I was raised on cartoons, yoga, transcendental meditation and organic vegetables. I’ve studied spirituality in Iowa, animation in Canada, fine art in Scandinavia, storytelling in Europe, Yoga in India, and Chi Gong in China.

My dream has always been to explore. I took my first solo voyage to Rode Island to visit my cousins in a private jet when I was 12, and have been travelling ever since.

They say no one is an island. I believe that by exploring the world by looking to it’s culture, customs, and people, we can realize that we are all a world family, and not so different after all.

Morehead Media was created as a platform to educate, empower and entertain by sharing these cross-continental experiences. If I can uplift, educate, or inspire others through telling stories about the places I see, then I will have fulfilled my mission.

In this blog I’ll do my best to provide an unbiased view on what makes each place unique and try to give objective views on the current beliefs, ideas, and customs of the people. Any information that is shared is my own angle, and I take full responsibility for the accuracy of my observations. So without further ado, let’s begin this journey together!

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Sharing stories for inspiration, unification and fun.

Journey to the East

China. The Middle Kingdom. Zhongguo (中國/中国.) A land of 1.3 billion people. One of the oldest nations on the planet. ‘China’ possibly comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Chinasthana’ (the country East of India.) Or from the Qin (‘Chin’) kingdom. Either way the name has been around for thousands of years, long before the First Qin Emperor (259 – 210 BCE) unified China.

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It’s been 10 years since I’ve been in the Middle Kingdom, and I’m sure what to expect. My last trip was deeply humbling. Back then most of the time I was travelling alone, and although I stayed at hostels, ate street food, and bought little, I felt I didn’t really to get see what China had to offer.

I was younger than. My entertainment was wandering through parks and public areas, watching elder women do Tai Chi in the tiny patches of grass at 4:30am. Hanging with the calligraphy master who painted detailed characters with a water brush on the pavement, which evaporated as the sun rose over the dusty Beijing streets. I always took that strange-looking alley, or wandered into the noodle shop that appeared to be in the back of someone’s ramshackle home. I also kept a sketchbook, and camera handy.

Between trying to learn enough Mandarin phrases to order vegetarian food, doing sword Tai Chi in the parks in Shanghai, wandering the choked dusty, bustling streets of Beijing, teaching Art History to a class of 75 students (many who barely spoke English,) and meeting renowned calligraphy artists in HangZhou, and taking hundreds of photos along the way it was a great tour of what a developing country could be. As I drew and documented my trip, I began to feel lonely. So much so that at one point I completely cut myself off from everyone back home. I wound up getting Shanghai’d (literally stranded in a seedy town, where I ran out of money and lost my more expensive possessions, including my camera.) But I learned at that time to trust in nature, and once I made it back home, I decided my relationships were far more valuable than I’d accepted.

I had no idea what my return to china would look like. But one thing was for certain, I know this time it will be amazing. This time I have good friends. This time I have a team who has my back.

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Meet the team. From the left is Jennifer Kumer, Hong Kong native-millennial-vegan-chef-designer-founder and my girlfriend. Then myself. Next is MarQ Chavez, Entrepreneurial-visionary-hippie-traveler and yogic scientist. Then finally is the jewelry-making-songstress-tarot-reading-love-advocate, Jenny Sammons. Together we form the WealthLand Collab. We share a vision of empowering like-minded individuals to engage, collaborate, and assist one another in achieving fulfillment in all business, leisure, and spiritual aspects of life.

Now I’m the not type to make promises, but I did promised that on this trip, I would support my team as best I can. If I get overwhelmed, I can always blog about it here, where at least my thoughts will be free from my skull.

So after saying goodbye to our humble home base, we crammed our 50lbs suitcases, extra warm clothes, and plenty of dried fruit (score +1 costco abundance) for gifts to our Chinese allies, and hit the road.

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Burlington Regional Airport is in arguably the best and cheapest way to get to Chicago from Fairfield, IA. The airline employees are efficient, accomadating, and never seem to put up a fuss for all the weirdness that us holistic life practicioners put them through (ever try to bring Ghee on a plane? Don’t.)

This time was no different as the flight security officers were fascinated by our faraway destination. The tone became serious once they saw the 12 large suitcases waiting to be weighed. After doing some yoga (triangle poses + yoga squats,) I rejoined the crew, and was ready to board. We walked towards the little airline on the runway, and I had a feeling that we were a band getting ready for an international tour.

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The flight was smooth as silk. We all got some good meditation in, and kept mostly to ourselves for the duration of the trip. To me traveling is like good food, you have to really pay attention to each moment, or you won’t properly digest it. Our pilot mentioned his son was living in China, and wished us well on our epic journey. We exited the little cab of the plane onto the windswept runway of O’Hare.

O’Hare Airport. Once known as the busiest airport in the world and voted “Best Airport in North America” for 10 years running. It’s also one of the most diverse airports I’ve even been through. I often get some of my best people sketching, catching them as they catch naps, jack into their devices, or chat away with their travel companions. Plus there’s a sweet Yoga room, (located at the Mezzanine Level of the Terminal 3 Rotunda, near the Urban garden sanctuary.)

After a strange encounter with a lost Hong Kong residency card, we tried to come up with alternate solutions. Strangely the liason took the card without realizing it. So much for our free time. Luckily the security checkpoint was less eventful. With only a half hour before our flight arrived, we’d have to hustle to grab whatever foodstuffs we could find. Since I begame a vegan in 2012, I’ve found surprising amount of food options in airports. I usually go for the fruit, protein bars, or hot oatmeal (if available,) but I’ve lately been surprised by the emerging green restaraunts that support my dietary needs.

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Note: Make sure to check out the Argo Tea at the Terminal 3 rotunda, and try the matcha latte with coconut milk. I highly recommend the spiced raw ginger bar thingy (So nice! So spice!)

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After we were well fed, we met up with the remaining members of our crew. Teddy, our Mandarin-speaking-guitar-slinging-entertainer-extraordinaire, and Felipe Gentle, eco-philosopher, ecologist, and bandjo-weilding-musician. After breaking the ice with some introductions, we joined the extensive cue for our Beijing-bound flight. I was nervous about the extensive 13 hours sitting down, and was in no hurry to board so I led a brief Yoga class (wrist rolls + yoga hops + cross crawls) with our team.

china-all-aboard

The airline was full, but after seeing the faces of the airline attendants, and how people were already beginning to settle in, I relaxed a bit. After all we were off to a distant land, where you can taste the strangest foods, learn to speak one of the most difficult languages, smell the aroma of the pine forest, or the burning sewage of the big city, see the skyline change each day and experience 1.3 billion people living, working and playing together. I’m ready to experience a brand new China.

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WL Collab Mission: To live, work and play together.

“Let us be together, let us eat together, let us be radiating truth, radiating the light of life, never shall we denounce anyone, never entertain negativity.” – The Upanishads

The Miracle Mystery Mulberry

The Mulberry is well known. Almost everyone can identify the branches laden with purple pods, the shimmering green leaves, and the deep purple carpet of fallen fruit, welcoming us to join in the festivities. Many times I have watched birds take flight from the deciduous trees, their beaks full of bounty. I remember walking down the sidewalk in summer trying to dodge the pattern of purple on the pavement. But as common as these trees are, they contain a mystery. Is the mulberry another tasty pitstop? Or an overlooked super food? Even the nursery rhyme seems to down play this wonder plant. “Here we go ’round the mulberry bush?” Their saplings are kinda scrappy, but make no mistake this is no “bush” that goes the distance in terms of health benefits.
Berry Blessing

There are three types of mulberry tree; The white mulberry native to east/central China. The black mulberry native to west Asia, and the red mulberry native to the eastern USA. They are of the Morus fruit family, which is the main food source for silkworms.

When ripe, these purple pods resemble a dark red gem, and are sweeter the higher you go. When examined closely your bound to find some bugs. But never fear! Bugs are a valuable source of protein, and their caloric content is not to be neglected.

Berry Select

Historically the mulberry has been used to treat weakness, fatigue, anemia, to calm the nerves, balance internal secretions and nourish the yin and blood (commonly used in China as a blood tonic.) The leaves alone contain a wide variety of proteins, polyphenols, flavonoids, steroids, triterpenes, vitamins and minerals (including ascorbic acid and beta carotene.) The leaf can be made into a tea which contains 1-Deoxynojirimycin (or DNJ.) Mulberry leaves are polymorphic, (there can be 3 different shapes on a single branch.) Making a tea from the leaves has a powerful antioxidant effect, lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation. 

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The berries are sweet when ripe, but actually develop a more robust flavor when dried. They pack a range of photo-nutrients such as polyphenol, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins like Riboflavin (B-2), B-6, niacin, folic acid and vitamin K.) Also they contain potassium, manganese and magnesium and reservatol which protects against stroke, and reduces blood pressure. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and E and protects us from free radicals. Mulberries are also an excellent source of iron, which is rare among berries. Not to mention, healthy carbohydrates which make up 90 of the calorie content. At 2.4 grams of fiber (10% daily dose) 2.6 mg of iron, 1.3 grams of sugar, and 51 grams of Vitamin C these berries are more than meets the eye.

The best way to harvest them is bring a tarp, bowl, or jar, take hold of a branch and begin shaking. “It’s a lot like getting to know your neighbor. The friendlier your handshake, the more they’ll have a good first impression.” –Sascha Kyssa, Creative Director, Founder, Naturewise Academy.

Berry Bowl

So next time you find yourself in the presence of this amazing tree, remember to “go ’round the mulberry tree,” and let your body do what it came to do. Sing, dance and celebrate with a mouthful of miracle mystery mulberries.

© Morehead Media 2015

Princess Kaguya: The film that called back my heart

Princess Kaguya is not another eco-wake-up-call disguised as a film. It’s infinitely more.
Princess Kaguya Woods

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a punch in the gut epic about the human race’s struggle for survival on a planet that barely supports life. But I’d much prefer a tale about our species yearning to reconnect with a nature that is ready and willing to assist us.

Where “The inconvenient Truth’s” statistical sensibility made me realize the urgency of our ability as humans to be “proactive” about our planet. Mad Max gave me goosebumps with how fetishized our culture has become. Princess Kaguya goes straight to the heart of the matter, through the best way to make an impact. Through our heart. This may be a retelling of a thousand-year-old Japanese folktale, but director Isao Takahata has brought it to life in a way that feels full of freshness.

Princess Kaguya Spring

The film contains many landmarks that are recognizably Ghibli. A young, curious, courageous female protagonist, who as the film develops is more complex than she is cute. I’m a bit bias when it comes to animation (having studied 2D traditional animation,) but the visuals of Princess Kaguya are stunning. Hand painted backgrounds are typical for Ghibli, but every scene here is masterfully subtle. The colored pencil outlines are also a welcome touch. And the colors are sheer genius.

When it comes to the audio, I always prefer subtitles and original voices, over any kind of dubbing. But here I was pleasantly surprised by the top notch voice casting of the dubbed version (especially Kaguya played by Chloë Grace Moretz.)

Conclusion: Princess Kaguya is a landmark of animation that reshapes notions of what’s important in life. It’s the most emotionally rich film I’ve seen in years, and with today’s epic-technology-laden-films it stands out like a bamboo shoot in winter. Sure we can create dystopian worlds, sexy complicated tech, crazy levels of gore, or even recreate a long-extinct species. But after the wow-factor has worn it’s welcome, I emerge from the experience asking, what’s the point? It’s the stories we connect with that we’ll cherish, we’ll remember, and will enrich our lives.

Princess Kaguya Boar Piglets

Princess Kaguya is a masterpiece of visual storytelling that I’ll be thinking about, dreaming about, and re-watching with friends, children, and my children soon. Life ebbs and flows, and the stories we remember are the one’s that bring us together. So next time I find myself gazing at mother moon. I’ll thank her for bringing light to our nights, and solace to our fruitful days.

“Be present, stay still, and keep open.”

© Morehead Media, 2015.

Making Ghee

Ghee: The golden ingredient

Ghee (clarified butter) has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years for its health-promoting properties.

ghee closeup

Ghee is the king of the unctuous substances, and when taken by itself or combined with herbs (as administered by your doctor) can treat a variety of disorders.

Ghee benefits: Promotes memory, intellect, digestive power, semen, Ojas, Kapha, and builds good fat. It alleviates Våta, Pitta, intoxication, insanity, consumption, and fever.

One of the best features of this royal substance is it´s rich in butyric acid, a short- chain fatty acid that nourishes the cells of the intestines. Good digestion and good health go hand in hand, and ghee acts as a kind of lubricant for your gut, preparing it for whatever substance you choose to ingest.

Ask your nutritionist about using ghee in balance with other oils in your diet. Personally I prefer ghee to all oils, and use it in every stage of food preparation. From sautéing herbs, to starting a stir fry, to spreading on toast or pancakes. Obviously the quality of the ghee is directly proportional to the quality of butter, so organic is a must.

G.S. For an even more robust flavor you can also use goat, sheep or yak butter! Bah-Ram-Ewe!

Warning: Ghee requires your absolute full focus. Turn off your phone, set aside your laundry for later. Let your ghee making take you on a journey.

Preparation time: Less than 15 minutes. 

1. Place 1 or more pounds (0.45 kg) of unsalted butter in a deep stainless steel pan on medium-high heat.

2. Make sure the butter doesn’t scorch while melting. 

3. When the butter fully melts a whitish colored foam forms on the surface (listen for those crackling-simmer-sounds!)

4. Notice the bubbles become larger and fewer, and the color becomes a rich golden hue.

 

 

5. When the water fully evaporates from the butter, tiny bubbles rise from the bottom of the pan, as the milk solids separate.

6. Smell fresh popcorn? That means it’s close.

7. Caramelization at the surface that means it’s done. Swiftly remove the pan from the stovetop. (Make haste or the Ghee can burn.)

8.Set your ghee aside on the countertop to cool.

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9.While warm, strain ghee through a fine sieve or cotton cloth into a clean, dry container (place metal utensil in glass jar to keep from breaking.)

Jai Ho! If sealed in a sterilized jar, ghee stays fresh at room temperature for a solid month.

Fun Fact: Ghee melts when it’s warm and solidifies when it’s cool.

Note: Ghee is temperamental and should never be left unattended during this process.

Buckwheat Banana Chai Bread

I know what your thinking, banana bread gone vegan? What’s next, omelettes without eggs? But the real question is; can you turn overripe banana’s and alternative flour into something as good as your grandmother used to make? You be the judge, but remember the laws of the jungle are sometimes harsh. Don’t take my word for it, try this recipe and if the whole household isn’t swinging to the kitchen, or making monkey sound by the time the sweet smell hits your nose, you can send me to jungle court.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (the canned stuff is creamier.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamon (or chai spice.)
  • 1/4 cup almond/peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon real salt
  • 1 hand full of seeds

Step-by-step:

Preheat oven to 350º

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In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder/soda, coconut milk, cream, and oil.IMG_4724

Ooo. Custardy.

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Mash bananas in a separate bowl (or pan.)

Banana Mash2

Add bananas to mixture and stir with ape-like force.

Banana Batter2

Spread mixture into container and sprinkle with seeds.

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Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, then remove from oven and set on windowsill/countertop to cool.

Invite hungry monkeys over and serve with yogurt, cream, honey drizzle and maybe even fresh fruit. That’s Bananas!