From the Ground Up: A Lifelong Journey in Reinventing Yourself

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Not only was I everything I had been before but I was also a professional writer, a wildlife healer and a great dog-fence builder! By clinging to the old image of myself, I was masking my bigger, fuller, more creative bad ass Self with a capital S! Sometimes one of the hardest things about self-reinvention is the need to cut loose the people around us. To reinvent strong you have to shed the people who undermine you. Instead be very intentional, spending time with people who are positive, moving forward and genuinely want good for you.

Sometimes these are the old, dear friends that stick. When I finally let it sink in that it would be months before I could resume my career my self-value plummeted.


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Some part of me knew that I needed to find a way to feel like I was making a positive contribution. I joined a volunteer organization that builds fences for dogs who were living their lives on the end of a chain. It was incredibly good for me. Their canine joy and forgiving natures were infectious. And, being part of the community of fellow volunteers helped overcome my sense of isolation.

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Giving to someone else is one of the very best ways to feel valuable and abundant because it proves you have enough to spare, you have something of value. I am beyond grateful that I already had an established practice of meditation, journaling and spiritual connection before my big mess slammed into my life.

However, what I was going through was so intense I knew I needed more. For a while every book I read was on the subject of spiritual growth in difficult times. I started working with a Course in Miracles. Whatever spiritual path you choose be sure to include gratitude. It is essential not to let the challenges blind you to goodness and abundance you already have. We attract what we focus on. And there is nothing better for keeping a hopeful positive outlook than practicing gratitude. Connecting to our spiritual aspects is essential to shaping a strong self-reinvention. These times of turmoil can break us down but they also hold the promise of breaking us open into deeper, richer more beautiful lives.

Getting in touch with spirit, with our true inner selves is key to seizing that awesome gift. But it is absolutely essential to living your fullest life. Ticking time bombs are rumbling through the Pacific Northwest. Nearly overnight the railways of the west have become primary transport routes for trains filled with highly flammable crude oil. Studies report a percent increase in oil by rail in North America since With this rapid increase in traffic has come an enormous uptick in derailments, spills and explosions.

I first became concerned about oil trains in As a long-time energy and climate expert and at that time the first lady of Oregon I began researching the logistics and dynamics of oil by rail as well as the options available to states to regulate oil trains.

My findings were troubling. The reason for the massive expansion in oil train traffic is due to breakthroughs in drilling technology that make it possible to extract crude and natural gas from shale deposits that were previously inaccessible. Through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing commonly known as fracking highly pressurized fluids are forced deep underground to crack rock and allow trapped gas and oil to be pumped to the surface. The rapid increase in production outpaced the infrastructure for transporting the crude. Prior to very few crude oil tank cars passed through the Pacific Northwest.

Each train consists of approximately cars carrying gallons of oil a piece for a total of 30, gallons per train. Until recently the oil coming through the Northwest has been destined for domestic markets. However, in December , the U.

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Congress removed a forty-year ban on exporting oil. This means, the Pacific Northwest, given its proximity to Asia via shipping channels, stands squarely between the most voracious energy markets in the world and huge North American fossil fuel deposits including Powder River Basin coal, Bakken shale oil and the Alberta tar sands.

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The massive expansion of oil by rail has led to numerous crashes and spills. In the 1.

These incidents are especially dangerous because most of the crude coming from fracking is far more volatile and flammable than conventional crude sources. The most sensational and tragic incident occurred in July when 47 people were killed in an oil train inferno in Lac Megantic, Quebec. Other spills sparked a fireball in Virginia, contaminated groundwater in Colorado and poured across acres of ground in Montana. Based on railroad industry data, more than 25 million Americans live within a one-mile blast and evacuation zone of a potential oil train fire.

Despite the clear risks associated with oil by rail there are currently plans for massive expansion throughout the Northwest. What we know is the industry wants to build the capacity to handle over one million barrels of oil per day, which is way more than we can consume in this region.

There are approximately a dozen proposed fossil fuel export projects in the Northwest. According to some calculations this facility alone could increase oil train traffic through the region five-fold. Last year the federal government did take some steps to increase the safety of oil trains. This incudes a scheduled phase out of older tank cars with newer models that have stronger shells, valves and protective shields to withstand a collision or derailment.

The new regulations also require that tank cars on long trains be equipped with an advanced braking system to cut the time and distance needed to stop.

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However, even if rail transport of oil becomes safe there is still a terrible threat. Research published in the journal Nature builds on these findings by not only explaining how much fossil fuel would need to be left unburned but also showing regional variations. And, a third of all remaining oil must be left belowground. This means the oil and coal trains plowing through the Pacific Northwest are carrying fossil fuels from the very places that most need to remain un-mined to prevent catastrophic levels of global climate change.


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Just like the baseball stadium in Field of Dreams , if we build it they will come. In this case, they will be more trains carrying more of the fossil fuel that needs to remain in the ground. The Pacific Northwest, for many good reasons, claims to be a leader in clean energy and climate change action. However that claim is incompatible with allowing our region to become the Gulf Coast of oil train exports. A growing movement is stepping up to this dichotomy. In British Columbia, Washington and Oregon Native American Tribes, environmental groups, firefighters unions, sports fishers, doctors and public health advocates have all joined the effort to stop the advancement of oil train infrastructure.

Sightline Institute has begun calling the region the Thin Green Line. Approximately 20 organizations have formed a coalition called Stand Up to Oil. There is evidence that this opposition is causing change. Both the Portland and Seattle City Councils recently passed resolutions opposing and restricting oil train transport through the cities.

These actions are largely symbolic because, due to interstate commerce laws, cities and even states have little regulatory control over railways. However, the combination of citizen and governmental actions combined with artificially low oil prices is having an effect. In the volatile world of fossil fuel extraction, export and addiction the next several years will be a defining era for the Thin Green Line of the Pacific Northwest.

We have raised over seven million so far. This is the first year we will be profitable. My goal is between 15 and 20 million a year in revenue. Current life: We have 23 employees which is a big company in a small rural middle of nowhere town. I love that we have a product that is made in Maine, there is ownership involved in that. We all take pride in what we do.

It is also a green product, and that's very important to us. We save acres of forest from being cut every year. I wake up every morning and I am so excited for the day. Trading days: I was fascinated with the hedge fund industry while studying in college and always wanted to surround myself with and be challenged by some of the brightest minds, which is why I worked in the industry for 13 years across three well-respected funds.

Most recently, I sat on the trading desk at Falcon Edge Capital where I helped with trade execution, equity finance and risk management. In January of , I woke up with a horrible case of vertigo and disequilibrium, which progressed into chronic illness. Over the course of the next four years, I was misdiagnosed by 30 practitioners, including ENTs, neurologists, otolaryngologists, allergists, optometrists and ophthalmologists. They chalked my symptoms up to inner ear infections or vestibular migraines, while some practitioners even told me it was all in my head.