DISCLAIMER: I write personal things. Long, personal things.
That violates the blanching rules of "good journalism," click-baity web content
and anemic attention spans. So why risk over-sharing, and the appearance of self-obsession?
Because I have struggled to find/know/create a right-feeling place for myself in the world.
And I know it is a huge irony that A MASS AMOUNT of people feel that exact same isolated way!
Being earnest out loud helps dissolve felt alienation,
and dignifies the important role of our feelings and our hopes.
A year ago, I returned to my high-traffic apartment in Chicago after attending
a two-week permaculture + earth-architecture training in the Mojave desert.
I floundered, and felt quite lost at first.
I was unsure about what to do for employment.
I could not return to my old, matrix-y life from which I had unplugged.
But I also had little-to-no developed skills in the earth-oriented direction I desired.
I'd just turned 44, so it seemed a bit late in my game to have this intern-like
questioning going on... but extreme humility was required,
because I was starting fresh...
and I was not going back to corporate charades.
Or any charades.
Instead, I got out of the city and into a small town,
where I have been healing from the crispiness that comes from years
of trying to be things that you are not. Greenery and wildlife can hold you well.
Nature wants to encircle you, and tell you helpful secrets and ways
to become a free and whole person.
I've been listening, and I went from career confusion, to a fully digital
and time-sovereign worklife. (Check out http://www.erikasportfolio.com.)
My over-zealous nervous system insisted on a calmer, simpler, truer life.
Those, and other, lifestyle changes happened because I had been eliminating
"spirals of erosion," and increasing "spirals of abundance." Those are two terms
that come from Looby Macnamara in People & Permaculture.
This is the first book to explore how to use permaculture design and principles for people -- to restore personal, social and planetary well-being. People & Permaculture widens the definition of permaculture from being mainly about land-based systems to include our own lives, relationships and society. (Publisher's Description of People & Permaculture: Caring and Designing for Ourselves, Each Other and the Planet, by Looby Macnamara
Your Life Is A Glorious Ecosystem.
Healthy ecosystems REINFORCE LIFE.
There is harmony among species, activities, seasons, geography.
Everything is incorporated. Everything has impact on everything else.
And so it is in the webby ecosystem of our life.
Our work touches our mood touches our relationships touches our food
touches our health touches our earnings touches our experiences...
The links are real. The links are uninterrupted.
The more sensitive and perceptive among us... the canaries in the coal-mines...
we have always felt these links. We know the connection deep in our bones.
And when we are too timid to shoot out that Fire of Knowing,
we roast, and simmer, from within.
And then, become Phoenix.
Covered in ash, I now share with you my kindergarden
(which, did you know, is German for "children's garden"?)
This is my kindergarden list of what I have learned, and put into effect,
this past year, after having earned my certification in permaculture:
* Source a livelihood from what is inside me.
* Trust the goodness of my inner navigator.
* Resist antagonists to my joy and freedom.
* Accept that I am a thinker, who causes deeper thought, in a time that hates thinking.
* Embrace the loftiness of my ideals. There is no shame in aspiration.
* Hold steady to my inner knowing, even in the face of financial uncertainty.
Especially in the face of financial uncertainty.
* Soul-synch with the arc of the sun, the phase of the moon, the blue-jays' visit,
and the unending supply of keys and notes from the Green Muse.
I've been hosting collisions between...
fear + courage
rage + forgiveness
doubts + big dives off falsely-constructed cliffs
outer rules + inner anarchy
If you want an integrated life, host a Big Bang...
between your ears
between your pecs
your gospel with your yoga
your sacredness with your sensuality
your faith with your funk
your reason with your rabid love
your sweetness with your boundaries
your wildness with your holiness
Take that conflict, and see it for the soul-snack that it is.
Take it into your mouth. Chew. Swallow. Metabolize.
brought to you in poems
and slow moments
that let you savor such things
* basically, make peace in you *
There are many faces and voices of permaculture.
I am one. My harvest is my life, my walk, my talk.
I am committed to our soul's nourishment,
and to the increased expectation of ecstasy
and euphoria in our routine life.
On this I stand, my inner land.
I have not arrived, but I have transformed.
Permaculture helped me recognize myself as a devotional being...
capable of creating a luscious habitat for myself, from the inside out.
We all have our dark moments of the soul, when we go deep into our individual beings and ask hard questions, and sometimes get unwelcome answers. Are humans a plague on the planet? Can one person, when that one person is me, really make a difference? Can the juggernaut of consumer society be turned? Why should we single out our fellow humans for a special degree of care over, say, salmon, or whales? The answer is in this book. We take care of people because people matter, and because that is our nature as creatures who care. What we care about matters to the fate of the world, now as never before. If permaculture as a design tool is about making connections, this book is about how we reconnect ourselves -- to each other, to our inner selves, to our highest aspirations and, finally, to the cycles of life, of which we are just a small, but incredibly important, part." (Albert Bates, Author and educator, The Farm Ecovillage Training Center)