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tongue’s lore

 

wren tongue (see lore)

wren tongue (see lore)

 

dancintheglow

dancintheglow

 

 

 

Originally written for a local online sustainability journal and published to 5miradius.org

love to hear your thoughts!

 

Everywhere there is talk of needing to move into a sustainable relationship with the environment. We know this is imperative. We hear this and we feel it from within; this message is on the wind and there are a myriad of distractions which drown out this most basic of messages. If we don’t shift soon, we hear, the planet is in big trouble, we, its inhabitants, are in big trouble. Many sources say we are already in big trouble. Ecosystems are failing, animals are going extinct, massive populations are impoverished, the earth is acting funny, being hot when before it was cooler, erupting and quaking, the list goes on. The state of life on the planet is changing drastically, we hear, and it’s not for the best.

Yet what can we do within a culture where, in most cases, to live sustainably is a great challenge and against the flow of the main stream? How can we sit amid the reality of this dis-ease and find the courage, fuel and knowhow to take proper action? We ask, what steps can I take, can We take, to reach toward a sustainable life? How can we cease spoiling our nests and not deplete our resources amid a mechanized culture which, in many instances, relies on this devastation to function? How can we take care of ourselves and our environment? How do we balance the need to provide for ourselves with the looming need to shift our standard and mode of living? How can we hear and act?

What does sustainability look like and how do we step toward it Right Now?

Fueled by these questions, I set off on my bicycle in early August from Los Angeles and headed north, chugging along the shoulder of the 1. Like many of you, conscious and sensitive to pollutants in my environment, I have long sought answers to these questions and, becoming overwhelmed by the polluted environment surrounding LA and propelled by the urgency of the inner imperative to be sustainable and healthy, I dedicated myself to this search.

Through Southern, Central, and Northern California, along Oregon’s coast and Washington’s peninsula, and into Vancouver Island, British Columbia, I begged these questions, Provide me with some answers! I visited ecovillages and intentional communities, met individuals and small tribes of humans dedicated to living this imperative of sustainability within their environments, sometimes staying for a day, other times exploring for a month. I want to share three findings with you, 3 B’s (Ways to Be), which will help us to reach toward sustainability now: Be nourished by and create Beauty, Befriend local representatives, and Band together.

In relation to what is truly sustainable and how to align oneself with it, I realized that there isn’t an answer or pat solution. The answer is a constant prodding and continual return to the question itself. We keep asking and realize that there is no one way to be sustainable. It is peculiar, organic and local, specific, immediate, and long-term. The desire for sustainability is our root and, as we grow in our understanding of the implications of what it means to be sustainable, our daily activities become our branches, fed by our hungry rootlets seeking nourishment, prodding ever-deeper.

I found that sustainability is about interconnected systems, from our individual homes (food, wastes, building materials, water, land use, relationships), how we connect to our environment (transportation, income, community), and how our environment connects with us (local and government systems, regulations, laws). Because sustainability is a personal and collective intention, it beckons us to create local and collaborative systems. Sustainability is about networks, branching systems; it is our human web. Think of mycelia underground and how it is strengthened through its web, sometimes stretching for miles, popping up in the right conditions.

It looks like all of these things: a hand reaching out to share with a neighbor, a daily, continual effort, the fruits of which may not come on for 12 years or more, catching water, growing food, carpooling, saving and sharing seeds, building relationships, minimizing waste, co-housing, a gentle and sometimes aggressive digging at and revamping of the systems which seek to support, but which are oftentimes dreadfully in the dark and without substantial nourishment. Yet most of these actions are just branches. We need deeper-reaching roots. The 3 B’s or Ways to Be are a great place to start.

Be 1. Create beauty which supports the shift you want to make. This is simple: Everyone is an artist, let the judgment go and create art you love to have around you. Create art to live with, to inspire, to share, to describe, challenge, encourage. Beauty is one of the biggest motivators for humanity, and the possibilities are infinite. Beauty is everywhere and if we look for it, we will see it. Tune into beauty as a daily activity. For instance, reuse recycled materials in the garden as functional sculptures for trellising, create collages, murals, and beloved objects which remind you of your vision; make space sacred and creative, and it will feed you.

Here are some picture examples of nourishing beauty I found along my trip:

eesunchair

Cob art bench at Emerald Earth Sanctuary, nourishing and functional.

cob

Cob oven at OUR ecovillage, BC

Be 2. Befriend your Representative: Connect and permeate local systems of governance. Let’s face it, many of our shifts toward sustainability (building sustainable and affordable homes, catching water, growing our food collectively and sharing it roadside or at small, neighborhood/corner farm stands and collaborative markets) entail that local governance and laws change to allow for the required creative space of our sustainable systems. Start prodding toward these shifts now! Perhaps you want to build a cob oven, garden and sell produce with friends on the corner in your neighborhood, get government support and rebates for riding your bike to work or planting fruit trees. Like the cherimoya you planted in your yard last year (great job!), realizing legislative shifts may take years to bear fruit. These are the steps we must reach toward now.

A great model for this is OUR Ecovillage in British Columbia or Dandelion Village in Bloomington Indiana, two far-from isolated villages within reach of towns and cities which have steadfastly worked alongside local governance to shift neighborhood zoning and building codes in order to gain permission and even in some cases, government funding, to do what they want to do: build homes, catch water, have so many humans living this closely together on this much land, grow food and sell it, etc. One thing I learned from working intimately with these two villages is the phrase:

Befriend your local Representative – we must weave ourselves through genuine connective friendships with our representative. Hey, become a representative yourself and bring power to your community by sharing your voice.

our new building

The most recent and completely zoned cob kitchen addition at OUR ecovillage, British Columbia

annbuilding

Annabelle and Nigel preparing the cob at OUR ecovillage

Be 3. Band together – Alone we can only do so much, Together we are resilient and strong.

“One man with an idea in his head is in danger of being considered a madman: two men with the same idea in common may be foolish, but can hardly be mad; ten men sharing an idea begin to act, a hundred draw attention as fanatics, a thousand and society begins to tremble, a hundred thousand and there is war abroad, and the cause has victories tangible and real; and why only a hundred thousand? Why not a hundred million and peace upon the earth? You and I who agree together, it is we who have to answer that question.” – William Morris

The strength of our collective voice comes through our relationships. Our relationships are strengthened by communicating our passions, fears, heart songs, dreams, and stuck places. Form mini-tribes which meet together weekly, bi-weekly, monthly. Grow a co-op, intentional community or ecovillage in your neighborhood (or connect to one already in the works), or share a house with neighbors (it is cheaper and communication is more rapid). Practice and study non-violent communication and commit to speaking from the heart and the head in the meetings. We are empowered through our ideas, yes, and also through sharing our feelings which include our fears, strengths, loves, hopes and desires in supportive and enlivening environments. Our feelings are our fuels so collectively band together and voice. Gather two and three to start and grow from there. The embers stay hotter when coals are collective, so gather that fodder and enflame in our collective visioning!

These are steps toward community empowerment that I have gleaned and seen on my travels. I have visited numerous ecovillages, intentional communities and striving and impassioned humans over the last three years of my life and I have dedicated myself to living out this question. I challenge you to continue living it out in your home and community sphere and especially encourage us to DREAM BIG! What is it your really want that is aligned with a sustainable earth-vision? It will look different for all of us, yet in diversity we find strength. Forests which have many species are stronger and more resilient than mono cultures. We know this.

Way to Be 1: Befriend Beauty and Create, collectively and individually. This will nourish, inspire and enliven us in the here and now and times to come! Everyone is an artist and connected to beauty. Yes, you! Way to Be 2: Befriend your Local Representatives. Invite him or her over for tea with your friends. Call her and create a real dialogue, partnership or collaboration. Look at it as a real relationship, because it is and it is people in these positions which have the vocal power to shift our laws and systems by which our larger cultures are run on/planned by. I can’t stress the importance of collective empowerment through local governance enough! Way to Be 3: Band Together. Find friends who feel similarly to you and talk about your thoughts and feelings and once you’ve talked about your feelings and dreams, collect your ideas into concrete actions. Build a community garden after talking to your local governance about that plot of land that’s been vacant or use a space in your friend’s grandmother’s backyard to grow veggies for your families. Grow too much and find a community abundance-trade group like Ripe in Altadena or trade your eggs with your friend on the bus for eggplant. Weave your web and be conscious that it is this through which we are strengthened. All of these individual acts at home are great and they are a start, yet it is through our collective visioning that we are strengthened past what we can be and do alone, through which we are sparked, kindled, enlivened, challenged and loved.

In all of my exploring I have seen these Ways to Be in action: communities living together on the land in the country and in co-housing urban environments. Bi-monthly potlucks, work days, creating heart and logistical planning spaces which act as containers in which humans are talking about and acting on the things which are really important to them, gardens in back yards and surplus produce exchanges with neighbors, active barter economies, connections forged over time with local representatives which bring meaning and lessen the gap between those “in power” and their constituents, gardens which are sacred spaces and exude beauty and practicality, bicycle pathways painted by the city from the ecovillage to the thriving city center, communal car shares, small urban farms producing thousands of pounds of veggies, urban orchards, humanure and a plentitude of composting systems. These connective pathways are happening and we can all start where we are today!

Tribe, consider this an evocative invocation toward co-creation! I wish us courage and clarity on this collective journey as we dialogue and prod our roots onward and deeper in order to grow further reaching branches and weave more expansive webs.

Lauren “Wren” Haffner is the recent creator of a chapbook titled Earthy, a poetic exploration of the intersection between spirit and sex in relationships. This and writings of her visits to ecovillages and her recent bike journey can be found at ourdailyride.wordpress.com. She is also the co-founder of 5miradius (5miradius.org), a community urban farming venture and model which begs to be replicated. She is currently continuing her exploration of intentional communities and welcomes support and collaboration in her endeavors.

getearthy

Hey dears! I’ve recently created my first chapbook titled, Earthy. I am really excited about it and present it to you here for your purchasing perusal!

When you get there, click to Get Earthy! sent to your door with a specialized love note.

The book is a collection of prose/poetry exploring the chthonic Word made flesh and interaction of spirits in sex. Sensual, spiritual,  Earthy contains a wealth of sapphic outpourings, in an overflow of poetic and sometimes loosely formed free verse. My intention is to tillilate, invoke and inspire as we consummate Spirit in matter. I’ve also shared some sparking ideas about igniting the Childfire, so please do inquire! Send your addresses and (once-read) impressions to Lunagrow@gmail.com.

Thanks and warm wishes ~~~~~<3

living as spirit matters

there’s a religion which believes the future holds union, bliss, divine connection

there are many religions which believe this

and so many people who hold onto this idea

 

this implies that though humans, the earth and its offspring, have spirit and make contact with Spirit, there is always some greater, far-off fullness to inherit upon death from the physical form

this leaves humans who hold these thoughts (implicitly, unconsciously, etc) waiting

pulled from the pressing present into some future paradise
the thing about the future is that we never really get to experience it until it’s here, in the present
the only embodied reality is the present, what we experience right now
the future is an idea in our mind, an imagining, a story we tell ourselves

and this is great! with our minds and imaginative story-weaving powers, we can dream up futures to work toward in the present. with these powers new realities can be brought into the material plane, lived, incarnate.

the thing is, the waiting for future union is often tied with the belief that it only happens after death of the physical form.

what i’m here to clarify is that it is possible to live as spirit matters. read the slanted part again. by matters i do not only mean Is of importance or value, but i also imply Is embodied. to bring into matter, into the material plane, usher into corporal form. this is the future paradise of the religions, often interpreted to happen after physical death.

what i’m here to clarify, and many are here now with this message, many have come before pointing the way, is that our ultimate mission is to connect Spirit with Matter, with earth, with what matters. to realize life as spirit. all of life, right now. often the divide between spirit, the sky, light, divine qualities and states of being and the earth plane is great and total. there are times for spirit connection, alone and in group, and then there is the rest of the life, lived on the material plane, engaged in practical, artistic, etc earth activities.

what i most want to say is that i choose to bring spirit into all of these activities. to realize that i am spirit (connected to Great Spirit) and so realize that all of my actions, movements, and beingness are a part of eternity, are a part of the divine flow, are a peace of the whole.

we all have spirits and we all have earth lives. in a balanced life the earth life, spirit life and imaginative/rational life of the mind flow and feed one another.

there is no future paradise. the time for melding within and without is now. if we read again the words of those who have come before, the words of whom one great and massive religion is founded and based, we find this truth:

Neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you. (luke 17:21)

Like the cow, Bossy, i woke up to outside of the wooden shelter yesterday morning, chewing grass, I’ve ruminated on these things for many years now. chewing off bits of truth here and there, swallowing them as i needed, processing in the gut, throwing them back up, biting off more, masticating, integrating them again…and again.

i am at this point to begin to bring this into words, to regurgitate what i feel and know and translate it into the magic of words which create and inform reality. yesterday i read about a new totem in my life, Spider. With ancient and primordial language Spider weaves the two realities together (Spirit and Earth) bringing mystery and divine truth into reality. i am called to this as one of my divine purposes and i choose to answer that call in joy, courage, standing in divine inspiration. i see myself as a channel, as a conduit through which divine truths can move. we all have this within. i choose to listen, to allow, and to share.

living as spirit matters
what will this look like as our daily ride cycles on, with or without the bike, knowing that each day is a divine ride gifted from the mystery. as spirit embodies matter, what will be created on the material plane? what earth and spirit lessons await? how will the great melding appear as it matures, develops, dies and is reborn?

i am curious, excited, even warmly contented now knowing that as i type spirit matters, has mattered, matters as the whole thing eternally!

I’ve been preparing to leave for the journey for the past few days. My parents brought my road bike, Patience, and bob yak trailer out from Indiana as they were already traveling cross country. So I’ve been to the Bike Oven in Highland Park to replace my brake pads, tru my tires and drop off tomatoes from our community garden, HaBEEb, traveled to a local bike shop for parts and for a hub adjustment, gone to REI for a dry compression sack, sleeping pad, and a few other essentials, and said goodbye to friends and places around here.

It’s a challenge for me to leave a place, especially when I have lived here for the past 8 months and become very engaged in the community, actually putting roots in the ground in the form of plants. But after the send-off dinner last night at Laura’s, where in March I met most of the people who became the central figures in my life through the past 5 months, I feel a sense that I have come full-circle, and am finally ready to go.

I’ve been reading lots of bike blogs, looking at maps, and spending time visioning for the journey. What is clear to me at this point is that I want to leave the trip as open as possible for anything to happen. I am setting the intention to visit as many ecovillages and other land experiments as possible, but I don’t want to set limits on what that could look like or where that could take me. I am  leaving lots of room for magic and for anything to be possible. I am so excited to see Northern California.

In this trip I’ll be tapping into different roles I’ve played in the past: adventure trip leader, pilgrim, itinerant worker, etc. I’m giving away most of my belongings and leaving behind a few simple boxes full of winter clothes to potentially ship if I decide to land somewhere for winter. In its essence, this trip is me taking flight for the next cycle of my life. As I was working that massage job last month, and moving from one housesit to the next taking some time away from landing at night at my grandma’s house, I realized that I’m ready to make home, to be more grounded and be stable, but not in a way where I work a job in the city and rent a room somewhere, or even save up to buy a house. I’m ready for the next step, and it entails creating an intentioned existence, from the ground-up. It’s necessarily time, then, that I set off with that intention. Finding an ecovillage, gathering skills to build a house, and saving money up along the way.

Money is a bit of a concern for me along the way, and I’m choosing to think positively about it. There are many possible scenarios: Working odd jobs as I go, landing somewhere for a month sharing a skill of mine, writing travel/h0mesteading/paradigm shift articles, updating the blog often and including a paypal button for people who are interested enough in the journey to support it monetarily. As I realized in conversation with Laura and Iesha last night, I have a lot of self-sustaining skills, but not many that are easily translatable into the mainstream culture, which controls much of economic wealth in terms of money. And because I am not willing to sacrifice my life blood for any length of time within the dominant paradigm to earn dolla dolla bills, I am choosing to be creative about the way I earn my money. Here it comes!

I sat down with Ginko earlier in the week, she making stamps and I watercoloring travel cards for the journey, and she spoke out a vision of the journey that I closed my eyes to and mmm alongside. She basically painted a light vision of how the trip and eventual homesteading could go, one to which I can close my eyes and remember now. I’m not ready to articulate it in speech yet, but it does rest inside of me as a seed of hope.

I’m feeling I’ll leave tomorrow morning as that’s the time my mom also flies back to Indiana. On my route, I’ll stop by the Throop garden and say goodbye to the last of the Pasadena throng faithfully strong there every Sunday morning. From there I haven’t planned my journey in a detailed way, but I’d like to be near the ocean and make my way up the coast line. My first scheduled destination is at the Emerald Earth Sanctuary, an ecovillage in Mendocino County.

Along the way, I’ll sleep on the side of the road, connect with Warmshowers.org hosts, and with other people I meet synchronistically. I look forward to getting out of LA in it’s congested and polluted city-ness and meeting the more spacious and unknown ‘scapes of the north.

This post marks the next cycle of ourdailyride, a thoughtform birthed a year ago. In the past month I have died and been reborn, now looking forward to discovering this form and feeling out the new hats that will be worn and outfits shorn along this path.

Give us this day our daily ride, and let us not worry where we will lay our head or where our food will come from. Lead my physical form on the high road of guidance by your spirit. Keep me humble, and strong in heart. Let me be a blessing to the pilgrims, each one, I meet along the way. Let this journey be a spark to ignite souls along their true paths. Instead of worry, give me grace and faith. Make of me a conduit of your love, of You. Speak to me always, Great Spirit, and grant me ears to hear, for apart from your voice there is nothing worth hearing. 

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