I see and value the importance of self-control, and to learn to step back and be of service. But that topic reminds me a lot about all sorts of trainings, or efforts to achieve something in general.
When we feel controlled by others or our surrounding, all we long for is freedom. Freedom to do whatever we like. Freedom to lie around all day, freedom to travel the world, freedom to create art, and anything in between. But is there such thing as too much freedom?
I have been silent. Silent for far too long. I have observed the uprisings in the US and the solidarity in so many other countries, and felt paralized.
What does strength really mean? And what about vulnerability? And how can we be strong in hard times, and at the same time feel our emotions and let them be present?
... This included keeping my distance from everyone, not touching door knobs, not taking part in the dinner ritual of sending my bowl, and also not cooking at the same time as the others and not cooking for the community.
It might not be about what humans should invent or introduce to help the problem, but rather what they should stop doing so that animals and plants can do the job of restoring the balance…
The building of Antioch University Seattle doesn’t look very special from the outside, but when I went in, I was in for a treat. It seems to be a gem for ecology and sustainable living that is well known to people in that region that think a little different than the rest of our consumerist western society. The fact that such a place exists, and all the people I spoke to and that held a talk at the community fair gave me new hope and motivation to continue what I’m doing and to take the next step – whatever it will be.
The idea of The Great Turning is, that all those challenges we (humankind) are faced with, all those changes, instabilities and crises are one of the greatest opportunities we’ve had in human history. I definitely like that viewpoint. Makes my view of the world not so bleak. To sum up the theory, it comprises three dimensions of change:
Actions to slow the damage to Earth and its beings
Analysis of structural causes and the creation of structural alternatives
Shift in Consciousness
More details can be found here: https://www.ecoliteracy.org/article/great-turning
The talks at the fair covered projects for all three dimensions. One of them would have been Michael Withey from Micro Community Concepts in Portland, Oregon. Since he got sick, I really want to mention his non-profit organization here. I met up with Michael Withey while I was in Portland and was really impressed and inspired by the idea. He wants to support people with low income that can’t afford the skyrocketing rents, by finding land to build small Tiny House communities, and even – with enough monetary support – buy appartement buildings to offer affordable living. The world needs people like him and his team that really try to change the world by supporting others and building more sustainable community living.
Another great organization I heard about at the fair is called Rite of Passage Journeys. They offer Rite of Passage events (one week or more) to teenagers on the verge of becoming adults, which is something that is sorely lacking in our society nowadays.
Thanks to all the amazing people I met at the community fair. You’re an inspiration to others! I’ll touch on some more information about what I learned on my trip about Tiny Houses in the U.S. compared to Europe in my next post.
Over the years I spent some time with project lifecycles and especially systems like the one in Dragon Dreaming and the natural cycles of the medicine wheel resonated with me. Within Dragon Dreaming, there are four recurring phases in the cycle:
The last one – Celebrating – is looking back on what you have accomplished, reviewing your actions, maybe naming all the things that you could have done and will do better next time, and especially celebrating. This is a vital part of finishing a project that is overlooked a lot of times in our society.
I almost forgot about that important last step (of the first cycle) of my project, but since I had told so many people who were interested about my home that there will be a party, I felt the need to actually do it, not being aware of how important it would be for me. It was a great party and with it I was able to really enjoy, celebrate and be proud of what I had created. Only during the celebration did I realize how important celebrating and really appreciating your accomplishment is.
This information got me thinking about our society today and the experiences we make, that are ripped apart from its natural cycles. If you believe different reports and that general feeling, more and more people develop all kinds of distresses like the ominous ADHD, but also clinical depression and who knows what other psychological “problems”. Could it be because we don’t really know how to reach goals in a stressless way after having accepted a challenge and therefore being stripped (at least partly) of that feeling of pride when having accomplished it?
Also not many people in western society learn and experience in a profound way where our food comes from. We see pictures and movies, maybe have some herbs on the window sill or even tomatoes. But we’re missing so many steps inbetween of what it takes to have that food on our tables. That relationship is probably especially disconnected when it comes to meat, but I won’t go into that now. The way I see it, this could be at least one of the reasons for our behaviour towards food.
The same is true for traveling distances. Most of us don’t have a real understanding of distances, because we (probably) never walked the way to work that takes the subway/train only 20 minutes, but would actually take a few hours to walk. I don’t even want to imagine the distances we overcome when travelling by plane. Because of this, not many people have a real understanding of how much energy is needed to be taken from somewhere else to actually make it happen for us to use public transport, cars, planes – you name it.
So is it really a surprise then, that we consume so much more than we could afford, considering people and nature in other parts of the world or our next generations? The way I see it, it’s a problem of us not being able to connect the dots because we never learned to…
I do like the motto of the Stark family in the Game of Thrones books, and I do like winter, but the season have been in transformation for some time now. This year, winter seems to be especially undecided. At christmas it had +15°C, only a few days later it was below 0 and looked like this:
Only a week after that, it was sunny and warm again.
I read a while back in a book called “The Vanishing Face of Gaia” (by James Lovelock) that the climate change will result in extremes. I guess that means that not only are spring and fall cut short, but also during the seasons the temperature changes rapidly and unpredictably in any direction. No adaptation periods. I can only guess, but this can’t be good for neither plants, animals or any other living creature. Well, we’ll see what’s to come when it’s here… What did you notice about the weather and climate in your area?