Experience Junkie

Escrow is Closed! And So The Adventure Begins!

Well I’m officially the proud owner of Valley View, a small off the grid cabin in an aspiring little hamlet called Trillium. Twelve intrepid collaborators, each bringing a unique skill and united by a shared vision, experienced our first community gathering on the land in late January …and we finally closed escrow on Wednesday after a nine month birthing process! Over the months we developed a lengthy legal contract, covering everything from how decisions get made to outlining exit strategies for all types of situations. As the year goes along we will make all of these documents open source in order to share them with other groups who might find them useful. Also, in the final agreement we created an easement for the former stewards of the land, a beautiful and talented couple in their sixties named Chant and Susanna, so they could keep access to a shaded half acre near the river for when they’re “in town” from their adventures of retirement. By doing so they also take on the honorable position of our village elders, for which we’re truly grateful. Their four decades on the land has given them a deep understanding of the cycles of nature, a voluminous knowledge of the intricacy of running Trillium and a strong reputation and connection within the local community. To be able to continue to water the seeds of love they sowed on this land and to have them remain as part of this wonderful journey is a true blessing for all involved 💓

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Shadows and Light in The Deserts of Nevada

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THE BRIEF: I’m back in SoCal after a memorable roadtrip through the deserts of Utah and the southwest. Definitely more rough than imagined but valuable insights were gleaned 🙂 I’m relocating to the mountains near (but not too near) LA for a month near Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear area where I’ll continue to dive into some travel & fiction writing projects. I’m also looking forward to deepening my nature survival and backpacking skills!

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Goodbye 14 Day Juice Fast… Hello Fermentation Workshop!

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So I broke my two week juice fast with a full day fermentation workshop and it was A-MAY-ZING! I learned lots of tricks for how to make tasty kefir, creamy cheeses, whey products, multiple flavors of kombucha and tons of sauerkraut and kimchi varietals. We got to sample all the goods and my gut flora is psyched about the fresh infusion of live, healthy bacterias!

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That time I Built a Yurt

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I helped build a yurt out of locally sourced materials! It’s a little different than the Mongolian yurts that I’ve helped assemble in the past, but makes up for lack in mobility with its downright tropical charm… and only took a day to assemble (besides the base, which was made with rocks & concrete)! It was a great little appetizer for next month’s 2 week permaculture design certificate course… more about that on another day!

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Reality, The Shadow Self and A List of Awesome Documentaries

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So you may not know this about me but I’m a little bit of a documentary junkie. Since I have some self-prescribed, mind-expanding time on my hands right now I decided to do a little research on where to find some good online docs… And I just discovered a motherload of consciousness poking and thought provoking documentaries.

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Solitude vs. Community and Spiritual Bypassing

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FAST FOOD! Cooking your street food, while your buddy drives to the market!

Sheesh, I’ve felt uncharacteristically sad and lonely recently! As an experiment, I found an apartment down a featureless alley on the edge of Chiang Mai for the last couple of weeks. The intention was to have minimal distractions from other people, touristy adventures and to minimize any time spent on creative or professional projects, just to see how I deal with myself. I can say that during this time, I touched the edges of divine bliss and intense despair.

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My First Day Back in Bangkok. And it’s Still Beautifully Chaotic :)

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Nothing like 16 hours of sleep to start any trip off right! I woke up at guns blazing and contact lenses glued to my corneas at 6am, determined to find the suitably name Temple of Dawn. Along the way I stumbled through some gritty back alleys which reminded me of the worst things I’d smelled since the last time I was here until I happened upon some of the finest mango sticky rice that I’ve ever tasted. I never actually found the temple but apparently it’s better for sunset anyway. What I did find was some prescription strength painkillers as my body is still in WTF mode from the recent onslaught of daily yoga. It wasn’t even 8am, and the day was just getting started.

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The Merits of Dialectical Behavior Training (DBT)

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This evening I completed an eight week Kaiser Permanente workshop on the topic of Dialectical Behavior Training (DBT) which explored mindfulness, meditation, emotional tolerance and coping strategies. It was surprising to me that two thirds of the class had never even heard of mindfulness before. To celebrate my “graduation” from the course I called my Mom whom I hadn’t spoken with in a year, and whose birthday just so happens to be today. How timely. I told her I loved her and looked forward to visiting her later in the month to begin healing our rocky relationship. And I really am looking forward to it. Throughout this year I realized that when I love others unconditionally as they are (not as I want them to be or wish they could have been in the past) then I can fully love that reflection of others within me. By practicing this I move one step closer to my fullest human expression of love in our world.
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Master Cleanse Day 7 vs. The Great Chili Cook Off

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The Master Cleanse. Trusted and endorsed by Beyonce, so it’s gotta be good.

Most of us in the west are privileged to live in a time in which we don’t experience anything near true hunger. In fact, our next meal is so assured that we can be ultimately choosy with what sensation we want to chase. Much of what we ingest is well beyond what we actually need to sustain ourselves – and the rush of sweetness, comfort of fullness and jolliness of inebriation can become slippery slopes of addiction. Paul Graham, has written extensively on the ‘acceleration of addiction‘ in the modern world, and concluded that ‘we’ll increasingly be defined by what we say no to.’ This is very inline with the teachings from the Vipassana meditation courses that I’ve attended, which teach you how to become a master of your mind, and more aware of your blind reactions. Meditators have found that the ability to control your reactions to cravings and aversions has great effect on their level of happiness and fulfillment.

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Brain Scanning for Cash

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One good perk about having a job where you can set your own hours is that you can submit yourself for scientific experimentation without having to answer to anyone but the benefits don’t stop there! In most cases they’ll actually pay you, and in this study my hourly wage was even more than I make at Syyn Labs and Mindshare LA! And finally, the really big perk is that since this study, which centered around implicit decision making (which translated to following dots around a screen ad nauseum), had me answering questions from within a fMRI machine – I got a free brain scan out of it!

Besides a dramatically oversized ‘awesome lobe’, I’m in the clear and in the green!

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