After a brief flirtation with the sweet promise of springtime, old man winter returned for another round of snow and freezing temperatures. While beautifully frosty and a good reason to stay cozy, it’s no real excuse for idle behavior when you’re (aspiring) mountain folk! More residents are arriving and repairs are finally getting underway. First things first on my end, Davis Galligan is helping me fix a bunch of things on my cabin, which I’m considering rechristening to WabiSabi although that could easily apply to the entire place. We’re starting by rebuilding my door so it finally closes properly and the panes of glass stay in the frame when it’s opened and closed… after that we’ll be enclosing my downstairs room which currently doesn’t have any walls and then moving on to some communal areas of the property including building sheds, designing a recycling center, redesigning the barn and making greenhouse repairs. As springtime draws closer work in the gardens will begin to pick up and we’ll start experimenting with produce and medicinal plants. What, you thought moving to the woods would be a sweet, relaxing retreat? Well in a way it is, as long as you appreciate minimal time on the computer and social media and most of your time being physical, lifting, hauling, digging, hammering, weeding and all that good stuff 🙂 More updates to come as the long march towards Spring continues…
*** #CABINLIFE UPDATE *** A wilderness journal entry, written beside a wood stove in the historic Trapper’s Cabin, the oldest structure on our land. Incidentally we’ve decided to rebrand the cabin, switching to the far more friendly and appropriately named Beaver Lodge 🙂 ***
After a soft move in by a handful of the Trillium residents, we have made it through to the winter solstice, the longest night of the year when the sun rides its lowest arc across horizon of the northern hemisphere. Last night I went to an interdenominational service in Ashland that included talks, music and traditions from a diverse lineage of spiritual philosophies. A Rabbi led the service which included reps from the realms of Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Taoism and indigenous Animism. He told us that it was the first event of its kind in that synagogue and was a testament to the deeper and more diverse interconnection that people have been asking for as a result of the tumultuousness of our current political, ecological and social environments.
Wow, amazing how much can happen in a year! After feeling entirely burnt out in 2015 I decided to put everything in storage and attended yoga teacher training last winter in Thailand. It blew open my mind, gave me new tools to heal my body and revealed aspects of my spirit that I didn’t even know existed. What I thought it would just be a quick one month retreat and-then-back-to-business-as-usual turned into a deep 5 month exploration of consciousness. A subsequent journey through Thailand and Bali provided a backdrop for revealing all sorts of old junk and a lingering, unresolved anxiety at the core of my character. The more I observed, the more I realized that this subtle yet persistent feeling had been influencing my behavior since childhood. In fact I’d crafted a complex world of distraction as a way to avoid it. I didn’t feel like I really belonged anywhere. I never really felt at ease. And no matter what I achieved outwardly or how elaborately I distracted myself, the feeling was always there, just under the surface until it bubbled up in outbursts of unresolved emotion.
This year I’ve been learning the ins and outs of community owned property and I’m incredibly excited to announce my latest collaboration: behold Trillium! Together with some of the founders of the Lucidity Festival, we are bringing to life a beautiful and inspiring land project outside of Ashland in southern Oregon. Trillium spans 80 acres and includes 17 existing structures spread across a scenic valley, meadows and raw wilderness. The land is nestled up against 3000 acres of old-growth forest that already includes 30+ miles of trails that weave through the pristine land. Trillium has exclusive water rights to the creek which flows through its valley until it meets the healthy Applegate river at the base of the property.
I might be skipping the Burn but to avoid any FOMO I’ll be attending TWO awesome festivals in September! It’ll be my first time at the North American Permaculture Convergence in Hopland in mid September and then on to Symbiosis Gathering for some righteous end of summer celebrations! If you haven’t heard of Symbiosis it’s kind of like Lightning in a Bottle’s flair blended with the deep, intentional aspect of Lucidity …and all taking place on a beautiful reservoir filled with art boats and swim up stages and installations! ALL HAIL GLORIOUS WATER!
The quote “Know Thyself” comes from an ancient greek aphorism and I don’t know of a more short and powerful directive. During unstable times, social structure is always at its most malleable. Historically powerful forces actually embrace (or even create) the chaos that brings fear and unrest as an opportunity to seize more control. But times like these also offer an equally huge opportunity for positive evolutionary shifts to emerge.
The last week has been full of beautiful, unexpected alignment so I just wanted to express some gratitude for it! I’m happy to say that I’m more excited about life than I have been in quite some time. Romances are blossoming, a new community project is forming and I just went for coffee with a friend and left with a peaceful west side apartment for the month. THANK YOU!
Reunited with my van and my pup, headed to our extended family’s farm in North Fork California and listening to TED Radio Hour’s “The Source Of Creativity“. In this episode Elizabeth Gilbert suggests that following your curiosity may lead to your deepest passion …or it may not. But regardless, “If you get to do that, that’s a wonderful way to have spent your time here…” What a comforting thought.
I just arrived at a beautiful place in northern Thailand called the Panya Project where I’ll be undertaking a two week intensive course on permaculture design. First thing tomorrow I’ll begin learning about natural building practices, efficient water systems, alternate energy harvesting and land and soil resource management. It’s cool to already feel my RISD design skills being stoked… I’m surrounded by novel and evolving solutions to immediate challenges. It’s like living in a big hands-on puzzle! Amazingly the people that run Panya are even nicer in person than they are in this video! And as for the students, it’s a diverse group of wonderful spirits, creative problem solvers with open hearts and a desire to be part of the solution to heal our world. I’m also proud to say at least 5 of the 25 are from California! Together we’re growing the revolution, my friends
I’ve been having really vivid dreams lately in which I’ve been practicing compassion for abrasive and intolerant people. Haha! I think it’s a result of recently beginning to practice meditative discipline outside of the regular sitting position, like when walking or eating. So since I’m thinking about *how* I’m thinking a lot more it’s coming up without needing much prompting… Like in my dreams! Cool, huh?
I’m in the Kuala Lumpur airport, waiting for my connecting flight back to Chiang Mai and writing a little piece about what consciousness is; if it’s something we can gain and influence, and if so whether it or not universal values can be defined to aid us in this quest. Over spicy noodles! Meanwhile here is some street art from George Town, Penang.