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 💓
“The original idea had been that the liberation of the self would create a new kind of people, free of social constraint. That radical change had happened but while the new beings felt liberated, they had become increasingly dependent for their identity on business. The corporations realized that it was in their interest to encourage people to feel like they were unique individuals and then offer them ways to express that individuality. The world in which people felt that they were rebelling against conformity was no longer a threat to business but had become its greatest opportunity.”… “If politics is also Freudian, i.e. if it’s a matter of politicians appealing to the same basic unconscious feelings that businesses appeal to then why not let businesses do it? Business can do it better. Business knows how to do it. Business after all is in the business of responding to those feelings.”
— The Century of Self, 2002
On this memorable day I’m curious about how we strike the right balance with our egos. After all, they can be used as a powerful driving force but left unchecked it can easily run rampant. In some ways it can be viewed as a formless and highly virulent parasite, intent on establishing itself through growing its collection of material objects, reputation and power.
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 just watched an awesome documentary last night called “American Commune” and I can’t believe I’d never heard of “The Farm” before! As we look towards a future where communal land stewardship and regenerative living are becoming increasingly common, it’s crucial that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. How to successfully navigate decision making processes, financial frameworks and healthy social systems will be vital to the long term flourishing of these projects. I’m very grateful for the brave pioneers that paved the way. May we learn from their achievements and their mistakes so that we don’t fall into the same traps 🙂
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!
I’m not an envious person… but Noam Chomsky, one of the greatest intellectuals of our time, gives me straight up brain envy. My thought process often feels like a firehose of impulse-fueled fiction by comparison when I listen to this brilliant man recount facts, clearly outline situations and explain otherwise complex systems with lucidity and objectivity.
I recently watched “Requiem for the American Dream“, a beautifully made film which provides a good overview for many of Chomsky’s insights and explores the compounding impact of such things as as income inequality as well as how to establish independence from of the forces that seek to control us.
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!
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.
Moving from a one marshmallow kid to a two marshmallow adult means learning how to delay gratification …and it can be a real bitch let me tell you. That said, life seems to have a habit of throwing curve balls at our plans and expectations so it seems like an important skill to master. Some of us may have had the good fortune to learn this early on from parents or other role models during our formative years. For the rest of us, it means some real dedication and often sitting in some uncomfortable ass situations while the lessons get woven into our behavior. And just when we think we’ve got it, WATCH OUT! It often seems like the moment we have the hubris to think “I’ve got this” is also the precise moment that the universe counters: “Oooooh really, let’s see how much you’ve got this!” BAM!