Saturday, November 14, 2009

Einstein's Map- Liberation Through Compassion

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security-- Albert Einstein
With the equation E=mc2, Einstein was able to convey that matter and energy are really different forms of the same thing and that matter can be turned into energy, and energy into matter…, a truly mindboggling concept with potential limitless and sustainable energy. With, “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert maps healthy sustainable inner-ecosystem, which in turn, translates into healthy whole planet eco-systems.
If we could master both equations as a collective by next January that would really rock. Tick-tock.
The teaching and concept of compassion has been around… Christ taught it, Buddha taught it, Quan Yin embodied it, and yet from the level of the collective, humans have not come very far. Instead most wallow like pigs in slop in the prison of delusion… Why?
Is compassion that painful? Is the prison that comfy? Are we that dim? What’s the deal?
This blog is on Personal Permaculture, or growing-up our inner psychology to the point where we collectively evolve into sustainable global citizens. On a side-note, my mother has no faith in you the people, or in my odds at making headway with my intent, but I beg to differ. Collectively, I think we dally, but when up against it, we manage to work miracles. For those keeping score, its become evident that the chances, choices and possible outcomes for the future of our kin are narrowing with each passing day, and each passing year as 80 million more people slide down those birth canals joining life raft Earth.
Just as some lizards managed to get wings, I believe that humankind must find liberation from the cell of separation- to recycle trash, plant a garden, practice compassion. Compassion for self, for other, and planet guilt free and with passion! “Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security-- Albert Einstein

Why not try compassion?
Sweet thoughtful widening circles of compassion,
Small ripples, moving through still deep pools of compassion,
Giant waves of compassion to batter rocky shores of isolation,
Compassion with wings….

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Organic, More than what you eat

This week we explore where personal permaculture meets politics, rule of law and myopic pin-heads…
While admittedly less mythically inspiring than some posts, equally vital to our sustainable future.

~ September 23, 2009 Zelig Golden, NY Times-
“In another important case against Monsanto and the USDA, the Center for Food Safety has again prevailed, demonstrating that GMOs pose serious risk of harm to organic farmers and consumers, and that the USDA is failing to sufficiently protect us from the contamination that can result from the planting of theses crops – this time in Sugar beets!..

A Federal court ruled that the Bush USDA’s approval of genetically engineered (GE) “RoundUp Ready” sugar beets was unlawful. The court ordered the USDA to conduct a rigorous assessment of the environmental and economic impact of the crops on farmers and the environment”

The above ruling is a huge step for organic, without which there might not have been a legal argument. It’s in the National Organic Program rule that organics be GMO-free. GMOs indiscriminately pollute the organic seed stock, along with heirlooms vital to our ability to adapt to the oncoming changes in environment along with our evolving taste/flavor demands.

Recently some nit-wit wrote not to buy organic avocados because they could be peeled thus the consumer could avoid pesticides… Really? Is that where the story ends…with the person who ate the avocado?

Does that sound like the whole picture?

When my mom’s conventional avocado grove (now organic) had to be aerial sprayed for thrips, (twice in one year) -every bee, bug and bird in the orchard dropped dead. Meanwhile our nearby organic grove had no notable thrip damage. So…what is a grove of bees, frogs, and birds worth? What is the value of supporting healthy, bio-diverse whole organic systems? What is the value of eating food not grow with sewage sludge and non-irradiated?

Organics are a verified, eco-friendly form of food production which can no more be taken out of the whole system, than mankind can live without clean water, air and soil and planetary bio-diversity.

In our organic avocado grove the soil is alive with microbials, worms, beneficial bugs, the land is rich in diverse vegetation, mulch, and life such as toads, frogs, song birds, bats, coyote, bob cat, mountain lions, and birds of prey. In the conventional groves there are no weeds, (RoundUp- which can be harmful to frogs…which are then eaten by birds…) the soil is dead, burned by nitrogen, and those dwelling or buzzing through the canopy in danger of lethal spray. Yes, the avocado can be peeled, but in which grove would you put the future of your children’s children?

It’s not always financially possible to buy organic… but to say not to buy organic- is its own crime of conscience… When the choice and funds are available, know that it is a small slice of eco-system you’re supporting. And that is a very big thing….

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We are all connected...

‘We are all connected…To each other, through biology…To the Earth, chemically…To the rest of the universe, at the atomic.” Neil de Grass Tyson

Connected biologically, chemically, atomically to each other, the planet and the universe…but are we connected emotionally? Spiritually? To not be connected would seem unlikely.

My friend E.J. Gold wrote “It is our job to alleviate the suffering of the Absolute.” I have pondered this statement for a very long time…Alleviate the suffering of the Absolute. Isn’t God supposed to be responsible for our suffering? As a parent I can say that children do have the ability add to both joy and suffering. My son could definitely spare me untold grief should he choose… so it’s possible. If we are connected, then alleviating any suffering of the Absolute would seemingly lessen the suffering of all.

Along the lines of suffering, mine and the absolute, I have been exploring the space between the exquisiteness of feeling deeply in terms of love, beauty and the divine, and the longing for a body-prophylactic for protection from the rest. But life does not work that way. If I love deeply, I will know loss. This could fit with Buddha’s “all life is suffering.” Although I’m not ready concede that all life is suffering, I’ll agree that love and loss are inseparable.

Religion has a long tradition of glorifying suffering, to the point of self-inflicted suffering. Our cultivation of suffering is a learned behavior so it is something we can unlearn. “Alleviating the suffering of the Absolute,” intrigues me as a spiritually-mature, healthy alternative to martyrdom.

Perhaps we should not love or not feel?
What do you think landed us here? Not feeling, lead to massive consumption in order to numb our disconnect… and still we felt. From there our inner-toxicity has seeped outward and onto planet...

From the sustainable, whole-systems approach, the equation would be: pain and suffering form connection…, counterbalanced by the joy, inspiration, comfort, and constructive mirroring, generated from resonate sharing of friends, loved ones, and kindred-spirits. Ultimately, the power of love alleviates mountains of suffering. The deep shadow reflective rivers of sadness should not frighten but serve to strengthen our resolve to love more fully…

We are, after all connected…to the planet through biology. When the planet suffers, so does the body and the planet is suffering. Here it’s a no-brainer to commit to alleviating the suffering of the plant and our biological-vehicle… When our body suffers, the mind, the emotional and the spiritual body suffer as well. From dis-ease it is hard to dream new worlds, love fully and experience the searing beauty of our miraculous connectivity.

“The beauty of a living thing
is not the atoms that go into it,
But the way those atoms are put together…
The cosmos is also within us..,
We are made of starstuff.
We are all ways…
The cosmos can know itself…” ~ Carl Sagan

What would you share with the cosmos?
What suffering could you spare the absolute?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


“When men lack a sense of awe, there will be disaster.” ~Lao Tzu (531 B.C.)

I think if Lao Tzu were coming to dinner we’d have much to discuss.
I spent the day on-line catching up on Ted-Talks, the Bioneers Annual conference postings, cutting-edge organic and environmental art, and other relevant planetary doings…from the hopeful to the hopeless, taking in the global picture. I will say that there are a lot of remarkable people, projects and lines of awareness emerging at this time. Right along side are critical global issues which could so easily render me frozen, mute or lost in despair. If he were to be at dinner I would tell Lao Tzu that awe and disaster have arrived as the Siamese-twins of this era. Then there are the oblivious…until disaster finds them too.

Disaster is being felt each day in a billion ways by millions of beings, as the norm of their lives is being irrevocably altered. It is felt in the faceless-wild spaces where climate is changing, and man has infringed deeply into the sacred balance of nature, fracturing once-whole systems… and those are the first waves. Disaster is setting up house.

Meanwhile…I am in awe… In awe of the guy who is making fat-free (elegant organic low-material) furniture. In awe of the artists who sculpt amazingly sensitive detailed sculptures out of used tires and the photographer who photographs the largest tire dump in the world so that the horror and beauty coexist within the viewer. In awe of the man who while working out the details of using radio waves to cure cancer discovered he could make an engine which will run on salt water. In awe of the multitude of thoughtful, creative, sustainable ideas being birthed and midwifed into form.

Yes disaster is on the march… but the brilliance it provokes in mankind is so awe-inspiring. I wonder what Lao Tzu would have to say about that?

My shaman friend keeps directing me towards my wonder. Awe and wonder seem similar if not the same, although wonder seems child-like and awe seems more adult and age appropriate. I may need to invite him to dinner as well… I was struggling with wonder and feeling discomfort in the naiveté and innocence which accompanied wonder. I did have a dream in which I had “eyes-of-wonder” sort of like glasses which I could take on and off. In playing with them I learned that I can’t wear “eyes-of-wonder” while doing organic review work, but I could wear them in nature…

The point being- I’m finding my way. I’m choosing my side, I’m choosing awe and I’ll continue to work on wonder… It’s a comfort really, a clear job description that I can handle. I don’t have to have answers to problems large or small. I can own my awe.

Disasters will come.

Our power is in our searching and supporting all that is awe worthy.

If Lao Tzu is right… rediscovering awe could be our salvation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sustainable Sprituality

"If a female Dalai Lama can be more effective, then why not?" "It will come. No problem." ~ The Dalai Lama, opening day of his Vancouver Peace Summit.
Perhaps unrecognizable to the untrained belly…but encapsulated in; “It will come. No problem”…is nothing-less than permission to alter the path we are on….in support of- our future Hermanity.
In nature it takes the dance of masculine and feminine to conceive and create new life, spiritually is no different. The Eastern Yin-Yang Symbol reflects the healthy dance and the balance of the universal masculine-feminine. In recent times religion/laws/myth/story have been solely about Man-God. Having God, with no Fem to temper, seduce, and occasionally over-ride, rule supreme for several thousand years has taken a toll.
So check it out: the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, himself a recognized God-resonant, spoke publicly that- he saw “no problem” with a female incarnation, Goddess-resonant Dalai Lamass?.
…Boys and girls- that is a very big opening in the psychic streams if one chooses to take it in. We have not heard such a statement recognizing the potential of divinity manifesting in a female form- well not from one with the Dalai Lamas level of spiritual authority, by my count, in over 4,000 years. This is big. How big? No other awaited messiah is preached as gender optional. “It will come” ~ Very big. No mosque, synagogue or Sunday school on the planet this week will be telling the daughters of man that they are worthy and credible containers of Divinity in their reflection.
Guess what?
We do not need to wait for his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to pass, then wait for untold eons for incarnation to choose a Fem-reincarnation, (as true with some beliefs…). Diva-Fem flows freely, no mountains to climb, or self flagellation necessary, and the big secret is… it’s never- not been here.
What has kept it from us? Stories and millennia of behavior modification in the form of social exile, shame, burning at the stake, stoning.
Wait…let me check….?
Yep, still there- the streams of fem, the void of pre-manifestation, the renewable dance of polarity. Still there!
For those of you, women and men, who have been waiting dutifully for permission to really feel- life, love, and one’s self as an intrinsic part of the streams… The 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama, has spoken…"If a female Dalai Lama can be more effective, then why not?" "It will come. No problem."
Note he did not say, God decrees a women’s body unholy, her mind not up to the task, she ate the apple…, He said, ”…why not. It will come. No Problem.” ~ Love this man!
So we now have permission.
To explore sacred feminine manifest.
Magically mind, and soul begins to balance,
Self discovering self
In dance of yin-yang eternal,
Refreshed by streams…
Of universal-unconditional love,
Somewhere a war will end,
or never start,
A tree planted,
A girl educated.
And in time
A planet re-dreamed
And its inhabitants redeemed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let there be light...

"A candle looses none of its light by lighting another candle." ~Unknown
And yet energy is squandered when attempting to light a steal rod, or wet noodle….

Many years ago I worked with two brilliant and wise women. They owned Stereoscope Bakery in Incline Village, Lake Tahoe. The women felt strongly that everyone should know how to bake their own bread, much like Gandhi promoted the looming of cotton to make one’s own clothes. They offered free bread baking classes, as a way of empowering others. Fascinatingly, they found that when the classes were free, people did not honor the gift, show up on time or complete the classes. Later classes were offered with a fee. With that a value was established and the participants were able to learn how to bake their own bread.

I’m not saying that everything should have a price, just that it should have a value. Otherwise it can be “casting pearls before swine.” This is a soul saddening dilemma because the caster of peals, can believe, because the pig has no appreciation for the peals, (gift of self given) that there is no value. It’s hurtful to the soul not to be seen or received. It contributes to low self-esteem. For a sustainable system the wholeness and value of the elements, in this case the resource of self must be respected.

Lighting the candle of those who step forth, holding their candle out to yours is one thing. It is entirely another to drag someone out of an unconscious stupor, dig though their trash, find something potentially flammable, put it in there hand and light it on fire. That never ends well.
Then there are the ones who take heart, ego or imagination hostage, demanding the lighting of the steal rod they are wielding… Good luck with that.

The act of sharing light, fire, knowledge, creativity, passion, does not give the giver say in how the recipient uses, expresses, or extinguishes the light. Attachment drains off energy from the potentially sustainable system of community growth and sharing.

Giving is only half of the circle. The other half is receiving the gift of others. Then there is gratitude for those who came before and lit the way… gratitude is its own magical bridge to new land.

There is a story that each soul upon birth in given the amount of energy needed to blast out of the orbit of the time and situation of which they were born, and into the orbit of the souls destiny. The problem is energy is often caught in the webs of others. Learning to liberate ones energy and still be open to give and receive is its own form of mastery.

Mentors, those who can embody passionate engagement with boundaries can be invaluable here, imprinting by healthy example. Whenever possible choose to work, play, and interact with the realest people you can find. Those for whom you can exchange light, ideas, empathy, compassion, maps, passions and more…

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cautious People Wanted

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each one of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."
~Robert Kennedy

"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations ... can never effect a reform."
~Susan B. Anthony "

Robert Kennedy’s words were born of the 1960’s, a pivotal era which began to shed light on the damage being done to the planet and its inhabitants through the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, global warming, endangered species and all manner of planetary degradation. It’s now 40 years later… and we are in far deeper shit. The planet’s population has more than doubled since 1969, the widespread use of genetically modified seeds, cross pollinating with our heartier heirloom varieties bred over millennia, is rendering major grain sources mutant and useless.

When the Permaculture map of whole systems made of whole elements it blown up to encompass the planet it runs squarely into the Gaia theory, as suggested by visionary scientist James Lovelock, that the planet is a single, complex, interrelated organism finding itself infected with an out of control virus called mankind. Just as you and I when we need to kill off a virus, she is raising her temperature a few degrees to kill it back. Lovelock has calculated that the climate disruptions ahead will shrink the planet’s population down from 6.6 billion to 500 million. That’s pretty drastic even if he is off by half…

According to the Gaia theory’ as we quibble over the ethics of abortion on our personal and political levels, the planet herself is moving towards a near do-over with mankind….How does it feel to be labeled a parasite, an out of control virus, a mutant species to be aborted?

I do believe in the ingenuity of people. More and more each day are willing to think, (an almost dying art) and dialog, (a potentially rich source of mental evolution when activated). Where do we start?
Do we control our population numbers?
Do we switch to clean technology?
Would we stop mindlessly abusing our planet’s resources, poisoning our finite soil, air and water?
The answer is: All of the above and more.
What can you do today?
What can be done every precious day we each have left on the planet?

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each one of us can work to change a small portion of events”,… What if careful cautious people could preserve their reputations … and effect reform? I think when it comes to doing the right thing, even the cautious person will want to participate. We can each change a small portion of events by,… planting a garden, supporting a farmers market, using natural cleaning products and pest control, buying organic food, and learning how to grow through shared dialog.
…., “and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."
~Robert Kennedy

Friday, September 11, 2009

Six impossible things...

Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” –The Queen/ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland… Then….“Sustainable development is a compelling moral and humanitarian issue.” Collin Powell…
I have nothing but respect for Mr. Powell, but morality alone does not carry the potency to dream us to a sustainable future. For that we are going to need to believe in a great many impossible things.
How many? I do not know. Maybe that’s the fun.
Sometimes it’s as much about disbelieving. I’m certain that it’s one’s sacred duty to disbelieve the collective humans who exercise chronic critical lack the vision, especially when that vision conflicts with the truth in your gut. Given the time, impossible tends to make itself manifest. So, we could argue the impossible or (my favorite) discuss which potential realities we might be willing to energetically back into form.
What is a vision you would die for?
Look around, who would stand beside you?
If the vision lives in you then at some level, it is already real. Note: what others say is impossible is an argument for their own lack of vision, and not a barometer of possibility.
Personally, I made a point to marry a simpatico spouse with impeccable vision, and have been blessed with some close family and friends who can fathom as possible- realities yet unacknowledged by the collective. Together we have created life-altering experiences and rich fields-of-play. Some are even gaining practical application…
September 11, 2009, the application for A Bee Organic LLC, was signed and sent out to the USDA. A Bee Organic was born out of the bramble and sink-holes of Organic Certification into which my partner Sarah and I were hired and trained. Daily I’d wonder- What would organic certification look like when viewed as a whole system of supportive elements? Obviously it would be forthright, verifiable, compliant, and humane, but that was not the industry we were being asked to support. Various certification agencies all told us the same thing; that the status quo (different in each) was the only way, and how it must be… And, neither Sarah nor I believed that to be true. Not believing what you can see is the flipside of believing the impossible… Together we have untangled a lot of brambles, filled in the sink-holes, created maps and sculpted healthy containers. We think we rock….nothing impossible about it!
If we want a sustainable future we must begin to believe impossibilities to be possibilities inviting our care. We must learn to support each others possibilities and practice emulating the system we aspire to become. That may seem like a lot of impossible things to believe before breakfast, until it dawns… how possible it all is.
Believing the impossible is vital to finding creative solutions. If I imagine very clearly, with great detail a destination, (impossible or not) then stand at that point of arrival and look back… from there, it’s not hard to map home.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Where ever two or more are sutainably gathered...

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead

It has, with great pain, begun to dawn on me that the masses do not like or want change. As a matter of fact there are a remarkable number who have yet to digest the basics of their own evolution. Recently, I’ve begun to wonder if what passes for our News should institute an opposable-thumb-check policy prior to letting people share their views. I’m not saying that they should not be allowed to speak, but there should be a warning on the tape at the bottom of the screen, (the person you are hearing lacks opposable thumbs, and frontal lobe may not be properly activated.) Politicians should not be excluded. At a time when we should be having real dialog, and making hard global changes, humanity as a collective finds itself staring blankly down the corridor of extinction and finds itself thinking… “Do I want fries with that???” And I think, well if they’re organic and vegan, maybe…

Thank you Margaret.

I’d forgotten my history and somehow thought that we could all wake up together. Not a chance, as the masses are none too quick to assimilate new ideas. It’s been a while since Jesus said “judge not,” even his followers can’t seem to live that rule. The constitution is over 200 years old, and while the right to bear arms seems to have captured the imagination of many… other amendments like the right to the pursuit of happiness got radically stomped, (think paying for sex, recreational drugs, and gay marriage) they got all prissified and judged off to no-no zone. When bedrock concepts like non-judgment (different than discernment) and the right to pursue happiness provide such cultural and individual challenges…integrated sustainable?

The planet and our children can’t wait for those busy arguing for their limitations, and according to Margaret they are not even necessary for change, ( happy thought). The rule in evolution is; embody the change, own the ground, and find a way to replicate. If you’re the first lizard to get wings, you don’t wait for everyone to get them before taking flight.

And that is being done. Everyday, in every corner of the globe someone is waking up and finding a way to live, love and create in a sustainable field of play.

Hence, the small dedicated group is my soul’s joy and a point of personal recalibration, because there is definitely a small and growing group of thoughtful committed citizens dedicated to changing the world. There are astounding scientists, entrepreneurs, social activists, sustainable organic growers and producers, community gardeners, recyclers, green builders and consumers, zero-scape gardeners, teachers, comedians, citizens, bloggers, and politicians dedicated to making their slice of the system integrated and sustainable and from their personal wholeness.

I just have to show up, own my ground, my consciousness…and welcome those who show up to take their place.

Welcome reader!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Point of Creation

“It’s not how busy you are, but why you are busy- the bee is praised, the mosquito is swatted.” Unknown…
Busy-ness like most everything in life is a double edge sword...
A sword which, when wielded from wholeness as opposed to this or that, can manifests as true power. How is it possible to live in alignment with so many variable factors?
History tells us we can either live by outer rules such as laws, religion, or we can live from within.
Living from one’s internal ethics only works well when those ethics have matured to the point where they meet or surpass social and cultural expectation. Imagine that my internal impulse was towards cannibalism in that at some level I believed I gathered power by eating the body of the more-powerful… I could maybe still find sanctuary in the Amazon jungle or Wall Street, I could act it out and risk imprisonment, or I could find symbolic ways of implementing cannibalism into my life such as joining the Catholic Church and enjoying communion. Cannibalism is an extreme stretch but it’s a fun example of a primal impulse having found a sociably acceptable outlet.
Whether the directive for action comes from within or without, there is still the issue of personal alignment with the whole. There is a lot of doing going on taking us as individuals and community further away from a healthy sustainable life and planet. How does the personal alignment switch become lit and available for use?
To dogmatically assign rules, maps or “thou shalt & shalt not’s,” is old school and I probably wouldn’t listen, so why should you? I’m well versed in inspiration but I’m distrustful of the process. For some reason the act of trying to inspire… can inadvertently lead to deception and lies; Think positive, love, light and darkness will not fall…
In exploring Personal Permaculture, I find myself circling like the buzzards in the canyon below our house, scavenging from all who came before. Those who pondered the same riddle: On what ground do we stand to witness evolutionary change? Change so big that the multitude of little changes necessary to globally alter the course we are on, would fall into place, like seeds in fertile soil, taking root and bearing fruit...
What if;
Instead of thinking everyone needs to know more, be more, do more, my self included,
I stop.
Hold what is treasured in me…
and consider…
What if each window of awareness needs its watcher?
… And I’m mistakenly thinking my window is more important?
That thought…
Takes me to a place of interest and honor,
In looking through an-other’s window of awareness…
It would be folly to forget
My window and viewpoint as I adventure into other points of view…
Because in remembering …
We could share,
Exchange, be challenged and inspired…
And that is a point of creation!
Maybe even communion…

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm with stupid =>

Chinese Proverb; "If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed."

This week I am discouraged. I like to think the best of my fellow Earth travelers but wow- are we childish. Now would seem the time to focus on working together to find new ground to solve epic social and ecological issues, issues which threaten the future of everyone on the planet.

Instead, dialogue has been replaced with emotional gibberish. This week it was affordable healthcare being cast as the villain. It’s frightening that we can’t constructively explore solutions rather than degenerate into polarized sects.

So, where are we headed?
Consider; "If everyone on the world enjoyed the same level of natural resource consumption as a typical UK citizen, we would need three planets to support us. This is clearly unsustainable. " - . The US is a more gluttonous consumer than the UK, so how many planets should we order?

Unsustainable… not unlike a gross National Product which must get bigger and grosser each year or it all collapses. Gross and uncool because at some point we will be running out of stuff to consume. Collectively it is time to dream something less gross and more sustainable.

Sadly it may not happen.
The human brain has evolved over a very long period of time to keep us alive when faced with an immediate danger. We are hardwired for the threat before us and passively-wired for anticipating future threats. When encountering a snake for example, nearly our entire brain will light up to alert us of the potential danger. When we are told global warming could threaten one-third of the world’s known species with extinction…, only a puny portion of our pre-frontal cortex lights. A small blip… So easy to miss, set aside, to ignore…

So how do we avoid ending up where we are headed?

Well, we could make it a moral issue. The brain is wired to note threats deemed disgusting or immoral. Growing “Round-up ready” genetically modified corn (to be sprayed with herbicide, weeds die, the corn you eat,) grown with sewage sludge (think heavy metals, antibiotics, etc..), then sprayed with the newest lineage of pesticides ( engineered to breakdown the immune system, think bee colony collapse, and immune system degeneration…) I could argue such as disgusting and immoral…

But this week; it’s affordable healthcare that’s got the masses taking arms …
A few months back it was Gay Marriage that got people’s panties in knots.
Our brains have evolved to the point where left un-checked… they will work against us.
Knowing this is the first step.
Permaculture starts with observing the whole system along with the interrelated elements…
That’s what bummed me out.

The interrelated elements are stupidly ignoring their flashing pre-frontal cortex…
But they manage to whoop-ass on the imaginary snakes ( issues deemed moral immediate threats).
Why are we taking this road?
Because we are probably going to end up…where we are headed…

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gardening & Good Food

“He who works land will have abundant food “- Proverbs 12:11

True that!
This week it not about the greater esoteric wholeness of the psyche as it intersects with the sustainable systems of planet earth… No, this week’s blog is about gardening and good food.

We don’t have a big garden this year as it was planted late, Hawaii kept us away for a chunk of spring, so planting was an afterthought. I threw in some pre-sprouted pony-packs and added horse manure as token plant food. True to form, a great abundance of food is streaming forth from the garden.

There are tomatoes of every shape and size, tender mutant yard-long string beans which are delicious with everything, especially tomatoes. Tonight’s dinner was an amazing mix of rainbow peppers, young zucchini, tomatoes and garlic sooo fresh there is no paper to peel, just dice and sauté. It was all cooked in olive oil, seasoned with Moroccan saffron and finished with a sheep milk Romano. All the vegetables came out of the garden maybe a half hour before dinner. The flavors were wildly vibrant, and I eat a lot of veggies but fresh produce at its peak of ripeness is another level of flavor.

The bad news is that my immediate neighbors and family all have larger and more productive gardens than mine, so I can’t pass my excess produce off to them. The good news is I got some ripe passion fruit from my brother-in-law this week which was divine, before that there were the tubs of strawberries they were downloading. Yum! Just a note; growing is addictive. More than a few of my friends started growing pot as an affordable source of self-medication then graduated onto fresh produce. I guess it’s true, the first one’s free.

Wendell Berry wrote: “One of the most important resources that the garden makes available for use is the gardener’s own body. A garden gives the body the dignity of working in its own support. It is a way of rejoining the human race.”

My favorite 2 year old buddy, Emerson, was here yesterday. He was having a great time feeding the koi, petting frogs, (one finger only, gently,) hunting for cats, (who were hiding) and picking tomatoes and peppers. Emerson threw himself into harvesting with a glee that everyone should have with gathering their food. It was as if we were on an Easter-egg hunt but for tomatoes, he reveled in the gathering and even tasted some, (mixed review) then moved onto the peppers. Em proudly insisted on carrying the bag which had began to drag under the weight. He seemed to like the feel of his body’s strain against the bounty he had gathered. It was a far cry from sitting in a shopping cart and having his mom put food in the basket. I think that Emerson in his 2 year old wisdom would heartily agree not only to the dignity of working in the garden but of the pure joy…

Friday, August 7, 2009

Joyful hope

A vision without a task is but a dream.
A task without a vision is drudgery,
A vision and a task is the hope of the world.
- Church wall, Sussex, England, circa 1730

This is an early map to a sustainable life.
It’s never about the doing or the dreaming,
The vision or the task,
But the sacred marriage between them.

The world’s longest list of tasks, even when completed will not change one’s life. Not unless the list is a series of steps taken to support an intended vision. The act of holding the vision, and being present with each step, is its own sacred journey and is the joyful hope of the world.

Dreaming, and day-dreaming, as a stand alone activity can be great ways of relaxing, bringing personal renewal and exercising muscles of imagination, and those are all great things. Dreams can hold a non-linear, intelligent depth of mapping, and can offer an almost magic path through seemingly unopenable doors. I’m a big fan of dreaming, but pathological escapist dreaming is its own drug and can degenerate into its own prison. Being the keeper of a vision birthed forth from an ideal is just as tiresome and often more lethal. Too many people have died in the name of religion along with insane amounts of hate and dissonance. A vision birthed from the connectivity of self, meaning really feeling one’s place in the sustainable systems freely gifted, comes forth as a vision with gravity, legs, and a will to grow and flower.

The Sanskrit word Dharma literally translates as that which upholds or supports. In English they squish the definition into the word “law”. I prefer to see it as taking our places supporting and upholding nature’s sustainable systems or laws. Dharma is often translated as one’s righteous duty… to do?

Zen Master Dogan said: “Those who see worldly lives as an obstacle to Dharma see no Dharma in everyday actions: they have not discovered that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma.”

I love that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma. I get that but those of us who do are still in the minority. Mankind as a species does not understand the peace that comes from living within the laws of nature. A lot of pathos could be eliminated with some basic gardening. Being green or sustainable and upholding ones place in the system is considered to be an optional life choice. Absolutely, if one is not attached to the future of the coming generations, it’s optional.

In 1830 Charles Lamb thought himself clever when boasting; “A Garden was the primitive prison , till man with Promethean felicity and boldness, luckily sinned himself out of it.”~ True that Charles. The definition of sin; to miss the mark. In its adolescence humanity sinned itself out of the garden and into possible extinction.
Clever lucky humans.
Heartfelt Dharma is out ticket back…
sustainable-vision interwoven into every task…
The hope of the world.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Life is Compost

"Life is compost."

"You think that a strange thing to say, but it's true. All my life and all my experience, the events that have befallen, the people I have know, all my memories, dreams, fantasies, everything I have ever read, all of that has been chucked onto the compost heap, where over time it has rotted down to a dark, rich, organic mulch. The process of cellular breakdown makes it unrecognizable. Other people call it the imagination. I think of it as compost heap. Every so often I take an idea, plant it in the compost and wait. It feeds on the black stuff that used to be a life, takes its energy for its own. It germinates. Takes root. Produces shoots. And so on and so forth, until one fine day I have a story or a novel."

"Readers," continued Miss Winter, "are fools. They believe all writing is autobiographical. And so it is, but not in the way they think. The writer's life needs time to rot away before it can be used to nourish work of fiction. It must be allowed to decay. That's why I couldn't have journalists and biographers rummaging around in my past, retrieving bits and pieces of it, preserving it in their words. To write my books I needed my past left in peace, for time to do its work."

From "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield

This wonderful quote was sent to me by my friend Gary Jo. The passage is spoken by a famous author near the end of her life. She explains how she held the compost generated by her personal life as sacred fodder for her creations. There is something so sustainable and integrated with the concept, every little bit of a life heaped and allowed to be digested in the darkness of the subconscious, then recycled as creative manna for nurturing new life.

I’ve written about the need to own one’s story. Life as compost reminds us that there is also a time to let go of the details, the emotional triggers, attachments, and even the story itself to allow the dark to work its magic.

Buddha said that all life is suffering,
I’ve never been able to fully back the idea…
But life is compost… this I understand.

The uncomposted bowel movements or rotting copses of our past are seldom met by life art. In organic production, time and temperature are monitored to chart when the waste is ready for use. In my backyard compost bin and personal life I am far more casual with the monitoring. It’s not uncommon in our household to make two or three trips a day, arms full of peels, rinds, leaves and shells- all into the bin. Everything not eaten is food for the dark, to emerge on a new day as food for our plants and life.

So perhaps great gardening and creativity…
May share the same humble beginnings
In compost.
I’ve got loads of compost!
And you?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pruning & Cut -backs

"It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about your gardening. You must love your garden, whether you like it or not." ~WC Sellar &RJ Yeatman... In Personal Permaculture- The garden is you.

Last week I was pruning grapevines in a friend’s vineyard, we went out early in the morning and quit when it began to get warm. It was very lovely, thoughtful, and heartfelt work. Pruning grapes has an interesting balance, between the rules for pruning or preserving the best fruit. It was cathartic and made me consider the constructive side of deconstruction, the plowing, weeding, pruning, or thinning, in relation to the permaculture of self.

Growing grapes involves different levels of pruning from light to hard for different seasons then, every seven years, the grapes should be allowed to grow wild with abandon. The grapevines left on their own reach out forever with long vines and large leaves in every direction, but don’t focus on roots or fruit so such years are not about the harvest. That first hard prune after a long summer of undisciplined revel must come as quite the shock to the plants…perhaps not unlike now on the planet. Life has been remarkably easy for most for quite a long time. At this time on the planet many people are experiencing a hard prune in one or more aspects of their lives. It has come in the form of lost jobs, home, cars, financial security, the loss of health, relationships, and or lives. Although strength and solace can be found in friendships, prayer, silence, work, or gardens, there is nothing which makes great loss comfortable.

The season which follows the year of casual abandon in the vineyard typically offers a spectacular harvest. Human cycles are not as short as that of a grapevine but understanding that there is cycle, however long it may be, can be helpful. With people we have the choice to grow, hunker down or retreat further, making ourselves smaller. I feel that I am too young to either begin arguing for my limitations or recoiling in retreat. So after the initial denial, drama, and grief, I track back through the choices I’ve made, finding the points where, either out of story or my very incarnation, I can own my life as my creation. Ownership is paramount.

Part two takes even more courage- Dreaming one’s self onto new ground.
How does a thirty year old, sixty foot tall, sprawling avocado tree cope with being stumped chest high, painted white and having its water reduced to almost nothing? With the California water restrictions, stumping has been the strategy for managing the older groves. It’s harsh. Sometimes not a leaf is left on the tree. I imagine it feeling like imminent death.
Yet, after a time of stillness, miraculously they begin sending out branches. It takes a few years, but the trees come back with structure and bounty. Avocado trees know they are connected to the earth and sky, they naturally stretch back out and fill the space.

And us?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Repetition---You are here.

Last week in Comments, Rosalie asked some great questions. In answer…

• Nature is full of stories. Take the built-in story arch of the seasons, Winter to Spring, Summer to Fall, birth death, a story unfolds with a beginning, middle and end. In tracking story arch you must know the story along with where it ends, the rest is easy.
• Repetition. The same as we find the repetition of story and patterns throughout nature, we’ll also find repetition of theme. Shakespeare said there were only seven plots. That would mean a lot of repetition and plenty of opportunities to wake up. Stories repeat. Pay attention, if life looks familiar, last time you were here…. how was the ending?
• A Story has a shared eco-system. The Bushmen understood the potency of the psychological eco-system intrinsically woven throughout story hence its great value. If story lives in a vacuum of one, it is either a seed waiting to germinate or there is a disconnect. In most cases story will be shared and spread throughout a family, group of friends, or community.
• Nature is constantly adjusting for influx or lack. Similar to the eco-system the story will always seek balance and seek completion. If a story is lacking an element it is constantly in search of the element. So the missing element is as much a part of the story as those which are present. Often more so. That’s why I said that for MJ, the completion of the story would be unjust persecution, to counterbalance the soiling of his soul from the worship and adoration. Stories seek balance.
• You can’t plant onions and expect to grow pumpkins. An example; I work extra hard for a withholding parent or boss so that they will recognize and honor me. Only one thing; the part where I cast the person who is never going to see me, honor or meet me. That would be like hoping to harvest a pumpkin from an onion patch. What grows in your story’s climate and eco-system? Can you get there from here? If not, how can you alter the story?
• Nature is a miracle unfolding, stories also unfold. Waking up within the story comes in phases. I think that Red Riding Hood woke up when the wolf ate her. The woodman cut her out of the Wolf’s belly, so the next time…and there will be a next time, Red might take one look at grandmother’s BIG EYES/TEETH and RUN. Later, she might become aware of being followed in the woods and double back. Eventually she might think twice before going into a woods dressed in red, (really now red?) all loaded up with fresh wafting baked goods.

Then she might decide to visit the woodman’s son. If he pays no attention to her, she might come back with a basket of goodies dressed in her Red Cloak. The difference being, the story would have become conscious.
Then perhaps she will try on a new story…

Friday, July 10, 2009

The End.

If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.
—Barry Lopez, in Crow and Weasel

If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life. —Siberian Elder

In my quest to imbue a power to relax into a healthy sustainable psyche, community and planet, I keep returning to story, because our story writes our script. I’ve been thinking about stories this week in the context of watching the mass mourning of Michael Jackson’s life and death. I was struck by the repeated comments about his death being untimely. Maybe not, consider this: Michael’s story was of being Peter Pan. The trajectory of the Peter Pan story is to never grow old, yet the body he inhabited was 50. When Michael announced his final tour, wearing large dark glasses shaped like eye sockets of a skull, pale white, and 112 lbs. with a wide toothy grin… it seemed that he had abandon Peter for being the brother of Jack Skellington.

One does not age from either story.
I didn’t know Michael but I do know stories and stories follow rules.

It also struck me that his mother was a devout Jehovah’s Witness. Not being a follower of MJ I didn’t know this. Had I known, I would have seriously doubted the accusations against him for sexual molestation of children. Jehovah’s Witness do not celebrate birthdays or holidays, rather it is believed that salvation comes through suffering. To be persecuted is considered Christ-like and is one’s ticket to heaven. From youth, Michael was forced into a life of being celebrated. Part of him thrived on the attention, but the religion of the mother that he loved judged such adoration as counter productive to the soul’s salvation. Think about it. How then to find redemption? Playing the innocent in such a way that it would lead to persecution… this would fit the story.

The rule is this:
The story owns us until we own the story.
The first story is the one we were born into.
The second story is generated by what happens to us.
The next story is the one we co-create with life.

I long ago noticed that invariably the people with the cool lives had good imaginations, and a love and respect for story.
What is the trajectory of your story?
Where will it lead?
Where will it end?
How will it leave the world for future generations?

If the answers are not stellar… start reading, writing, and practice telling a new story.

“The story was the bushman’s most sacred possession. These people knew what we do not; that without a story you have not got a nation, or culture, or civilization. Without a story of your own, you haven’t got a life of your own.” —Laurens Van der Post

Friday, July 3, 2009

So why the attitude?

"Independence"... [is] middle-class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth. ~G.B. Shaw

Yes, so why the attitude?

Haven’t we reached the point where, denial of the inter-relatedness of all souls on Planet Earth is adolescently futile? Let’s face it, there is no such thing as a sustainable system of one. As of yesterday there were an estimated 6,845,146,643 people alive on this rotating real-estate, we are all dependant on the orb and each other. That’s a lot of inter-dependence. When I consider how challenging it is some days to get my husband and I in-sync and in agreement it’s overwhelming to ponder…, how can I even begin to know how to interact constructively or inspire awakening and responsible interaction in 6,845,146,641+ others.

On the bright side I know that there are many other people on the planet who are playing with different sides of this same puzzle, and history shows us that this is not a new quandary. For thousands of years humanity has been testing ways to incite group movement and transformation, religions were born of such ponderings. Although we do have more examples of failure than success, at least we know that making everyone, or killing, shamming and coercing the masses to work towards the good of the whole, does not work. Bribery is even looking less promising, so what to do?

I am not one who by choice, wants to be responsible for others. I’d much prefer others be responsible for themselves. It takes most of my focus and attention just being true to the line of me, (in my defense -the line of me is not a static point, it is in part a constant yet always in motion,) maintaining that and directing others freaks me out…What if taking out the trash isn’t their joy in this moment?

I like it best when people tell me what they want to do, then we can marry that to a job which needs doing. I’m very good at channeling those who know what they want and have some passion. I’m less good with the Tigger people; “Tiggers love water! Yikes! Tiggers hate water!” I ‘m even less good with the adolescent “independents,” self contained with no containers, all opinion- no passion, those are not my people.

With the creation of our company we’ve chosen to encourage awakened and sustainable inter-dependence with our company policies. A Bee Organics’ fee schedule is structured to favor those clients who show up awake and responsive. We have designed a modest base-fee, partnered with additional fees for additional time. This will allow our responsible clients to get certified organic affordably, clients with greater time and energy demands because of special attention needs will pay more. We are weaving this philosophy of personal accountability into every aspect of A Bee.

It’s a lot like Farmtown,
Only it’s USDA-Land,
And we are setting up clear and fair fields-of-play.
I have never worked in such an environment…
I’m getting exited.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the Devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

~Joni Mitchell

This song was one of a few which used to run through my head in answer to an inner longing. It helped to shape my intent, my actions, aiding in the creation of my life in a beautiful canyon, with good friends and family, fun and vibrant community. Thanks Joni!

In an earlier Blog there was the mention of containers. From where do they come- not the container store. Containers are built of relationships…to others and the abstract, sometimes even a song.

The building of containers is a process of holding, playing, digesting which is not to be confused with spinning and projecting. One refines and defines while the other only maintains and eventually deconstructs.

We are stardust…

On some days this idea would sound fanciful, on others it seemed so viscerally precise.

Billion year old carbon…

Sounds less shiny than stardust… I don’t know that I can fathom a billion, but at times can relate to my inner plant, and plants are very close to dirt and basic carbon. I’m aware of being an amazing plant evolved into a mobile processing unit. My species have pulled up roots, we are on the move… It makes me feel very privileged, like winning the lottery. I like to share my fortune. They (plants) like that I can look after them with care. We are a close knit family the plants and I. We share our stories.

We are golden…

Not the object-gold as was the daughter in the story of King Midas as that would suck,

but golden.., like sunshine.

Plants like sunshine.

I’ve never really felt golden, I’ve been blue and I think that’s a start…

Caught in the Devil’s bargain…

Sounds fright-full.

And fear makes its own boxes.

Eating the apple-the fruit from the tree of knowledge.

As human beings.

Probably, but in spirit of reoccurring patterns.

I imagine the first time we sampled that apple was when we got mouths.

Lucifer-(Light bringer) AKA the Devil’s, bargain.

Lose the roots gain mobility and conscious reason.

Now unable to live on soil and sunshine.

Thus sentenced to having to continually seek food,

Rootless, and in delight of a crisp cool apple…

That was a good day.

Glorious and terrifying.

Container building is Sudoku of story.

We have got to get ourselves back to the garden…

I’m a free and mobile plant person. I have escaped/was thrown out of the garden fair’n square.

Why would I want back in???

At some point,

I found my answer to that question.

How about you?

First- Define the garden,

Why would one return?

I think that when… we have all answered that question,

A healthy sustainable planet will be sooo natural!

"When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, There is always the garden".~ Minnie Aumonier

Are we there yet?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Valuable fertilizers…

The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow. ~Author Unknown
…But not necessarily someone else’s shadow. ~Ro

I woke up this morning in a dream. My friend Danny Sugarman (used to manage the Doors, dead in real time,) was in my living room managing a heard of spinning, life sucking drama queens, one of which was my June, my mother-in-law, (also dead, but still fully capable of mischief and mayhem). Eyes still closed, I smiled as Danny ingeniously spun the spinners, sending them off in every direction. I marveled at his art form, it reminded me of the discipline of Aikido in which the force of the blow from an attacker is not stopped but sidestepped, then given encouragement to continue on and away. When the house was clear Danny stepped into my room and awakened me with a kiss…

In real time I woke with the smile and kiss still fresh…
I followed the kiss back into the dream…
Once again, I was impressed by Danny’s mastery of shadow herding.
With Jim Morrison as his mentor, one would expect nothing less than brilliance.
Grateful for the clearing and care I got out of bed enjoying the peace that wafted through like breakfast cinnamon rolls transmuting the stink of the week before.

In last week’s blog I touched on the wonder and divinity to be found in one’s shadow. I forgot to mention the part where shadow unchecked is the dragon locked in one’s closet, scorching relationships, sabotaging finances, turning valued achievements to shit. In gardening terms manure and ash are valuable fertilizers… but the drama generated by a shadow disowned is never pretty.

Ultimately, the undoings of the shadow makes people bitter, convincing them that something or someone other than themselves created their life’s sorrow and disappointment. Like “the butler did it,” it’s never the dumb-ass boss, lover, or other’s doings… most of life’s ugliness is handiwork of one’s own shadow seeking attention.

This week a wounded adult, left abandoned shadow for Ron and I to raise, or drown as we saw fit, much like kittens left in a box in the alley, only more passive-aggressive. What to do when a juvenile-adult parks their shadow at your door step, in a brown paper bag, covers it in gasoline, sets it on fire, rings the doorbell and runs…?

Cold hearted bitch that I am, I watched it burn knowing that like a phoenix that sucker would resurrect from the ashes and fly back home. But the smell had been lingering. Then Danny popped in. Thanks Buddy!

Basic shadow rules;
• Shadow does not die.
• Like the many-headed dragon, no one can raise-up or kill off either their own or another’s shadow.
• Shadow is every bit as much fertilizer for the interior garden as animal manure is for the yard. Much like all fertilizers it needs to be properly aged or it does more harm then good by burning the crops and soil.
• Raising shadow- One starts by taking ownership.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shadow Farming

When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands. Ralph Waldo Emerson
The question I pose is… What is the garden you have been defrauding self of all this time in letting others do for you which should have done with your own hands? In relationships and life we all turn our back on some part of our inner ecology and decide not to farm that quadrant. It’s seductive to think that we are winning- by losing out in not taking responsibility for the aspect of self.

A well endowed to-do list is a relatively new addition to my life. The first 50 years have been steeped in family, philosophy, simple pleasures spiced with exploration and play in the depths of dimensionality. It’s been great. Now it’s time to grow up and give back.

So, I’m bloody boring these days, I’ve turned my tracking and mapping skills away from the rich deep water of the psyche and into the shallow end of USDA Organic rules and standards. The rules do not need me to either to make or break them but to hold them firmly in the light of their wholeness. Then to weave that forward into a vibrant container inclusive of the wholeness,.. the wholeness of the Organic producers, their production, and the employees who will monitor and verify it all.

It’s my karma yoga and takes me to the far edge and beyond my comfort zone.

At moments it’s even exciting, but it’s uber-geek paperwork which one can’t even boast about on Facebook; -Ro’s just completed a draft of an Organic Employee Notification. Woo Woo! I’m even okay with being that because for me it is the mirror work of; I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands, in that, I’ve let others handle the business of business. So I’m in the garden of USDA National Organic Program with my spade, and dig a bed, and it is exhilarating, frightening, and there are worse things in life than dying a geek.

Mapped along side the four directions as, North Mind, South Emotion, East Spirit, West Body, We stand in the middle of the circle facing one of those directions, I face East. The directions on either side are like right and left hand with most favoring one or the other. The direction at our back is home to the shadow. Interesting to note Carl Jung said that God lives in our shadows. For some I guess that is further incentive to stick with their winning game, maintain familiar drama and hope death takes them out before whatever it is they are avoiding taps them on the shoulder from behind…

The real bitch of it is, I started in the East… I never lost touch with the divine.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Connectivity of Now

"We cannot set limits on the versatility of nature; the limitations are in us."
Elsa-Brita Titchenell

So I’m working out my own limitations- around a map to support my nature without limits.

My nature is such that I need really good clean fresh food, exercise, mental and emotional stimulation and support… but there is this other less tangible thing…I need to feel connected to the bigger story. In mapping this, my mind keeps returning to the power of the present or ever expanding NOW.

There is a unifying current running through the now that transcends the fractioning stories of self.
One recent morning I walked into the kitchen where Ron was standing at the sink doing the dishes. Something cued me into the fact he was not in a normal state of mind, so I asked him; what was up? “They are dirty, then they are clean,” he told me holding the dish up to the sunlight in wonder. I had to smile at his enviable dish-bliss. Ron was not feeling bad about the usual suspects; money, someone else’s opinion, or his never ending to-do list, he just allowed himself to see and feel the beauty and even the renewability of dishes being dirty, then being clean. And he slipped quietly, joyfully into the simple bliss of knowing that in this moment life worked.

But Ron’s had some practice. He has built some containers so when the moment expands he can meet it.

Once in the middle of Nordstrom’s with our friend Debra, Ron and I fell into the now. It was a special event where early one morning, women came by appointment to meet with professional make-up artists. A piano was being played live, the women and artists were all into the art of being beautiful. Ron and I stood on the side just arms around each other enjoying the music. The quality of light shifted to a soft shimmer. We could feel the perfection and weave of every movement in the crowded room. There was a vibrant current flowing through it all. Ron and I moved the center of the hive where we found Debra and enfolded her into the wave. The guy working with her slipped in too. As the music played there was a giddy mischievousness matched with pure business flowing like sparkling Champagne moving out from where we were at the center into the store in waves. The energy sustained regenerating and full, we lingered forever... until it began to subside, then off to our day.

At first one might be aware of body, temperature, and breath, then noises like conversations, music, traffic, breeze, then there are subtler energies. The energy of the person next to you and the person beside them, following awareness out in concentric circles like ripples on the pond, never losing track of self always at center. It takes some practice but then again it might just find you. When it does, meet it, greet it,.. see where it takes you.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Permaculture & Me

A Bee Organic… only if we are

So, my friend and cohort Sarah Costin, along with Ron (my husband) & I are filing the paperwork to become an Accredited Certification Agency (ACA.) Organic Certification is an intricate verification process at the end of which the client can use the word “Organic,” “100% Organic,” or “Made with Organic” on their label as a marketing tool. Products carrying the word Organic have been verified as produced and handled without genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), irradiation of the ingredients, or sewage sludge. It also means no petro-chemical fertilizers or pesticides were used to grow the food. It means that land resources have been preserved and all things monitored and documented. These are things I am bio-ethically bound to support.

For me, the energy and commitment involved to birth an ACA came out of the writing and exploration I’m doing in Personal Permaculture. The intent in founding A Bee is to insure the humane treatment of applicants and employees- both, even while upholding all standards we hold dear. If successful we believe we would be the first of our kind.

How wrong is that? That we would be the first? Very… but the condition of the industry was not enough to get me involved. If I believe that in the near-future we can achieve a sustainable planet via- us as individuals showing up, then the path for me narrows. But not enough to make such a sweeping commitment to the industry… and even if the leap was to be taken…then, how to avoid being more of the same?

I looked to the map permaculture offered:
1) See the system as a whole.
2) Identify the whole elements within the system
3) Observe how the elements operate and interrelate
4) Create a supportive environment for a healthful system by following templates of healthy systems

My intent is that that Organic Certification becomes obsolete.
Obsolete through becoming so dead-common that the table flips, and those who ravage the environment through their Franken-seeds and chemicals be held accountable. But first I must be accountable. Even trickier than accountability, I must merge my passion to my ethics and everyday good-sense business. I’ve done it before in my commitment to motherhood, my marriage to Ron, my deeper friendships, but never to business…can I make the leap?

A lot of the fears of becoming more of the same and a part of the problem were alleviated by sitting with partners and painstakingly reviewing the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) Standards for the duties and responsibilities of Certifiers. The hardest thing to do- was to forget everything we’d seen which was fragmented, did not meet the mark, accurately support the law, or even the clients’ rights, but to see the system as a whole. Then we needed to map, how… out of our wholeness we could show up to meet the wholeness of the industry.
slowly and methodically
as true to ourselves as we know…
find new ground.

With the dream..
With the NOP…
Within ourselves.