Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 Intentions

I went to an amazing workshop yesterday hosted by a dear friend Deborah Eden Tull (author of the amazing book, The Natural Kitchen as well as the upcoming Mindful Living Revolution). What does this have to do with Urban Homesteading you might ask?
Great question!**
Here's how I see it. In permaculture (one of my guiding principles) we allocate energy in different amounts to different actions. When we consciously place elements that we interact with in locations relative to how often we need to interact we create more ease and grace in our actions. A little esoteric? Here's an example. All too often people put their vegetable garden or compost pile way out in the far back corner of their property. This is often doomed to fail because it needs more interaction than the number of normal visits one makes to the back 40 of their land. If something needs daily tending and you put it on the path you take from your car to your house you've added a little ease to what you're up to. Make sense? Hope so. There are usually up to 5 zones with zone 5 being the wild lands or wilderness interface (for those of us in the city this might be where the opossums, skunks, racoons, and wild birds hang out).
Zone 0 is one of those "unofficial" zones. Not everyone recognizes it (seems to be that those who don't are often exactly the kind of people who ought to pay more attention to how they are being in the world!). It makes good clean sense to me. Zone zero is the space between your ears. It's where everything originates and marinates and the place where actions are birthed.
Zone zero was the realm of the intention setting workshop.

There were many gems of wisdom that the Eden taught. One pearl was "the quality of your life is determined by where you focus your attention". Clear! Simple! Perfect!
Another gem (based on the previous statement) was to find room for acknowledgement in your life. If you don't stop and acknowledge your accomplishments and are always aware of how much of your to-do list is unfinished you, like me, are stuck in an unfulfillment loop. Sucks. I know it well. When you take stock of all that you've done - from the big things like finishing projects to small things like smiling at a stranger or listening to a loved one - you begin to recognize that you are a contribution. A completely new world view emerges! Sweet relief!

We considered both our accomplishments and our disappointments of the previous year. We played at articulating a fundamental limiting paradigm that keeps us from playing big. Finally we crafted a statement/intention/new story to remind us of how capable and wonderful we are. For me it is "I have everything I need right now". This might not seem like such a bit of blinding wisdom to you but to me it feels true, calms me down, and reminds me of how resourceful I am. Just what I need when I'm feeling like I can't do it and am overwhelmed.

Honestly, I got a call from the bank today letting me know that I was $300 overdrawn. I immediately felt sick. I wanted to cry and hide. I don't get paid until 2/1 and it's only 1/10! How could this have happened? How stupid must I be to allow this? etc. etc. etc. and then I remembered, "I have everything I need right now". and I took stock. I had just finished a delicious lunch prepared by my amazing beau. I was in my classroom where I get to be queen of the realm and share things I'm passionate about with young people who often "get it" and thank me for years, I was going to go run after work (I'm fit and healthy) and then come home to my lovely (if a little messy) home that I own full of furry cute creatures that melt my heart. Life is pretty good. All my needs and more are met. Later this evening an dear old friend discovered that she had an extra $300 that she could gift me. My normal tendency would have been to fend off the offer and feel bad for "needing" it. Instead I welcomed it and thanked her and offered to do an alchemy reading for her and she was delighted. In this way I get some financial help that I need, she gets to help out a friend who she loves (lucky me!), I get to practice my alchemy consulting, and we both get to feel closer.

So, for those of you crafting or curious about urban homesteading - there are a million and one tips out there, thousands of books, amazing blog posts, great online and real life communities. There are no shortage of practical resources in this area. and I implore you to also address your own zone zero. Who are you being for yourself and others as you take this on? Are you creating a recipe for burnout? Are you adding in fun and play to the game? What are your limiting paradigms? What have you accomplished this past year? What simple phrase will remind you all this year that life is precious and that you are exactly where you need to be?
I hope we all have an amazing paradigm shattering beautiful community rich resourceful new year. Blessings and bounty for all!

** Also Eden was one of the speakers at the West Coast Womens Permaculture Gathering and a garden and permaculture teacher herself so it's all cool :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Whoa! What Happened to 2011!

Just wanted to do an update and confess that I feel guilty about not having been a better blogger. Perhaps this new year will be a fresh start for my blog as well as the calendar!
2011 was a crazy full year (hence the un-updated blog). By way of explanation and giving myself a virtual pat on the back here are some highlights:
April/May - the Southern California Permaculture Convergence was a wild and woolly success! I organized all the speakers and workshops. I don't recommend that task be done by one person for future gatherings! It made me into a real hag (sorry if you had to deal with me :)
and it all seemed worth it at the event. We had around 275 attendees, 3 days packed with information, action, and inspiration, and some of my favorite permaculture heroes for up and down the coast. There used to be great stuff online on the website. Seems like now it's more about upcoming events instead of history. Probably a good thing. Here's the site for more info:

May also brought the West Coast Womens' Permaculture Gathering. I was one of four key organizers for this event and managed the registration and website among other things. This was another heart warming belly laughing host of amazing permaculture people. IT was especially sweet to be in the company of women in this movement and Starhawk and the other presenters really created something beautiful. This was the second event of this time I've helped create and I can't wait for the next one! Here's more info (historical)

and while all this crazy busy excitement was happening another crazy exciting thing was happening. I fell in love! and it stuck! This has had an enormous impact on my productivity. and I wouldn't change a thing (except if someone offered to pay me for doing permaculture and blogging:) I am still stupidly happy and oogly loving my man. I still feel okay being the "single girl" homesteader 'cause I'm not married yet and my beloved isn't much of a homesteader. He loves the garden, is totally cool with the rabbits who live under the bed (bless him!) and really supportive of my homesteading tendencies and I am really happy. It's pretty amazing to finally have a sense of partnership and what is possible with that.

He inspired me to submit an abstract for a talk at the upcoming Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness conference this February about how plearning ermaculture/natural systems can be transformative. I'm really excited!

Also upcoming are a curriculum package for Common Vision about soil and compost, a community emergency response training permaculture style with Rachel Kaplan, and a soil foodweb workshop with Doug Weatherbee! Stay tuned!

I hope your own year is full of exciting stuff that gets you out in the world and still leaves some time for sitting on a garden bench appreciating all the beauty in the world.