Friday, December 30, 2011

Solstice Smiling

Check out the rest of our photo from December at Lumbini here !

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Seeking: Compatriots in Permaculture Bliss in Baja Sur, Mexico

photo: running water in the kitchen!

We are having such fun already, living at Lumbini Gardens in Baja Sur, Mexico.  My love told me yesterday he wants to be here forever, he is just so content.

We live right across the road from world-renowned seed-saving expert, Gabriel Howearth (heard of Seeds of Change seed company? Yeah - he founded that, and more).  We are blessed with the opportunity to learn from and work with/for him daily. Also to consult with him on what to plant where and when at Lumbini Gardens so that one day it, too, can be a wildly diverse and overflowingly abundant tropical jungle just like his at Buena Fortuna.

We play, fish, stroll, and relax at the nearby beach almost daily.  And star- and moon-gazing? A night doesn't feel complete without cozying up to the fire and languidly peering.  Ahhh.  Getting to know the wildlife in our midst is another thrill: coyote, fox, vulture, osprey, hare, and roadrunner are our neighbors - as well as los gallos who crow at first light all around La Ribera. :-)

Our only desire (now that the shower is working!)?  
Families of friends to live this dream with us day-to-day.

I have been advertising to groups of like-minded folks I know, and inviting practically anyone with a dirty, smiling child and kleen kanteen. ;-)  Now I've begun to really get specific with the Universe about our desires. That way it will be easier for her to find us a perfect fit!  I've created an ad of sorts and sent it to some large-audienced bloggers who share my ideals.  Here it is - does this sound like someone you know?  Does it sound like you?  Please do drop me a line. :-)

We have just moved from America to Baja Sur, Mexico, to a piece of land we are beginning to cultivate permaculturally.
The property is owned collectively, however we are the only folks of the group actually living here (mostly) full time, and the only ones with children. Our farm, called Lumbini Gardens, is a mile away from the ocean, in an area with very fertile soil and intense sunlight.  
We are seeking other families to join us.  I know there are folks wanting to do something like this; we just need to connect with them.
We particularly desire families with different-aged children - our daughter is three - who are interested in peace/joy-full-partnership-parenting and un/homeschooling.  And of course have an interest in living on the land and practicing permaculture.  Our diet is an omnivorous one which emphasizes real, nutrient dense foods with strong WAPF-paleo tendencies.  We love making
music and dancing, living slowly, playing at the beach and sitting by the fire under the stars.

With an open heart full of confidence in this process, and love -

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Hola from Baja!

firelight snuggling

We're here!
However, due to some confusing bureaucratic rigamarole and wonky work scheduling for Sealion, we will be heading back up to Oregon on the 22nd, and {{{{hopefully!!!}}}} returning here as early as the 5th of January. [AFTER we visit our best friends ARLENE and BRIAN, and NEW BABY due ANY DAY NOW!!!]
I am sitting with an ocean breeze in my hair and waves crashing just a minute's stroll away. So I'm going to make this short. I know that a few of you have probably been wondering, so I wanted to check in.
After several days traveling and running around doing errands, then close to 12 hours of sleep last night(!), our camp is now mostly set up. Just being in the open air, communing with the almost-full-moon for hours by the fire, squatting just anywhere to pee, sleeping and breathing in the uninhibited and cold nighttime desert air, and of course getting some of that intense sun, I am feeling recharged and rejuvenated already. I'm ready to get to work!


Saturday, December 03, 2011

Plastic is Forever: Awesome Video from Rethinking Plastics

Haven't done a public service announcement in a while.
Saw this video from the folks at Green Sangha and had to share.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Whispered by the Stars Through my Window: a poem

Just got back from a nice long trip to visit with family for Thanksgiving. We had the pleasure of staying at a cabin on a wooded lake in rural North Carolina ~ owned by Sealion's sister. This place is pure, sloooow, Nature-based therapy. We always feel renewed and refreshed there. My mind and heart were so relaxed there that I even channeled a poem:

sunrise through the kitchen window:photo by my mom

There is an essence in you that is wild.
That no hours of computer screen can penetrate.

The hair on your neck
Responds to the call of the owl.
And the deepest cells of your gut are
By the moon.
The stars still
Wash their seasonal secrets across your dreams.

So do not fear;
You cannot hide completely nor truly sever ties from your home. You were never even gone.

Surrender to the knowing
That your sweat longs to mingle with the sea.
Spread your sole bare on the earth and feel its healing. It surges with your pulse and reawakens your rhythm.
This is the deepest seduction and truest return.

Know it like the moon knows the moth.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratitude: In Autumn

Just a little inspired note. As I said in the last post, there has been plenty in our life to love lately. I wanted to share some of that here.

Two things about Autumn here in our new space that I have absolutely relished and felt utmost gratitude for:

Abundant, sweet delicious apples straight from the tree(s). Like all other produce, they are *worlds* more flavorful freshly picked!

Bird migration. I have seen this phenomenon before in my life, but here in this open country I have such a grand view. And I've been floored by the Miraculousness of it! Every flock I hear squeaking in the distance, I stop what I'm doing and try to get a bead on them. Awe-some.

Ooo! A bonus bit of gratitude! See, Self, this gratitude stuff can be catchy! ;-)
All the little wild birds that inhabit the grounds and trees close to our home. We have a huge, productive black walnut tree, as well as a (I think..!) Mulberry bush close to our window. Seeing all the bird activity these provide for is delightful. It lifts my spirit every time I see them.

Oh, gratitude. I'm grateful for ya.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Weathering the Dark (still)

On a morning when I don't really have time even to open the computer,
this blog post came to life.

Well, I do like to wrap things into tidy packages here and say, "gosh, that was hard, but things are all better!" But things are still hard. We're experiencing a lot of stress. You'd think that something we have so anticipated (such as moving to Mexico IN A MONTH) would be all roses (or at least I'd think that), but frankly it's a struggle. There are many beautiful and sweet and calm and loving moments in our days. And underlying that and .. clamping down on it, is a ... tightness. When I get to Baja, and the sun beats down, and I can dip my toe in the ocean, I will be shocked and astounded.

Last night we blew off some steam. I drank more wine than I usually do throughout the course of a whole evening (which is not very much) before we had even sat down at our table at the restaurant. And as soon as we took our seat, Anjali began what might be called our new ritual at this restaurant with chalkboard surface on the table and a little jar of multi-colored chalks. She colored very heavily a circle of purple, and then a circle of red, and then used the straw from her water to drip onto it and swirled her finger to make a paste. Then she reached over and applied it to my face as costume makeup. And while she was doing that on her side, Sealion did the same on his side, and applied it to her face. And before we knew it, we were "that family." With the colored chalk all over our face at a packed brewpub when it is no longer Halloween.

The first time this happened was last week, and Sealion started it. And I was embarrassed and looked for an excuse not to do it. Me ~ a woman who would rather wear costumes (or be naked) and have magical theatrical makeup on every day. Me ~ who considered the face painting that my daughter did at Burning Man to be no less than Sacred and wore it proudly the whole week. (I do believe what I do there to be a sacred ritual. Even, and maybe especially, the silly.) Me ~ who proclaims that Self-Expression and Art are of utmost importance in everyday life. I was embarrassed because I didn't want to draw attention to us and our un-normal-ness. And this caused me great pause. It caused me to question my values. So last night when she began smearing her chalk-pasted finger on my cheek before I even knew what was happening, I took it as an honor. And I drew some on Sealion's face. And he drew one of those silly puppet faces on his hand. And talked to the politely surprised college-age server with it.

Blowing off steam.

Even if I had to blush a little bit, you couldn't see it through the facepaint. And by the end of the evening, we were saying "Fuck it!" "Fuck all the expectations! Fuck how other people see us! Fuck it that there are packing boxes to trip over in the hallway and dirty dishes all over the kitchen!" (But we weren't saying this word so that our daughter could hear us because I have already been in the embarrassing situation where she repeated with great enunciation the curse word I pronounced at the check-out counter.... hmm. Not so good..) And it felt like quite a release.

We still managed to yell at each other just once this morning as we made our way through what needed to be done, but as Scott reminds so soothingly, "We are finding our way." "I know things are rough right now, but things have been rough before, and they felt better after a while."

We are finding our way. Blowing off steam.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Weathering the Dark

though this post feels vulnerable, i'm putting it out there. we are one, right.?

Recent change in location and situation, change of season, (a several-week lag in taking nutritional supplements, on my part...), and death in our midst, shook the emotional foundation of our little family a bit. Mexico seemed like a foggy figment, very far away. I felt the need to hunker down and weather the darkness like a mama hen, collecting my little one under my wings and holding real solid and still for a while. Unable to tell the story from the eye of the storm, we are just now emerging, our ruffled feathers beginning to smooth down to a semblance of calm.
Ever the researcher, I reached for study material that felt good like a soft warm blanket in the middle of the night. I found the book Simplicity Parenting which brings order and rhythm to modern-day frenetic chaos, and Jon Young's 8 Gifts from Nature online course which teaches personal fulfillment as well as cultural repair through Deep Nature Connection.
This email from Julie Charette Nunn also felt good. Though it didn't make sense and I couldn't begin to answer her questions in the moment, I grasped onto it and read it often, like a bright scrap of paper in a sweaty palm during an intense psychedelic journey.

The yellow, red, orange, brown and black leaves are falling to earth.

Giving way

What is giving way in you?

Who are you not?

What trappings must you absolutely let go of now to live your most precious life?

This Autumn time energy is a good time [for] practicing surrender.

This Autumn time energy is a good time for eliminating what doesn't work.

Creating space for what you don't know yet.

And expecting goodness to come from the mystery.

Seeing my little girl laughing and at ease again means the world. Feeling my neck and shoulders relax after being knotted for more than a month helps, too.

photo series: grape leaves in autumn

P.S. My question, though, is: how does one honor emotions without getting bogged down in them? At some point I wondered if my dark place had simply become a grumpy habit. It was then that I tried to implement my favorite Thich Nhat Hanh's practice of smiling. A mindful smile helps us to have humor and remember that "this too shall pass."
Here's what I looked like on one of those first days of pulling myself up out of the muck and shaking my feathers out.

Yikes! That's what a sense of humor's for, right? When you see photos of yourself where you were aiming for a smile and came up with a grimace.

Ah, Life......
Can't live with it, can't live without it! There's something irresistible-ish about it!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sending Love to Shrine

Candles for Shrine. A Shrine of Candles.

Death is simply the other side of life, one big circle. I know that beings all around the globe are affected by death every day. Lately the veil between death and life has felt extra-thin in my neck of the woods, or more accurately, in my heart-circle.
Furry and feathered creatures.
Beloved pet Sasha Dog.

Today Sealion's uncle ended his painful struggle with terminal cancer.
May he rest well.

Right now
I want to focus all the healing intentions and warm strength to a man who has greatly influenced me and many many others, the Great artist and Wise man, Shrine. He was in a car accident, and the veil was pulled taught. I bet he even got a glimpse on the other side. Those who passionately adore him believe there is still plenty of loving and beauty for him to create yet in this time around.
Be strong, Shrine! Heal fully. Feel and receive all the love vibrations that we're all sending your way.
Let it knit you up.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Gratitude: Ten Things

best buddies chomping ripe pears at the farmers' market.

Inspired (yet again) by that favorite blogger SouleMama, I thought it wholly appropriate to follow my grump session yesterday with a list of Ten Things I Love. I think hers was Simply Ten Good Things, but I'm saying, Ten Things I've Loved about Here So Far, since we just moved to Corvallis, and I haven't gotten to share with you much. Because, as real as the rain is, I have real-ly loved so many things I've discovered about our new homeplace.

~ wood burning stove
~ the stereo that came with our rental house, including a record player and a large, eclectic collection of vinyl ~ such as my right-now-favorite new-to-me classic Joan Baez in concert
~ biking away from the farm where we picked up our fresh goats' milk, after getting to meet and pet the goats!
~ fantastic farmers' markets (such a welcome homecoming!)
~ ten-plus variations of green that can be seen right outside my morning bedroom window
~ abundant backyard apple (and pear!) sauce!
~ best friends who live mere feet away
~ rose hips
~ grape stomping
~ extensive almost-daily country bicycle commuting

Photos do not necessarily match the ten things, but are of things I've loved nonetheless. ;-)

concords ripe for the stompin'.
hi, neighbor!
exotic (to me) locals at the farmers' market.
abundant, mindfully produced, staples.
stompin' feet! actually covered with blackberry juice! we did both ~ grapes and blackberries from the yard, and the nearby field. our neighbors/commune-mates are making a hefty winter brew with them both!
a couple of the many gems we've found in the record stacks: classic-classics! what a find! the little dancer approves.
more harvest time treats at the farmers' market.
can you see just how loaded this tree is with apples?! it is only a representative of the abundance we have at our disposal in the yard.
wild rose hips and more wild rose hips!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

In Autumn

DreamCatcher overlooking the first full day of rain in Corvallis
I'm not ready for Autumn yet. Not ready for Fall, either. I'm trying to buck up about it, but today I'm letting myself be a little blue about it. I was not done with Summer. Oftentimes I am, but I feel like my battery was about ... 1/3 full of sunshine and warmth ~ even after our August visit to hot hot Baja Sur, and then to the hot hot desert of Black Rock City. Just gettin' started here, folks. Still fillin' up ye olde Sunshine Batterie after what feels like several years' lack. I've read my blogger friends bucking up and being cheerful about all the coziness of Autumn and then Winter. I'll do that. But not today. Today I'm dragging my feet as Mommy Autumn insists it's time to sleep.

And Oregon is serious about this tucking-in-weather. I hear it starts and then doesn't let up till ... July or so. And it has started. I asked my Oregonian friend how to cope with the onslaught of Autumn. He replied, "This place is famous for espresso, strong beer, and weed. Coincidence?" I don't drink much beer (I think my body is better off without it. Red wine sits much better with me, but even then a half-a-glass'll do me). Smoking more than occasionally makes me feel hungover and foggy the next day. And my nerves can only stand so much espresso, love it even as much as I do (and may the goddesses bless my dear family when I've gone over that line..).

I am making the effort to get out for a walk down our lovely country road every morning no matter the weather, to start the day by embracing the elements that be. I'm trying to remember to ramp up my Cod liver oil intake (for vitamin D, etc.). I'm also experimenting with a tincture of St. John's Wort (or, St. Joan's Wort, as my favorite wise woman herbalist Susun Weed calls it). (I can tell I'm doing well on the coffee and cocoa front, as evidenced by my abundant use of parentheses!) I also treated myself to a pair of luxurious sheepskin-lined shoes made right here in Corvallis (I said it: right here in Corvallis. Corvallis, Oregon) by a sweet little company of minimalist shoe makers ~ they call themselves elves :-) ~ named Soft Star Shoes, whom I am proud to promote.
Yes, we will be moving to Mexico in December (I'll try not to rub that in to Winter-dwellers too much..), but right now ~ today, as I look out the window at the thick soup of gray clouds and feel the chill nip at my toes as they curl urgently into the sheepskin, December feels a long way away.

Do you love the cool and gray, or merely tolerate it? How do you embrace it? What do you do to cope? And: What is the recipe for a "Hot Toddy?"

by the way, I realize it's time for me to change my little Intro Blurb over there to the right! Exciting!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In Oregon

Just stepping out our door, here's what we saw on our first stroll down the lane. Oh, Regon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In Oregon

In Oregon fat
blackberries clutter every fencerow,

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Oh, Burning Man!

Ahh, Burning Man. After what seemed like so long away, this last week felt like a Home-Coming. I went to the desert to contact my heart and Black Rock City met me there. I gave myself fully to the playa and it returned the gift tenfold.
The theme being Rites of Passage, and the event not only sold out but in fact over-sold(!Oops!!), the energy of the population felt extra-energetic (if that is possible), full of gratitude, exuberant and intentional. The city was alive and full-blast before Monday even started, playa friendliness in the traffic in Tahoe.
Sealion and I, individually and collectively, experienced the most easy-going, laid-back, non-anxious or angsty Burn we've ever had. It was All Good. Having our super-stellar Burning Nanny, Ivy, there offering even more help than we wanted was a blessing. But then, so was having Anjali there. When she and I ventered out together I felt as if I were escorting the pope (haha!! Great pun, eh?) because of the blessings she bestowed on so many grateful folks. Having the relationship that we do, I still didn't stay out all night as I have in years past, but neither did I want to [zzzz!!]; She provided a welcome tether and snuggly haven from the frenetic nighttime drive to go go go! With full nights' sleep I was able to devote myself clearly and mindfully to the cool watercolor sunrise and daytime interactions that Feed me so much more nowadays than late-latenight dancing to music that really doesn't jiggle my wiggle for the most part.
I did some real work in the self-reflection department. I met issues head-on (and I hope to have the time to share more with you here soon). I explored and examined the rooms and spaces of my mind amd heart, scrubbed out some dusty cobwebs, found and swept clutter that is not serving me. That magic I lost? It was inside my heart all along. I just needed a good strong mirror to help me see it and re-member how to use it. I re-discovered (uncovered) sensuality and sexuality, desire and creativity. I let my heart crack open for the first time in a long while and let the love flow freely. All of this going on on the inside while connecting deeply with kindred spirits - good old friends and even a few new ones. Beauty. Expression. Sunrise and sunset. Crisp night air and penetrating sun. Freedom. Positive intentions and connecting vibes. Healing movement and energy. Art.
I went in deep for full immersion and the city fed me like an abundant mama's overflowing round breast.

Re-entry into the outside world has usually been hard for me. I Burned so bright and crashed so hard. But this year somehow feels different. I feel like instead of flying too high and then not knowing how to land, my toes just rooted deeper into the Earth to become even more solidly grounded. The wings that once carried me precariously have become strong and supple branches.

Just the pilgrimage I needed for changes at hand. Rite. Of Passage [yes, you may go]. I am grate-full.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Here We Go!

(imagine the title yelled with Jane's Addiction enthusiasm and inflection.)
(and after that, the soundtrack for this post is Ellen McIlwaine's "Wings of a Horse".)

Well, I have started so many attempts at writing this here. So many explanations and Grand Picture analogies, but they fall short. This is yet another piece of my life that I just can't effectively shake a word at to do it any justice. It just feels so epic to me and beyond the scope of logic and reason and what makes sense on the outside.
So I'll just say it:
Yes, we are moving to Mexico in December.

But before that, we're moving to Oregon. We're moving our American homebase to Corvallis, Oregon, where Sealion will have work, and where we will be living in a building just a few steps away from Gemini Cricket and family ~ La Señora Picante Honeybee, and La Señorita Pequeña Firefly. That's right; my ex-husband, and his wife ~ who happens to be the ex-girlfriend of my husband ~ and their kid. We're moving there the first week of September. And when we move down South for the winter, they'll be coming too.

And before all of that, we're all going to Burning Man.

Umm. In just a few minutes. :-)

All along as we've been planning this move to Mexico ~ way before the *exes* were even a part of the story, I have felt the need to appear as level-headed and solid as possible. No matter my beliefs to the contrary, I tend to spend an exorbitant amount of time imagining what other people think about me and what I do (and in the process trying not ever to offend anyone). To my inner judge, this Big Life Change just seems so off-the-charts un-usual, un-practical, and strange that I think I have attempted to overcompensate inside myself by projecting an Abbott persona to the Costello of a scheme we have going. An "I know it's Crazy, but I'm really not," kinda vibe. ;-)
Then my Inner Artist began to resurface. Drawing for the first time in decades, and shaking the dust (and oiling the rust!) out of my dancing hips. And before I knew what was happening, there was the slight hint of sage smoke on the air with a sprinkling of glitter: my Inner Artist wanted to go to Burning Man. The pragmatic tortoise that I had been channeling all this time fought this notion. She chastised, saying, "We can't go to Burning Man! That is just altogether Frivolous! We are trying to be Level-Headed and Practical! And on top of that, we just have way Too Much to Do before we move to Mexico!" My heart hurt and welled forth through my eyes. My Inner Artist would not let the idea go. I sat down with it and pondered. My heart took me back to my first year on the playa.
At the tail-end of a kaleidoscopic mind-and-heart-expanding journey, Sealion and I found ourselves in a corridor of colorful lights that danced in time with music that was blaring from all sides. The song: Seal's "Crazy." "Oh we're never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy." We jumped up and down dancing in exuberant acknowledgment. As I remembered this, it struck me, still resonating deep truth. Yes, moving to a big piece of dirt in the tropical desert of rural Mexico to grow foods following Nature's example, with nary a flush-toilet, or even walls and floors, building and making as much as we can from scratch and in such a manner that it will actually benefit instead of hinder the land and the surrounding community, is quite on the fringe of what is considered normal and "Sane" in Standard America today. We can analyze up one side and down the other the wisdom, folly, benefits and dysfunction that surround modern America and its influence on the world (and I bet you can guess my opinions on the matter without my having to go into a tirade about it..). But regardless of that and even whether we (deviants) realize it, deviating from the norm takes some energy. It takes an internal explosion or two. It takes a little bit of Crazy. And so it makes all the "sense" in the world that as I'm getting ready to make these leaps in personal space and boundaries, in levels of personal comfort, exertion, and interpersonal harmony and communication, that my Inner Artist ~ the one who connects the creative dots from heart to head to body ~ must re-connect with Source. Return to Center. Make the pilgrimage to Mecca and bow before the Goddess. Re-member with my whole being that I am She (the one I've been looking for).
Click the Reset button on what is Possible. And remember how to fly. My Inner Artist knows that to survive and indeed thrive in this Big New Life I would do well to let go of trying to seem Normal and Practical, and instead get a little Crazy.