Habit: Bedtime routine

Living in community, we can help each other develop good habits-including a good bedtime routine. 

I’ve heard that having a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our health. This article has a lot of great tips. We who are a part of the community can talk about how we can encourage each other in these practices. I am going to start experimenting now. 

Creating habits and practices for bedtime routine: 

Remember–the first 10 days of a habit is the hardest time. So perservere!

Second 10 days–starts getting easier

Third 10 days–you actually enjoying the habit and it can become life long!

  1. Keep electronics out of your bedroom. 
  2. Set an alarm to remind you of bedtime routine. 
  3. Make a 1-hour wind down into a habit: 

20 minutes–journal to silence anxious thoughts from the day. Also, plan the next day so you will be motivated to get up at the right time. 

20 minutes: Warm shower, gentle yoga, other relaxing things

20 minutes–meditate or read something that is relaxing

  1. Drink banana tea.  Here is the recipe for banana tea.
  2. Make a bedtime routine for family or community. 
  3. Warm your toes. If you have cold feet, try wearing socks or putting a hot water bottle near your feet under the covers. 
  4. Time your workouts carefully. You can do gentle stretches to help relax your mind and body. But no intense workouts 3 hours before and leading up to sleeping. 
  5. No pets in bed.

11.No alcohol  Those with sleep apnea should be aware that alcohol worsens the condition.

  1. Practice meditation. Morning and evening. This will relieve stress, and thus make it easier to sleep well because your mind is not racing.

 

Permaculture Resources

  

Note: Some are not vegan permaculture sites because this is a fairly new offshoot of permaculture, but you can use most of the same principles.

Veganic Agriculture Network

The Veganic Agriculture Network is a new movement in North America to promote the production of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and cereals without the use of artificial substances nor the use of animal products. We promote sustainable, low-impact, plant-based farming and gardening.

Vegan Organic Network

Founded in 1996, the Vegan Organic Network, VON, is an ambitious UK registered charity with an international network of active supporters. Our aims are to research and promote vegan organic (also known as stockfree organic) methods of agriculture and horticulture throughout the world so that green, clean and cruelty-free food becomes widely available.

Vegan Permaculture Article

An article about vegan permaculture from the United Kingdom

Info About The Vegan Book of Permaculture

https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/veganism-and-permaculture

 Plants for a Future Database

7000+ Plant Pages

 Permaculture Action Network

The Permaculture Action Network bridges permaculture and community action with music, land, and culture.

 

 

How my spiritual life and vegan values intersect: Part 2

I had some more memories after I wrote the first post. If I duplicate some experiences, please forgive me.

I think that when I feel closer to nature, I feel more connected to Creator. Since I perceive Creator as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I feel more connected to Jesus as well.

When I am more kind to even insects and plants, I feel as if I am in alignment with the laws of nature. I am feeling a sense of safety, that it is easier for angels, Jesus, and other unseen beings to protect me.

I remember the story of how a cobra, which is one of the most poisonous snakes on the planet, came up to Gandhi and didn’t hurt him. Was it because Gandhi had such a commitment to nonviolence?

There are many stories of Christian saints who were either protected by animals, or who wild animals did not hurt. St. Francis felt very connected to animals and he was never hurt by any animal. I long to be like that. I still feel a little bit of fear around dogs because I have been snapped at by a friend’s dog–and the dog even broke my skin a little bit. Yet I want to be in a state of feeling at one with the animals. And that they know I am not going to hurt them.

I want to complete a course that I have purchased which teaches me how to communicate with animals. The teacher talked about how sharpening our intuition and learning how to communicate without words is really important. This is a very important part of spiritual life, so doing this will help me connect with the unseen world. Animals have a lot to teach us about the fruits of the spirit–about how to love–and I want to learn from them as well as help them on their journey.

I think that being vegan helps me with all of the above. I become more attuned to the value of all of life. As I become more sensitive to wanting to contribute to the well being of worms and wasps and spiders and fruit flies and cockroaches–I get a lot of practice in my heart–so I can have that same desire for people.

Consciousness is such an important part of spirituality–so my vegan life keeps pushing me to be more conscious. Veganism ultimately means that we learn to do no harm, and only contribute to life. Every moment offers an opportunity to contribute to life–with my thoughts, with how I gently take an insect outside, with saying hello to the spider that is making a beautiful web, with connecting to the plants I am nurturing. And so much more.

Being vegan has been such a gift. When I was vegetarian, I still was hardened to the fact that dairy and egg production hurt the animals. And, I allowed there to be the exploitation of a goat, rabbits, and chickens in my presence because I didn’t have a clear enough boundary. Sadly, I even agreed to have a healthy dog put down because he was such a nuisance. I feel so sad when I think about how much I allowed in my environment because I hadn’t come to the point of learning about anti-speciesism. Having clear boundaries makes me stronger in my standing up for my values–all of which contribute to my spiritual well being.

A Is write this, I look outside at the comfrey. I wonder if they have a special spirit helping them grow and thrive. I see the polk plant with its purple berries. I would have cut it down because it looked like it was getting eaten. I don’t cut it now–if it is being eaten, that means the plant is nurturing someone! I don’t have to have every thing look prim and proper.  I see al the trees on the hill. Trees are so healing. Just looking at them is supposed to increase positive feelings within us–I know that I feel that.

So I conclude with the idea that being a vegan means aspiring to oneness with all life–to feel my connection to all life–to rise above my ego and self-centeredness. The more I study Jesus teachings–the ones that are the clearest–the more I see that he is the example of the vegan I want to be. I believe he was a vegan–there is so much historical proof. The more I talk to him, listen to him, receive his healing energy–the more I feel hopeful that some day I will be in a space where I won’t hurt a fly–or a flea, or microbe, or any living being–that is why vegan permaculture is so important–because the idea is to create good soil that we don’t have to disturb, and we just keep nurturing the soil and plants so they can thrive. Eventually–no digging, no mattocking, no forking–just being in tune with the best way to help the plants thrive without hurting anyone else.

Thanks for reading this. I would love to hear your comments.

Resource Associates

Resource Associates are people who are supportive of the Livable Future Project but who can not at this time make commitments to attend regular meetings. We can call upon these people for advice for specific projects, and receive feedback whenever they see things that they want to give input on. Plus, they are simply our friends! 

Amrit Carolyn Knaus

We are very blessed to have Amrit Carolyn Knaus as our first Resource Associate.  In addition to being a friend (for over 25 years) to the two co-founders of VUE, she has a long list of experiences and qualifications and talents that can help us immensely.

Interests in helping:

Organizational forms or structures within the community

Forms and structures in the interfacing of the comunity with those who are on some level of involvement or simpy in Northwest Arkansas at large

Psychology of challenges of individual members within themselves

Relationship challenges within the community

Creating guidelines and alternative forms within the community that lessens the challenges between individuals

Cultivation and preservation in forest and gardens of native wildflowers and native plant species (particularly needed before construction of buildings or paths) to adi native ozarks plants and wildflowers and native to survive and thrive.

Developing peaceful, respectful, loving community of various spiritual expressions, spiritual paths,/or various faiths

Development with community members of Prayer and Spiritual Services/Circles, drawing from the various spiritual expressions and/or various paths or faiths of the members and associates of the ecovillage

 

 

Former Staff Members

Previous Onsite Staff

A generous donor paid the wages of all of our employees for a limited time. Everyone who helped us did a great job!

Robert Kersbergen: Operations Manager 

Robert has 43 years of construction experience and has the ability to handle all kinds of projects. He is passionate about alternative energy and green building and wants to teach others. One of his projects is a makers space where work exchange workers will be able to tinker, create, and invent. Robert enjoys cooking, fixing problems, nurturing his cat, and studying the scriptures. He is still available for consulting on our projects. 

 

Chris Mikkelson: Communication & Technology Consultant 

“Hi, I’m Chris, I enjoy hiking, swimming, playing volleyball, and kayaking. I am also excited about all things media.  I love working on this project because it allows me to get the best of both worlds.

I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Masters degree in mass communication, and after working as a public speaking instructor I was invited to work for Jesus Vegans. My role on JV is to coordinate and set up their website, social media, organize online communication, and do random grunt work that needs to done (chainsawing, carpentry, etc.).

I am passionate about my walk with Jesus. I believe he is the Son of God and that having a personal relationship with Him is the only way to have lasting peace. Although not a Vegan, I believe it is very important to take care of God’s creation, including treating animals with the respect and dignity they deserve.”  

 

Chase Jones: Permaculture Consultant & Videographer

“Hi, I’m Chase, I practice permaculture design and videography. I also enjoy oil painting, climbing, and travel. I love learning about new things and applying new knowledge to goals and projects. Working for the Jesus Vegans Project has allowed me to engage in that practice.

I have been studying permaculture design for about 2 years and studying videography for about 9. My hope is to sustain myself by combining these two practices into a career. Through this type of work, I will be able to create a sustainable lifestyle and educate and empower others to do the same.

Permaculture is so powerful because it can help solve so many problems we face including feeding people, managing energy and using resources responsibly. Videography is so powerful because it helps get these ideas and solutions to people around the world.”

 To find more about me, click here.

Täs Zinck: Permaculture Educator and Synergistic Landscape Designer

“Hi, my name is Täs Zinck, I’ve grown up with a passion for plants. I pursued horticulture as a personal study in high school, but my experience gardening goes back as far as I can remember. My father is a solar technician and energy efficient builder, so my exposure to the concepts and ethics of sustainability came naturally. When I discovered permaculture I knew I had found a way to make my passion my trade. I pursued self-study and took any workshops and classes on sustainability skills I could.

I studied Ozark herbalism, built with various forms of alternative construction such as super-adobe and practiced designing and building garden all over Arkansas, including work through a non-profit I co-founded LEAFF, that promotes permaculture in NWA. Before ever getting my Permaculture Design certification I had a decade of experience, which I feel more than makes up for my young age in the field. I’ve taught workshops, led volunteers, and helped design and manage different orchards and food forest systems.

As a long time proponent of environmentalism and animal rights when I learned of Jesus Vegans mission to spread creation care and compassion to the Northwest Arkansas Christian communities and beyond I was a huge supporter. Having just co-founded a startup sustainable design and strategy consulting firm, Biodesic Strategies, with my permaculture partner Chase Jones JV was an ideal first client. The partnership we’ve formed has been incredibly mutually beneficial. Helping Jesus Vegans reach their visions is, in turn, helping Chase and I achieve our own.”

Brian Leffert: Master Carpenter.  Brian worked hard on our building projects including making tent platforms and completing the outside of the common house with Robert’s supervision. His skills were so welcome! 

……………….. 

 

 

 

How my spiritual life and vegan values intersect: Part 1

Someone asked me about my spiritual life and how that connects with my vegan life style. I see them as very closely connected.

When I first became a vegetarian when I was around 17, I was not spiritual at all. In fact, my philosophy about life was, “If it feels good, do it.” That was a strange time for me to wake up to the fact that animals do not deserve to suffer so we can eat them. I didn’t realize that eggs and dairy caused more suffering to the animals than did the animals who were raised for meat. I became a vegan within a year after waking up–about 5 years ago.

I had lost a lot of my connection with why I was a vegetarian. I had even tried eating some chicken to see what it was like–when I was around 30, and when I was 40, I ate some fish that my now former husband had caught. I ate fish 19 years ago when people gave us some freshly caught fish. Wow. That is the power of culture–that I could compromise my values thinking that since the fish didn’t have to suffer very long–it was okay that they were killed. And I can’t remember why I ate the chicken so long ago–but I definitely was not connecting with the pain of the animal that had been killed.

When I became a follower of Jesus 17 years ago, I was around Christians who were definitely not vegan or vegetarian. I attended weekly potlucks, and happily refused to eat anything with meat–and was fine with people knowing I was a vegetarian. I was happy to come across the Hallelujah Diet very soon after becoming a Christian. George Malkmus, a former preacher who realized that just praying over people was not working, became a passionate proponent of a mostly raw, vegan diet when he reversed a serious healthy condition by going raw.

Even though he emphasized that the Biblical diet was the way God intended for us to eat, there was not a focus on ethical reasons. Here is the scripture which is quoted on their website at http://www.mhdiet.com

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Genesis 1:29

Soon after becoming a vegan, I started researching and coming across Christians who were vegan. I was very fortunate to find Shepherding All God’s Creatures website and Facebook group. I quickly learned that there were a growing number of Christians who were realizing that hurting animals in any way was not in alignment with the Biblical teachings of the old and New Testament.

Kathy Dunn, the founder of the group, told me about an Christian Animal Welfare conference that was happening in London, England. I was shocked and overjoyed when a friend wanted to pay for my trip! SARX, an amazing animal welfare organization in England, produced the one day event. Even though only one of the speakers was actually vegan, I felt so inspired that influential, “high-ranking” leaders who were Catholics and Protestants, were willing to talk about the importance of treating all of God’s creatures with respect, compassion and love.

I learned about CreatureKind, from the co-founder, David Clough, who was the only vegan who was a guest speaker. I was especially touched by his presentation because I felt his deep commitment to help churches learn about the importance of having compassion towards animals through a study course he had designed.

These experiences catapulted me into learning that more and more Christians were embracing a vegan lifestyle. Charles Camosy, and Sarah Withrow-King (author of Vegangelical) were authors who really inspired me.

I ran across people who were a bit more on the fringe of Christianity–in that they believed that there are scriptures not included in the Bible which specifically teach that Jesus was a vegan. This article has a ton of facts which I think make a lot of sense from my studies of the Bible, Christian apologetics, and history.

I think that when I became vegan, I became increasingly committed to really practice an ethical life–and thus, a more spiritually connected life. I feel very disconnected from most Christians, and do not attend church, because of how drastically different my interpretation of the Bible is about diet and how to treat animals. The meals which are often potlucks, or food served to homeless folks–have an abundance of meat, dairy and eggs. Barbecues are very popular with church-going folks.

Sadly, even churches that are more open-minded and socially conscious like Unitarian, Unity, some Episcopalian churches, and Disciples of Christ–advocate meat eating.

Now that I am eating mostly raw vegan diet, and connecting with nature in a more intimate way–I feel closer to Jesus and Creator than ever before. Lately I have been deeply affected by Jesus words,

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto [a]the measure of his life? 28 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

I just love this because I am understanding Jesus to say that we are supposed to be more like non-human animals. Maybe he is even saying to go naked! And be breatharians. But definitely he is telling us that we are part of nature, and I think that seeking the Father’s kingdom means to find out what are the values that we need to be following that will enrich all of life. How shall we live so that all of life can thrive?

I am seeking the answer to this question as I define my values, philosophies and practices here. 

Although my vegan lifestyle has been connected to my spiritual connection with Jesus, I was around so many people in the animal rights movement who were atheists and agnostics. Even the people who considered themselves spiritual–ended up being some of the worst ones to betray me–along with the many others who rejected me in Direct Action Everywhere. You can read more here. 

I even gave up my faith for 6 months because I thought animal rights activists were more inspiring than the Christians I was being criticized by–even vegan Christians–because of how I interpreted the Bible. One of the biggest things I was criticized for was that I didn’t believe in eternal conscious torment–otherwise known as hell! But when I realized that animal rights activists had similar flaws as Christians–and that I wanted to work within Christianity to help people wake up to what I thought was a more accurate interpretation of the Bible–including, of course–veganism–I decided to call myself Christian again.

I did decide that the community I am starting will accept people of all faiths. I am very comfortable with focusing on Christianity and my relationship with Jesus and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Previously, I had named the community Jesus Vegans–and I thought the name would be a good conversation-opener with non-Christian vegans. And I was able to talk to a lot of people who might not otherwise have been open to learning that an increasing number of Christians are vegans, and more open-minded. But my main purpose now is to help spiritual vegans who share the values which I think will help all of life to thrive–live in healthy community where they can deepen their spiritual walk.

By harnessing our spiritual power–our connection with Creator–I believe we will be mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically  more able to spread the message of veganism. We will be in a better position to cooperate with all the people who are promoting veganism and figure out how to help the whole world happily and willingly go vegan in our lifetime.

Matthew 1:37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Lets work together with God–and co-create a vegan world where all of life can thrive. Will you join me?

I had some more thoughts about my spiritual life and veganism–read here. 

My history with the value: Rewilding

My history:

I was very fortunate to have parents who liked to go tent camping, sometimes a month at a time. My dad, who was in the Navy, would get a month long vacation and my parents and 3 siblings would take the entire time and travel around the United States. Visiting National Parks, relatives, friends, historical places, staying in a motel was a rarity. Staying with relatives, who often lived in lovely places in small towns or in the country, was part of the adventure.

When we lived in Indiana from when I was 8-11 years old, we seemed to camp very often. I loved sleeping outside on a cot, under the stars. I was glad my parents felt safe. I just felt confined in the tent. I loved looking up at the stars. My parents said that when I was around a year old, a raccoon got in my play pen and took my bottle. I was told that this didn’t phase me a bit, and when they saw what happened they were shocked. I am not sure how they got the raccoon out, and when I think about this happening it seems impossible.

I have a picture of me taking a picture of little chipmunks. They weren’t afraid of me!

I was blessed to also have so much freedom to be outside in all kinds of weather. Most of my growing up life was spent in Southern California, where playing outside with kids in the neighborhood was very safe. I loved our acre or so backyard in Indiana, where we had a narrow strip of forest that divided our yard from the next door neighbor.

I was enthralled by that little forest space, and my siblings and I would play pioneer, making beds out of pine needles and building shelters out of natural materials.  Sledding in the winter at McCollough park, making snow men, and ice skating on the lake were a blast.

We would often “go to the snow” when I was a child. Where we lived, in San Diego, was only 90 minutes or so away from the mountains where in the winter it snowed. I loved it! My dad would take me fishing, and I loved getting up early, seeing the sun come up as we drove. although I know now that fishing is a cruel sport, it was a lovely way to spend time alone with my dad.

Going grunion hunting at midnight was a thrill. I only wish we would have gone to the beach just for the fun of being there late. The poor little fish were so abundant at certain times of the year that we could scoop the little guys up and take them home for some meals. I think the thrill for me was being outside at night, at the beach.

Of course swimming at the beach and eventually taking up surfing, was a way of getting close to nature. I was never good at surfing, but I liked getting up really early to catch the best waves. Having a wet suit kept me from feeling the cold too much, but there was a certain amount of discomfort that I felt good about enduring.

I think Jr. High, and High School were in many ways my hardest time in my life. Part of that was the peer pressure to be someone who I was not. The other was that I didn’t have the outdoor life I had been used to. All of my life until I was in the 7th grade, we had a nice yard. Not to have a yard was unthinkable. One of our nicest yards was at house where my bedroom opened out on to a bricked patio where I would play games like hospital with my friends. It was easy to be outside when things were so pleasant with all the fruit trees, grass and flowers.

In 7th grade we were displaced by the 805 freeway, and we moved to what I thought was a dream house. A pool took up the whole front yard, and there were 5 bedrooms–enough for a bedroom for each of us kids! Yet in so many ways I was miserable in that house. Although a pool was nice, there was only so much that could be done. And no more walking barefoot as I was used to–on the grass and outside.

In college I took up backpacking and loved it.  It was the best thing I could have done. I loved outdoor volleyball, too, which I think was great because I was outside barefoot, running around on the sand. I enjoyed riding my bike, jogging, playing tennis and surfing. My college years were hard in many ways also–yet I wonder if it would have been even more difficult had I not been outside so much.

Backpacking was such a natural thing for me to do. Camping in parks had become too tame for me. Going out into the wilderness far away from electricity and other distractions was always a treat. I had the good fortune to have two good friends, Sue and Susy, who loved to go backpacking–because I was not a solo backpacker by any means.

Wow. I could write hours about how I have always been attracted to the outdoors, and especially the wild. Just writing about my first 19 years gives me a lot of gratitude. I will highlight the remaining years:

One of the things I was drawn to when I travel at age 19 for 13 months, was to walk long distances and go to wild places. the wildest place I went was Swat Valley, Pakistan which was a place, I was told, that was dangerous for a white woman to travel alone. I was warned to never go into the forest because I could easily be raped. Even with that threat, I did venture into the forest because it was too tempting and beautiful. I almost did get raped but was saved miraculously. that is how badly I wanted to go into the wild!

I yearned to go “trekking” in Nepal and see the Himalayan peaks. But because there was a ban on all back-packing carrying hippies, I could not get a visa. I was SO disappointed.

I spent a week or so in a bird sanctuary. I was extremely lonely, yet it was so beautiful. The beautiful lakes of Bandiamir in the Bamyan province of Afhanistan were thrilling to me.

Although I never went backpacking in my travels, going into the wilderness, I still had many opportunities to see the natural beauty of the areas, which in those days were much less touristy.

When I returned to the USA with culture shock, I was immediately drawn to find the Garden of Eden, an organic garden which a feisty old raw food vegan, Quincy John Workman, had established as part of the Free University. I hadn’t been able to find it when I attended SDSU, but I felt compelled to find a place where I could be outdoors close to nature. That is where I met Cliff–now my former husband and present dear friend. I see now that this was the smartest thing I could do because being close to nature was so healing.

I was able to trade for rent living with a family in lovely Leucadia, at the end of a quiet culdesac. What a blessing! All I wanted to do was create a beautiful garden in the back yard, and walk to the beach. I would spend time at the garden of eden as well, riding my bike the 3 or 4 hours it took to get there. Most of my life was spent out doors.

When Cliff and I moved to Arkansas, we lived in a 16 x 8 foot trailer in the middle of 40 acres of forest. We got our water out of a well, and used candles or hurricane lanterns for light. We spent almost all our time outdoors–foraging for food, making gardens, helping the people who invited us to create one of the first organic farms in Arkansas. Bathing in the pond right up until it was freezing, and drying ourselves with our hands, was a form of adjusting to temperature that is now getting very popular.

We didn’t have any heat in our trailer, and we wanted to see if we could survive. Some friend insisted on putting a wood stove in our trailer, so we did have heat. But we spent many cold evenings bundled up and accepting that we would be just fine. And we were!
It may have been in Arkansas that we were introduce to sweat lodges, and I always loved sweat lodge ceremonies, the acknowledgement of nature, and the contrast between sweating and then jumping in a cold creek.

Returning to Calfornia after 3 years in Arkansas was a bit of a shock. Much more crowded, of course, but more exciting. Still, much time spent outdoors but not as much. I see that time as one of the hardest times in my life. Was it because I got disconnected from nature?

Raising my kids I was fortunate to have read “The Continuum Concept” before my first was born. I was 35. Jane Liedloff had stayed with a tribe of very peaceful indigenous people and wrote about her experiences and why she thought they were so cooperative. They were outside a lot, of course, and one thing that stood out to me was that the children were allowed to play with machetes and play around the pits where wild animals would be caught. Now that I think about it–I hope the animals were caught and released–I am not sure what was done with the animals.

But I admired how the kids were taught not to be afraid of the outdoor dangers, and so I let my kids take risks, climbing trees and rock walls and doing other things that many parents would be afraid of. I wanted to teach my kids to trust themselves and their instincts.

And of course having kids helped me be outside more because I read something that Tagore said that resonated with me. “Kids should be primarily outside until the age of 12. Since I was also drawn to unschooling, this made perfect sense.

We were fortunate to live in places where our kids could run around freely  outside for most of their lives.

When Cliff and I divorced, later I met Robert, my second former husband. We ended up getting to a point where we could no longer pay expensive rent in Leucadia plus our $500 a month van payment. So we live out of our van for a year. I love many parts of it, and this forced us to be outside a lot. I felt homeless at times because Robert needed to take the van to work, and I would be wandering around town with my two year old son Chris–yet maybe that forced outside time was a good thing in some ways.

When I was 7 months pregnant with Chris, I was in a very distraught state of mind for many reasons. I felt compelled to go back packing at Idylwild alone for the first time in my life.  I got my equipment together and drove to the trail head. Immediately, people started telling me there was a big snow storm coming and that I should turn back. I kept going, determined that I could handle it. Finally, after the 10th person or so gave me the message, I did turn back. But my desire to be outside in nature–in the wild–tells me that I intuitively knew this was what I needed for healing my broken heart. I did spend the night in a bed and breakfast and at least I was out in nature in a way in that setting.

Robert and I loved to go to a hot springs where we could take baths in natural hot springs–something I also did when I was in Afghanistan. One pool had a big pile of clay which we smeared on each other and let dry. I had been enamored by the book, Return to Nature by Adolph Just, and healing with clay was one of the most inspiring and useful things he taught me. I was alway drawn to the earth!

Eating fresh fruit from our fig and apricot trees in a yard Cliff and I had was one of the most uplifting things I could dream of doing. Even though it was a small yard, it was a calm paradise for me.

I’m going to fast forward to now. I love being outside more than ever, and when I can spend a whole day outside gardening and being with nature, I love it. I feel so close to the plants and ever little lizard, bug, animal, bird call, the vultures flying above. Once I saw an albino deer, which is supposed to be super rare. When I see animals I think they are messengers to me and I look them up to see what message they might want to impart to me.

I feel drawn to the rewinding concepts. there have been times in my life when I was convinced I was going to become an expert in wilderness living skills, and I have taken some classes. I have some Tom Brown books, and a few other books on the topic. I am contemplating living on the land without heat and off grid during the winter, and see how I do. Because I am really enjoying a raw food diet and the convenience of electricity and wanting to communicate still, I doubt if that will happen. But I do intend to be outside more this winter and not be afraid of the cold.

I sleep outside in a screened in tent under a deck so I don’t get wet if it rains. I love waking up with the sun and watching the sun rise. I love the fresh air as I always have while sleeping. When I read once that sleeping outside is super healthy, I knew it was something I wanted to do. Once I slept in my car when it was 23 degrees outside just to see if I could do it–and I survived! I was willing to try to live in my car in the winter, but I have too many good friends and I was able to trade my rent for living the convenient life in a house.

I am glad I found out that rewilding is a growing movement, and that in so many ways it is in alignment with how I have intuitively lived most of my life. Even when I lived in the city, I always had access to nature–except for the 5 years in National City when the front yard was mostly concrete and a pool.

oh, I forgot to mention how when my daughter was 6 months old, Robert and I were going to travel all around the country looking for community. We ended up in Bull Shoals area, and for various reasons ended up being there for 6 months. We cooked outside on the open fire, and were outside almost 90% of the time. Part of the time we lived on a lake, the other part was on a river. That was a wonderful beginning for my daughter–to be so close to nature.

Okay, I really am going to draw this to a close, and go out and say good night to the stars and get in my cozy bed outside.

……………….

I realized after writing this that this value, Rewilding, is actually the most significant of all the values. I have been intuitively following the principles in this value which I see as essentially following universal principles that are found in nature which a loving creator set forth for all to follow.

For example, although I was good in school, I hated it. I did not like the confinement which felt like a trap. I craved recess and PE time. I loved creative writing. I hated critical essays or writing papers. I loved my band/orchestra/singing classes. But sitting down, listening to lectures, and doing senseless tasks.

Yet because I was under the influence of society, I believed that the only way I would survive in the world was to go to college, get a degree and get a good job. My three siblings learned to operate in the world quite nicely. I never did.

Oh, I have always been able to keep a roof over my head and have in so many ways lived a good life. I even have some entrepreneurial skills that helped me to support my family when that was necessary.

But I didn’t get that degree because I got the message (from Creator, I believe), to leave the culture that was influencing me so heavily. I thought that simply traveling to Europe would do the trick, but the message came through my sister, loud and clear. Leave the civilized countries and go to wilder places. That is when I traveled down to Turkey, through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.

I remember my first experience of an outdoor market in Istanbul. compared to Europe–it was so wild and uncontrolled!

Just a few days ago I was reading about the people who Cliff and I helped over 44 years ago. We were the ones who did the grunt work of building fences, loading and unloading sawdust for the blue berry plants, and clearing out the black berry patch by hand so we could harvest blackberries. Nowadays, people who do such work usually get paid with room and food. All we got was a 16 x 8 foot trailer and a well with a bucket. We paid for our own food!

The owners of the farm are still working at farming, and extremely successful and respected for being the first organic farm in Arkansas–and just continuing to do that work. I felt jealous. What if Cliff and I could have stayed in one place and somehow gotten land and somehow developed some more security.

Then when I reviewed the rewinding information, I realized that staying in one place was just not in my nature.

But those were wild times, where working outside was its own reward. And hitchhiking with very little money, arriving in my home town with a dime to call my parents to come and get us. Wild living!

I remember when someone called me a “free spirit.” That was one of the biggest compliments I could receive.

Now that I actually own land legally, which does not mean I really own it–because no one can own land–I want to have a school where people can learn wilderness living skills, as well as all the other principles that go along with rewilding–without the hunting skills, of course.

I heard of a woman who lived for a year simply eating wild greens. Breatharianism is scientifically provable. I heard a ted talk by a woman who lived for 6 months foraging for food.  The potential for living close to nature is boundless. I am starting to dream big. I dream that we as a species can learn from all the lessons we have had about using nonviolence as a way of bringing peace, the lessons of veganism, the lessons of non-hierarchal governing systems and egalitarian living and the importance of thinking for ourselves instead of giving our power away and  so much more.

I theorize that there were peaceful civilizations who came before us. And peaceful, vegan tribes. But they were so innocent and trusting that they let people (like Cortez, or Columbus, or other explorers) take advantage of them. Nowadays, we need to be alert to the games that sociopaths and narcissists play. The powers that be would like to see us dumbed down and thinking that we need to be kind, vulnerable, and open with everyone.

Yet this is not a wise way. I learned the hard way with my experience with Direct Action Everywhere that giving my power away hurt myself and others. I became part of their process to bring people into the community. I wanted to write “lure people in” and I think I will do just that. I was like a bait–giving credibility to DxE because of my age, my Christian faith, and even my pro-life stance.

Without going into my deep disappointment with DxE (you can read more here http://www.isdxeacult.wordpress.com ) I actually feel a sense of relief that I learned this lesson the hard way. One of the reasons I am writing so much about the values that I hold dear is that I want people to get to know who I am, and grow to trust me. Of course I could be writing fiction and deceiving you completely–yet if you do feel drawn by my words, my posts on Facebook, all the links I have provided about past experiences–there is a good chance we can get a long 🙂

I am rambling, and I get back to the topic I was on. I want to have an experiment on this lovely 18 acres of land that I am so blessed to have stewardship over. To be able to experiment with implementing the values I have listed and see if we can create an example which others can emulate. I have not yet found a place that is even close to having the values I have listed, especially the rewilding principles. I am so glad I heard about rewilding a while back, and that there are an increasing number of people who are promoting this.

I used to dream that I would win the Nobel Peace Prize. When I was 21, I dreamed of running for president. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to “save the world”, and especially after I returned from my life-changing travels when I was 19.  At times I have been envious of people who were able to create large organizations or successful communities. Why couldn’t I do that? I joined DxE because I really thought they were going to be the organization that would transform society in the way I dreamed. I weep and I think about my lofty dreams, hopes and aspirations that I went to Berkeley with when I was going to dedicate a year of my life to serving DxE.

I thought I was going to have to sell this land because my second former husband, Robert, and I, could not figure out how to divide the land between us. We certainly could not co-exist with his dreams of building an aquaponics operation right next to the Common House that was already built. He felt inspired to give me the land, with a commitment that if I ever could pay him back, I would.

For the first time in my life, I have a resource that I have complete control over. Surprisingly, the day that Robert made the decision to turn over the land to me was the day I decided to go public with my concerns about DxE. Some people have thought I have suffered immensely because of my decision to speak out against DxE. And I have. Yet the gain of having freedom to pursue my dreams of community seemed to be my reward.

I want to close with the words of Jesus which are touching me more profoundly than ever before, and which I think are his message to all the world about how we truly can live in harmony with our “wild” nature.

This is from the sermon on the mount, which some people, including Ghandi, consider to be the essential teachings of Jesus. I think that he is teaching us that we can be breatharians at most, or we can learn to create the garden of eden once again–and live so lightly on this planet that we can truly restore the earth–instead of ravaging it.  This is what I long for.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto [a]the measure of his life? 28 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.: Mathew 6:25-33