SO I turn 40 this year, my gray hair is taking over, the creases in my forehead have grown steadily deeper and my little girl has grown up. She turns 18 this year and graduates, and leaves home for her first foray into the great wide open. This transition though always requires photos to mark the moment in memory.
So a very talented and accommodating friend took her out to do senior pictures last week and one in particular caught my attention. I'm sure you immediately are aware of the most obvious reason, the yellow line is very telling….
The more i looked at this picture, though, the more it said to me- in the way of life lessons and being aware of the moment we are in now. So often we look for a map when we are smack dab in the road of life unaware of just how inappropriate our stopping point is. Looking at this picture it occurred to me just how dangerous it is to stop midstream to consult the map. You really do need to disengage, and pull over to the side of the road to evaluate where you are. How often do we disengage from what we're doing to just think about where we're going? I'm usually in the middle of multitasking when I'm attempting to decide the direction I'm going in life. How can we expect to make good decisions whilst dodging traffic in our head?
The irony is that she is holding a map of NY state, exactly where she isn't. Our roadmaps to life are mostly made up of past experience. Those aren't always accurate maps of where we are now-but we use them anyway; for lack of a better map. When we multitask our way through life we are less capable of discerning the appropriateness of the map we currently hold. We are more likely to repeat mistakes, over and over….
Funny how a scary senior picture can illuminate our senior moments….
For me community used to mean the people in the town or county in which i live, but now the definition has changed from that of a place (noun), to include its action as a verb. I am working at community instead of occupying space in one. I am reaching out into the space that i occupy and am actively creating community. The difference has been illuminating to say the least. When i hear of someone in my community that needs help- i immediately think of ways i can help and act on those ideas. If i am the one in need i put that need out to the community. It seems simple right? It has taken me a while though to understand that true sustainability and resiliency comes from the support of those with similar goals that create a diverse guild of people. (If you aren't familiar with the permaculture use of the word guild: a group of plants, trees, insects, animals that when brought together, work as a self supporting unit. Just reword it to include a diverse group of people working together to support one another in community.)
Those of us trying to be self sufficient think that means "without anyone else's help". That, my friends, is close to impossible and takes so much work that we often end up feeling overwhelmed, tired and alone. The word permaculture has changed the way i see the world and what living in that world looks like. Its a philosophy of living that goes beyond gardening, it points to the observation of natural systems and how those systems can be mimicked to change the way we do things for the betterment of all. Nothing in nature stands alone, and if we all understand that and live it- How much better off would we all be?
Faith has become the word of the year for me. For most this brings up religious faith, a faith in God, the bible or something that resembles the meaning those things represent. I have investigated various faiths, delved into some so deeply that I considered converting. In fact every faith i immersed myself in had some facet that I felt right and true more so than the Christianity I was brought up in. I also found that as I emerged from every period of immersion I had gained a greater understanding of Christianity, a deeper more profound meaning in the words I had heard (or misunderstood) as a youth. Faith is one of those things. Faith and how it leads to grace. I found as well a deeper understanding of God, and why many religions avoid using a name for "God". The vastness of this world, it's chaos and it's intricate order, lead me to believe we have oversimplified God and as a result have lost the ability to know grace by way of true and complete faith. When the chaos descends on our lives we pray for it to stop or manifest in some other way- As we have been taught. Maybe we become more fastidious in our following of the word or resolve to be better people with the motivation that things will get better. I have found this way of thinking brings us away from the inner peace that comes with a gentle acceptance of the momentary chaos, that peace that comes with faith. I feel that we must have goals and excercise our own free will, but in the same breath I would say that the trials we face are a result of the course corrections made to accommodate the domino like interconnectednes that being a part of this world entails. So I have redefined the importance of faith in my life, and as a result I have found the grace of a life less full of worry and woe. This from someone who claims no one particular "faith" over another, and whose church could be found anywhere, with anyone.
I thought that the heart being solely responsible for pumping blood through the body was, well, a fact. While reading The Secret Teachings of Plants I came to the chapters on the function of the heart, even went back and read the papers he read to write the book and was amazed! The explanations he gives on how the heart functions and interacts with all of the organs of the body and how it is hardwired to the brain blew my mind. Specifically how its hardwired to the parts of the brain concerned with "emotional memories and processing; sensory experience; memory, spatial relationships, the extraction of meaning from sensory inputs from the environment; and problem solving, reasoning, and learning." And that the heart is one of our sensory organs, just like the nose smells, the eyes see, the skin touches, The Heart FEELS. Our emotions are a mirror of the environment both inside and outside of us. Is your liver having a bad day? That may show up as feelings of anger. Got a sluggish gall bladder? Feelings of melancholy may trash your sunny day. Amazing, just amazing. I never imagined the amazing trip I was in for by picking up this book, I encourage everyone to read it! If you are interested its on my amazon store, get it!
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Maine, Eva's passion for living self sustainably began with Helen and Scott Nearing. Both were homesteaders who carved their lives from the land. Eva now lives in Eastern West Virginia, with her husband Dain and daughter Shayna, carving out her own life.