Permaculture Project Maps

I’ve mentioned before I’m taking a permaculture design course and right now I’m working on the class project.

We have been asked to create an idea for a permaculture business, or organization (the details and what that looks like are up to us to decide).  The project has to reflect all these different aspects of permaculture, such as community, ethics and social impact, along with the physical stuff like site design, zones and sector mapping.

While the class project itself is based on design and not implementation the instructors do stress that it’s something that would serve as a really good starting point for doing your own real-life permaculture project in the future, which is great because that was my plan anyway!

I plan on starting an organic farm/greenhouse business.  The business will be modeled after permaculture ideas, and will help to show people in my area what permaculture looks like.   I plan on donating a percentage of all the produce and crops I raise to shelters, food pantries or just people and families in need.  My hope is that I can inspire other people in the community to do the same while at the same time helping people to start their own organic gardens and pursue their own permaculture ideas.

Before all that can happen, there’s a lot of work to be done.  I’ll need to have a  good design in place first.  To make a good design, I need to know what I’m working with, what things will be a benefit and what potential challenges might I face along the way?

propertymapTo help me answer some of those questions, I’ve created a few maps.  I’ve put them together in one image, much like a transparency.  I’m using Adobe Photoshop to create the maps so this allows me to play around with different layers, having a different “map” on each layer.

There’s a map of the property, it includes all the buildings, fences, trees, and permanent or semi-permanent structures.  Some of these structures I plan on moving around when I get to that stage, but first I need to know the rest of the details.

There’s a flow map(the gray lines) that shows the way the landscape flows, the high points and valleys.  It will help me to see where water might flow, what areas might get flooded, what might dry out, etc.

There’s a zone map (the curved red lines)which marks out the boundaries for stuff we might want close to the house, or further away.  Elements that require more attention will be closer to the house.  Elements that require less attention will be further from the house.

Finally there’s a sector map that lists different variables to consider when designing; like traffic, winter and summer sun, wildlife, wind, flood zones, neighboring farms and more.  I’ll use these maps when I start working on the future design and it will help me decide where I want to place different elements within the system.  While I don’t consider these maps to be complete just yet, they’re a good start, however there is still much work to be done.  You can be sure I’ll continue to share this project on here as it develops. 🙂

Druids and Permaculture

Something that draws me to permaculture is the way it evokes a very similar feeling to when I’m studying Druidry and nature based practices, some of the ideas and beliefs have striking parallels. I guess it’s not really too surprising, many permaculture designs and concepts are actually thousands of years old and were adopted from indigenous practices around the world.

I see the downright amazing things people are doing today (I’ll share a few in a moment), the way they are so connected with the land and the reverence they show for mother nature and I wonder what it must have been like before our “so-called modern world” took over with all its distractions.

Imagine the things the ancients must have observed!

It’s pretty safe to say the Druids and ancient Celts were a lot closer to nature than we are today.  Because so many of their traditions were passed down orally, we don’t know all that much about them.  What little we do know, is that they had a strong reverence for observation and wisdom.

It’s been said that a person would have to spend 20 years in training to become a druid.  Each year they would have to devote to a single tree, observing it over the course of the seasons.  Druids were said to have incredible command over the elements.  I have my suspicions that a Druids power came not from commanding nature, it came from understanding her.

(Druid means “Oak-Wise” by the way)

I see in permaculture this same reverence for observation, and similar downright amazing abilities.

They say you should find a “sit spot” a place you visit every day and observe the world around you.  Be still and take in all the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations that come to you and observe, relax and sorta melt into your environment.

After about 15 minutes the birds and animals you disturbed while getting to your sit spot will come back out and do their thing.  Some people can get wild birds to eat directly from their hands by returning to the same place every day and showing the animals they are not a threat.

You can learn basic bird language which will tell you a great deal about what is happening in your environment.  With patience and observation, you’ll be able to detect people and creatures who might be approaching just out of eye and earshot, by discerning the different calls from the birds.

You’ll find that they might have a specific call for the cat, and another for the dog.  You’ll be able to tell when a predator is approaching like a hawk, one of the best thing to listen for is silence.   You can also follow bird movement.  Is something stirring up large groups of birds?

Perhaps there is a disturbance in the force.

It doesn’t work as well with birds of prey like hawks and eagles, it’s also best to avoid using Corvids like crows and ravens.   The crow is known as a trickster in many indigenous cultures around the world for good reason; it is a great mimic and will often give you “false data”.

I can only imagine the wild and wonderful kind of things Druids must have learned from the birds and trees ages ago, before we drowned out their voices with machines and cars and electronics…

I prefer to end this blog on a positive note.  I think the birds and the trees are still talking to us.  There are people around today who are helping to restore that connection with the natural world.   I want to share something beautiful I found last year, it’s a perfect example of modern-day Druidry.

A professional photographer, Mark Hirsch visited an ancient Burr Oak in Wisconsin every day over the course of an entire year and photographed his journey with the tree over the seasons.   The pictures are absolutely breathtaking, I’m a sucker for Oaks.  Check it out!

Hugelkulture

Hugelkulture is a form of gardening that utilizes raised beds which grow on top of buried logs, sticks and other organic matter.   The great thing about hugel beds is how they provide your with garden a nearly constant supply of nutrients and water.  This form of gardening is also beneficial for people who might be restricted in their movement, it doesn’t require as much stooping and bending.

Now that it’s warming up outside, I intend to make my own hugel garden. (I’ll document my adventures in this blog of course).   I can’t wait to get outside and start transforming the yard into a garden paradise of awesomeness.

(As much as the landlord will allow me to lol.  I’m improving his soil sooo…)

I could even combine this design with the herb spiral I mentioned here and make a hugel-spiral!  😀

Not only would it look cool, (spirals are cool) by adding the circular shape, my garden will have an added benefit of versatility; allowing me to create micro-climates and incorporate a wider variety of plants.

I learned about this awesome form of gardening by following a link from the Regenerative Leadership Institute’s facebook page.   I’m currently enrolled in their permaculture certificate course and I’m learning a ton of really GREAT stuff!   There is a ridiculous amount of free material on their website as well as their facebook page.  Check it out. 🙂

A couple Hugelkulture links for your enjoyment:
Hugelkulture
http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/

 

 

We’re not doomed. :)

I was talking with someone recently and it really struck me how vast the problems of the world can seem.  In many ways, it can feel like our doom is unavoidable and would take a miracle to stop this destruction.  It should come as no surprise that people feel apathetic…

I used to feel apathetic too.  Apathy is dangerous because it’s essentially giving up hope.  It’s a hard grey existence.  I have strong suspicions that this sense of apathy is nurtured by big business and industry.  Sick and unhappy people make good consumers.

I think a healthy sense of indignation and paranoia isn’t a bad thing to have in this world we’re living in.  Especially when it comes to ads!

We live in an environment where there are suggestions constantly tugging at our awareness.  It’s pretty much unavoidable.  You can maybe close your eyes and go “La la la la laaaaaaa”, but that isn’t going to help you when you’re driving and that billboard suddenly pops into view.  It’s good to be mindful of this stuff and take inventory of what is renting space in your head.

What are you filling your mind, body and soul with?

I make it a point to keep positive things in my awareness.  Little bits of light that keep me from loosing faith in humanity and feed my sense of inspiration and wonder.  Those bits add up and before you know it you’re looking at the world in a whole new light where nothing seems impossible.

God I love the internet, it’s great for that!

Please keep in mind, I’m not trying to preach that new age “ignore everything bad” philosophy, I think that’s pointless!  Awareness is important, we need to be aware of our problems.   More importantly, we need to be aware of our problems, and focused on the solutions within them.

I think one thing the mainstream media excels at,  is keeping people in the dark, especially when it comes to inspiring news stories and scientific breakthroughs.  Part of what inspired this post was the massive amount of articles that come through my Facebook feed which tell a much different story.

I thought it would be cool to put them all together here so you can see some of this stuff all at once.

Why not bombard yourself with positive inspiring news for a change?

Let some real life Star Trek into your awareness!  😛

These articles and others tell me that we’re not doomed, we can change things.

We can take the reins on our lives and our futures and we’re fundamentally a part of something so much greater than this little gray illusion they’ve been trying to sell us.

See for yourself. 🙂

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/01/13-year-old-inventor-cracks-secret-trees-revolutionize-solar-energy.html
http://themindunleashed.org/2014/01/milan-creates-worlds-first-vertical-forest.html
http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/hamburg-sets-out-to-become-a-carfree-city-in-20-years/
http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/used-plastic-shopping-bags-can-be-converted-diesel-fuel.html
http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/data-storage-crystal-quartz-will-change-everything.html
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/01/16/scientists-report-teleportation-of-physical-objects-from-one-location-to-another/
http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/scientists-freeze-light-entire-minute.html
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/10/11/multiple-scientists-confirm-the-reality-of-free-energy-heres-the-proof/
http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/swedish-divers-discover-a-stone-age-atlantis-11000-year-old-ancient-settlement-discovered-under-the-baltic-sea/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2564285/5-000-year-old-forest-unearthed-storms-Beach-washed-away-reveal-ancient-oaks-pines.html
http://consciouslifenews.com/social-supermarket-step-forward-tackling-food-poverty/1170737/#
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFQFBmq7X84

Vertical Kitchen Garden.

2014-02-17 08.36.41Kitchens have always seemed like magical places to me.  I love the possibilities that exist inside of a kitchen, all the things you could potentially create.  My mother instilled in me a healthy respect for herbs and spices, to me a kitchen isn’t complete unless there is a wide variety both, all the better if they are fresh.  It’s my opinion that  kitchens can only be improved with the addition of plants.

I love the idea of having fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables within arm’s reach while I’m cooking.  I love how they stimulate my senses, and make me feel freaking amazing.

There is a distinct feeling, a vibration that plants bring to an environment which invigorates and uplifts, they literally provide us with a breath of fresh air.

This weekend I decided to add some more of that uplifting plant vibration to my house by finally making my kitchen garden.  The kitchen garden for me is one of those projects you decide that you MUST do because it looks so amazingly awesome when you read about it.

2014-02-16 18.29.57To make this particular garden I used a few empty two liter bottles,  a cordless drill with a 1/4 drill bit attachment. Cotton Twine, Printed Duct Tape (peacock feather pattern), a scissors, aquarium gravel, organic starter soil, an empty egg carton and of course, assorted seeds.

Not everything listed is pictured  You can find all of the stuff you need to make this online, or at a hardware store…  Alternatively, if you want to be like me and feel guilty for the next week; just go to Wal-Mart.  That’s where I found the duct-tape, drill-bits, aquarium gravel, and organic starter soil.

I was surprised to find that Wal-Mart carried organic potting soil, I’ve had a hell of a time finding it locally lately so that was a plus.  There’s always a silver lining to every cloud!  I’m currently working on making my own soil from compost but it takes a year for compost to mature and we’ve only been living here for the last four months.  Eight more months to go and I’ll have my own organic soil…around November.  :/

Until then I’m going to need soil, while I would prefer to do business with other places,  I do think it’s a good sign that we’re seeing big box stores like Wal-Mart offering more organic options, it shows that people are being heard, and that we have power to change how things are done.

2014-02-15 15.03.17I didn’t like the look of a bunch of naked garden containers so I decided to cover them with patterned duct tape so they all match better.

I think when it comes to the counter containers made from milk cartons I’ll continue to use tape, but for the purposes of the hanging planters I’m going to try something else. The tape worked well for smoothing out the rough edges from where I cut the plastic bottles, but you could sand them too and avoid using tape.

I think it could also be neat to glue something around the edges of the planter with a hot glue gun. Maybe border, or some kind of decoration.  The first things that popped into my head were those shiny bedazzlements that I used on this project.  I love shiny stuff, good god it’s awesome. o.O

wrap

I found the easiest way to uniformly cover these bottles with tape is to do vertical strips that run from the bottom of the bottle to right where the cap starts.  Cut a slit in the center of each strip, right where the bottle starts to taper on both ends, this will make it easier to fold the tape around the changing shape of the bottle.

I’ve found that it’s good to keep adding tape until you have enough space left to use two more strips.  At this point you want to stop adding tape and cut out the hole for your where your plant is going to stick out.  After you have cut the hole for your plants, tape the rest of the bottle so the whole thing is covered.  Once all my bottles are taped, I started drilling the holes to feed my string through.

I drilled a hole on each end of the bottles for my rope to feed through and I drilled a few additional holes in the bottom of each planter except one.  The planter I saved from drilling will go on the bottom of the plant tower and catch the water that drips when I water the whole system.  In order to stabilize the planter I tied knots in the ropes at equal intervals so the bottles have a place to rest on while they are hanging.

Next time I think it would be cool to make the planters adjustable, by finding something to secure them on the rope.  I’m not sure what the best thing to use for that is, I’ll have to do more research.

dirtcupsOnce I had the planters and rope put together I filled the containers with aquarium gravel.  At this point you could plant seedlings directly into the gravel if you wanted to.  I don’t have any seedlings that are big enough to do this, so I decided to use the planters as a nursery for sprouting seeds.  I don’t want to mix dirt in with my gravel so, I’m using an egg carton that has had each of the individual chambers cut out.

The handy thing about sprouting seeds this way is that it’s pretty easy to move them around if you desire to.  This gives allows some freedom to experiment with what plants to group together for creating successful plant guilds.  Once the seedlings are ready to be transplanted all I have to do to prepare them is pop em’ out of the egg carton cups and rinse off the roots.  Some of the seedlings I’ll keep inside and grow year round in the planter, some of them I’ll transplant outside when it gets warmer.  

I’m pretty happy with how this project turned out I learned a lot and it was a ton of fun to do but, I think it can be even better.  Next time I want to utilize a full hydroponics system and incorporate a fish-tank into the design.   The planters will hang above the tank and a pump will circulate water up to the top-most planter and trickle it back down to the fish-tank.  Inside of the fish-tank I would like to grow cool looking fish and edible aquatic plants, I have to do a little more research on what works well for this kind of setup, but I’ll be doing more with this project in the very near future.    In the meantime I’ll be watching my plants grow.  Thanks for reading and if you have any tips you could send my way, I’d be much obliged.  🙂  Namaste.

 

The Future Is Happening.

Today we’re going to go on an impromptu little stream of consciousness style blogging journey because that’s fun sometimes.  🙂       This is a continuation of my post on looking at the bright side.  I wasn’t going to publish this today, I changed my mind after seeing an inspiring post on Facebook from an awesome lady named Kirsten: 

Hello my friends,
Today is a great day for talking about Love, Compassion, and what we want to see in the world. What would it feel like to have today be the day that we begin loving everyone unconditionally? What if just with a few of us starting this wave it spread like wild fire and more people loved everyone unconditionally too?

Remember that today doesn’t have to be just about couples. It can be so much more than that.

I challenge you to project your divine heart chakra energy today and send love to everyone you see without judgement & I will do the same.

I love you guys, Thank you for being a part of the change!
You are the One,
Namaste.

Seeing that inspired me to finish this blog post.  Looking on the bright side is (for me) essentially recognizing and honoring that connection we share with all things.  What would the future look like if we all started to honor that connection?  What would it look like if we were finally able to move past our differences and into one-ness?  Let’s go on a journey and find out…

Alrighty!  Here we are at an unspecified point in the future!  How the world has changed!

Looking around me I see a lush green paradise, bursting with vitality and abundance.   I see people and they look happy, engaged with each other.  I see animals living alongside these people in peace and thriving.  The air smells fresh, invigorating, the crystalline rivers, lakes and oceans look clean and I can see an abundance of fish and other animals swimming in their waters.   Flying over the planet I see the deserts of my time have been replaced with green forest.  How did the world transform into this Eden I see before me?

It was discovered some time ago that, there exists a force, a conscious energy that permeates all things.  When this force was finally recognized and accepted, everything changed.  The change happened slowly at first, one person at a time, until a sort of critical mass was reached and the effect cascaded across the planet; evolving every aspect of our lives.

People started to look at the myriad of different religious, spiritual and philosophical teachings from a mature perspective of oneness.  Acknowledgement and celebration of our shared connection became the focus.  Religious teachings became enriching, instead of divisive.  We forgave ourselves and each other for all the trouble we had caused by chasing dogma and feeding egos and we decided to embrace a future that was all about connection and love.

This sense of wholeness and connection drifted into many areas of life, we started to see that wholeness reflected not only in our relationships to each other but also to the planet and all of the creatures and life it contains.  This change of understanding was reflected in the way we lived, worked, the way we communicated, and the goals we set for ourselves.   In tandem with the sweeping evolution of consciousness, we experienced an evolution in technology, medicine,  community, agriculture, industry and pretty much every other area of life.

When this transition into one-ness first started to happen in the 21st century, before the wide-spread global reforms changed the planet completely, people likened it to star trek.  The discovery of the field lead to massive breakthroughs in science.  These breakthroughs lead to the creation of many devices that mimicked technology found in the star trek series.  Some went so far as to say that star-trek and other sci-fi movies were predicting the future when they were first aired so many years ago.  Cellphones and tablets mimicked the communicator and the tricorder by allowing people to communicate instantly over vast distances and receive instant information on any subject.

Advances in quantum mechanics laid down the groundwork necessary to create other items featured on the show such as replicators, warp drives, holodecks and more.  These technologies essentially freed people and the earth from many of the problems that we faced so long ago. As wonderful as all these things were, the future had even more incredible things in store.

The harsh angular “modern” world of white walls and steel no longer held the same appeal for us.  Even our ideas of what technology should look like changed.  We realize now that the best place to turn for inspiration for what progress looks like is mother nature.  She’s been at it much longer than we have, we also realized the damage we had done previously and took measures to reverse it.

A massive undertaking was started to re-forest the earth, and the trees that were planted then have long since matured into vast and thriving, beautifully abundant forests and ecosystems.  Even places that were once barren desert and wasteland have been  transformed into lush green landscapes.   Our society started adopting the principles of permaculture into our practices, and it changed the way we approached many things, not just limited to farming.

Dull, lifeless rows of poisoned corn and other crops were replaced with beautiful forest farms and communities.  Agriculture morphed from large-scale, destructive commercial farming to globally spread forest gardens that grew a multitude of foods, medicines, and materials for all manner of things.  People began to work with mother nature, going with the flow and letting her do the heavy lifting and it worked far better for us.

What the Earth needed from us was simply love and respect, when we gave that to her, she gave us so much in return.  Once we were able let go of our arrogance and need for total control, nature rewarded us by providing abundance and beauty in all places.

Those forests all around the world have become the cities we live in now, people literally started thinking outside the box when it came to creating buildings, houses, and more.  Having developed as a society a deep appreciation for the natural beauty around us and recognizing the profound effect a natural environment has on our psyches, humans decided to take a different approach for creating structures and buildings; taking cues from nature for their inspiration, the box is a thing of the past.   Our concepts of what “progress” looked like changed drastically.

Healthcare is approached from a more holistic perspective now.  Technology has been blended with the wisdom of living a healthy lifestyle, preventive medicine is stressed. Mental health is approached from a spiritual perspective, we no longer hold prejudices against the things that make us human. Many of the issues people faced in the past simply don’t exist anymore because the society that created them has changed so drastically.   Advances in our understanding of resonance, cymatics, light and more have transformed the way we look at our bodies and how we approach medicine.

As science and spirituality were reconciled and technology grew more advanced, we started to evolve in tandem with it into something more comparable to a mystic elvish society.  Things which were reserved for the worlds of fantasy started to manifest themselves just by our sheer desire to see them.    At this point we had the ability to shape the world inside and around us with our thoughts alone. Collectively, if we wanted to, we could move oceans, moons, planets, even stars across space, time and dimensions.  

We realized it was all so simple and complex at the same time, just like learning to walk.  Our planet was a conscious sentient being, and we were its cells, a part of its spirit, and so was everything else.  We realized too that the world around ours, the solar system, the galaxy our solar system resided in, the universe which contained our galaxy, all of these were part of an even greater whole, an endlessly repeating fractal, what we have come to know as god.

We are no longer bound by time, space or dimension, we have reached ascension and with it we see the fractal continues onward expanding our understanding of reality, answers leading to further questions and opportunities for growth, we are now with all of our progress, even more profoundly inspired by the universe we’re a part of then we ever dreamed possible.  The world of the future is a world of magic, wonder and impossible beauty,  the future is happening right now. 🙂

Here are a few links which I hope inspire you as much as they have inspired me to the fact we’re living in the future right now and a-freaking-mazing things are happening!

http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/scientific-proof-that-our-minds-are-all-connected-the-multiples-effect/

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/01/13-year-old-inventor-cracks-secret-trees-revolutionize-solar-energy.html

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/data-storage-crystal-quartz-will-change-everything.html

http://themindunleashed.org/2013/12/water-powered-car-unveiled-yes-real.html

http://themindunleashed.org/2013/12/power-thought-alter-genes-cure-disease.html

http://wisemindhealthybody.com/diy-solar-cell-batteries-that-recharge-themselves/?c=lara

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/worlds-largest-solar-plant-started-creating-electricity-today.html

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/01/milan-creates-worlds-first-vertical-forest.html

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/scientists-find-human-body-kills-spontaneous-cancers-daily.html

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/01/16/scientists-report-teleportation-of-physical-objects-from-one-location-to-another/

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2012/12/04/free-energy-device-yes-they-are-real/

http://www.startrek.com/article/star-trek-replicator-nearing-reality

http://themindunleashed.org/2013/12/japanese-scientists-say-universe-hologram.html

http://banoosh.com/blog/2014/01/15/rodin-coil-greatest-discovery-time/

Fractal Communities.

I’m super excited about something happening right now, stoked in fact.  I’m looking at the world and I’m seeing a massive amount of people waking up around me, on all levels.  I see it with my friends and family the people I know in person, who are now taking seriously subjects they would have laughed off or ignored only a few short years ago.

I see it manifested on a global level with these sweeping changes and protests happening all over the world, where people are rising up to take a stand against oppressive governments and political and corporate corruption.    I see it every day on Facebook with people excitedly sharing information on all manner of subjects from organic farming to ancient aliens.   The sense of wonder we had as children is slowly filtering back into society person by person, it’s clear to me that people are waking up.  When I say “waking up” I’m not just speaking in new-agey, “ascend to the fifth dimension” terms either.  Though to be fair, I do feel that’s happening, just not in the way we expected.   This ascension is much more subtle and in some ways even more fantastic…

While ascension is cool, when I speak of “waking up” I am focusing more on the general theme of empowerment.  If I had to find one word to express the idea of what waking up means to me, it would be empowerment, which manifests itself in many ways.  The greatest thing about empowerment is that when a person becomes empowered a ripple effect is created causing more people wake up to their own potential and purpose.  I think the best way to promote positive world change is to maximize this ripple effect so that it can reach out and empower as many people as possible, in a myriad of different and exciting ways.

I think the many social movements happening right now are a manifestation of this ripple effect.  There are a lot of people banding together to help spread awareness and create positive world change in all manner of different areas like technology and free energy, freedom and  human rights, corporate and political corruption and (more importantly) how to fix it, holistic medicine and organic food, animal rights, environment and permaculture, sustainability, spirituality, human potential, quantum physics, alternative history and more.

While these people are all forming different groups with different focuses and approaches, they all have common goals in mind when you look at the big picture.  The big picture is that we all need to live here, we mess up this planet and we’re kinda screwed and we really all just want to be happy.  The big picture is that in the grand scheme of things we’re not as different from each other as we’ve been lead to believe, and we have to work together if we want to not only survive, but thrive.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it would look like if all of these different groups and people started to really interact with each other to maximize this ripple effect.  In my last post I talked a little about plant guilds and gardening.  In this post on the subject of permaculture, I introduced the idea of communities working as guilds and I’d like to expand upon that now.

Plant guilds are groups of plants that work together in an ecosystem to benefit each other and keep the whole plant community and ecosystem thriving and healthy.  Some plants repel or attract insects, some plants improve the soil, some plants keep moisture in the soil, some plants provide shade, the list goes on and on.  The point is, the plants all help each other out to form a balanced and interdependent community.   I believe that we can look to nature for a blueprint we can use to create a paradigm shift toward a more healthy way of life not only on a personal but a global level as well.

A successful community of people is very similar to a successful community of plants.  There are relationships formed on all levels,a total connectivity.  There is redundancy built into the community, meaning that if one system fails, another is there to support the function it served.  There is also variety and versatility, which means many different functions can be preformed. There is an exchange of resources as well, the surplus is shared with all members of the community, this is explained in a really interesting video on how plants communicate with and assist each other.

There are simple things we can do to put these ideas into action.

We could include ourselves in a variety of different communities, as well as increase the interaction between them.  For example, communities could collaborate and trade advertising and help spread awareness about each of their respective fields.  This sharing would increase the flow of information available to each community and they would all in turn benefit from the increased exposure to people and increase in available resources and perspectives.

We can look to nature to see another important aspect of relationships and communities, the shape things take.  When we look closely, we see a fractal pattern to the relationships found in nature.  The whole of existence takes on a fractal form and we can see the same pattern repeated throughout each iteration.   The whole is formed from the many infinite parts working together in a balanced way, when that balance is thrown off on one iteration it can affect the whole system.  If we want to observe this fractal process in action we need only to look to the bacteria living in our guts for an example of how something on the microscopic level can have a profound effect on the macroscopic whole.

We can take a lesson from nature and apply this principle to the relationships and communities we form with people.   We can utilize this structure to maximize that ripple I was talking about earlier.  We do this by focusing our attention on both levels, because we realize they are one and the same.

As above, so below!  This means we take personal responsibility as well as shared responsibility for the health of ourselves and the planet.  We can recognize the importance of each person and community on every part of the scale, from the individual level to the global community.   This means we all share a responsibility and connection because we live in an interdependent universe.  I’m you, you’re me, and that rock, and that chair, and that tree.  In a nutshell, 😉  This means we not only talk but we do.  We take action in our own lives to be the change we want to see.    This catalyzes a change in ourselves on a personal level which reflects and manifests on a global level.  We really can make a difference by working on ourselves.   We become a part of the solution.

I think there’s a certain energetic recipe required to enable a global change for the good.  That recipe requires the fulfillment of basic energetic needs which can be expressed well with the chakra system. If we look at society as an organism, we can use chakras to get an idea of what it needs.

Root Chakra:
People need to have their basic needs for living met, this includes healthy nutritious food, clean air and water, shelter, and clothing.  The root chakra is all about survival.  In a society people need access to these basic human rights.

Sacral Chakra:
People need to be able to feel emotionally secure, able to understand their feelings and emotions, but not be enslaved by them.  This chakra is all about emotional empowerment, and not being a victim to fear.  In a successful society, people need to be able to free themselves from anxiety and stress, to be happy.

Solar Plexus:
The Solar plexus expands on the concept of emotions and encompasses self-esteem and confidence, the projection of the self, and identity.  A person needs to feel that they can freely express themselves to contribute productively to society.

Heart Chakra:
People need to feel like love and a sense of community.  The heart chakra is all about community and a sense of connection to others.  A healthy society has a strong sense of community and connection.

Throat Chakra
This chakra is all about expression and communication.  People need to be able to express their ideas creativity.  This chakra is all about the flow of information and ideas and self-expression and creativity.  A society with a healthy throat chakra values freedom of information and speech.  People are welcome to share their opinions and ideas.  Information flows freely.

3rd Eye Chakra
This chakra is about intuition and visualization, it is the world known as the thought realm, or the astral realm, the place where thoughts exist before they manifest in the 3D.  This is the opening up to other ideas and changing the blueprint for our world, not being limited in ideas.  A healthy society successfully draws upon the information flow of the throat chakra and utilizes that information to create and manifest new things.

Crown Chakra
This chakra is the connection with your higher self, the part of you which is called the mind of god, the consciousness behind infinity.  It is the connection to something greater than yourself.   A healthy society recognizes their connection to each other and the world, and the responsibility it carries.

There are many different programs, communities, movements, and groups of people and individuals who offer a variety of resources in the different “vibrations” needed to meet these requirements for global empowerment.  I believe that we could really maximize the effectiveness and impact of these individual communities by getting them to all work together as a whole to collaborate on addressing the issues we face today.  There are no closed systems in nature, I believe there shouldn’t be closed systems with people either.  A successful ecosystem has a lot of movement in it, a lot of relationships, I believe we should expand on this natural concept and increase the movement between systems and the communication and sharing of energy.

Finally, it would be rather silly of me to write a huge blog post about community and movements without sharing some of them!   Here is a short list of the movements I am active and interested in.

Panic To Freedom  is a community based program which helps individuals find freedom from panic and anxiety with proven methods that have worked for tons of people (myself included) and require no prescription drugs and dangerous medication.  They offer a great online support community which allows you to interact with other people facing similar issues and situations.  To get an idea of What Panic to Freedom is all about, check out their YouTube channel (which has a ton of free advice and information), Website, and this blog I wrote about my experiences with the 4 principles of going from Panic to Freedom.

Spirit Science started out as an awesome little YouTube channel and has grown considerably to become an active online community and information hub.  Spirit Science is centered around  animated videos featuring a character called “Patchman” who introduces and explores a broad range of topics combining spirituality and science together in an easy to understand and entertaining way.   For me, Spirit Science really helps meed the need for wonder and magic, and has helped me form a better understanding of the beauty and magic of nature and history.

The Common Ground Movement is a grass-roots movement that focuses on our similarities and the common issues we are all facing together.  Some of those issues include the corrupt relationship between government and business, the slow erosion of the constitution and our rights as citizens, along with information on these issues the CGM also offers solutions and ideas and informational resources for changing the current paradigm.

PermacultureDesignTraining.com is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the Permaculture Movement and how to use permaculture principles in your life.  Permaculture is often looked at more as a way of life then a just a form of farming because of the broad area it covers.  The permaculture movement is the simple spreading awareness on the principles of permaculture as it applies to ecological farming, business and industry and much more.    Permaculture serves as a smarter system for living, farming, business and industry which will do a much better job of meeting the basic needs for food, energy, and water in a way that is not damaging but actually healing for the environment.

The Blue Zones Project is a wide-ranging community based program which seeks to put vitality back into local communities by making local options and community involvement more accessible.  It focuses on living in a sustainable, healthy way by using what is called “The Power 9” or nine principles for living a healthy life.

The Resonance Project is based on the work of Physicist Nassim Haramein.  The work centers around the geometry of space and a new unified field theory.  His presentations can be found on YouTube, they are awesome and incorporate alternative history, alien intervention, sacred geometry, physics, geometry, mathematics and much more for a different view of the universe that is both beautiful and infinite.

Vortex Based Mathematics is the work of Marko Rodin, a brilliant mathematician who has also discovered interesting new insights on the geometry of the universe.  His vortex based mathematics are leading to innovations like the Rodin Coil which could change the way we use technology today.

The Thrive Movement is centered around a movie called “Thrive: What on earth will it take?”.  This movie focuses on advancements in science and features the work many people who have already developed free energy technology and the issues we face with regard to the suppression of this information.  Their website hosts an online community and information hub with many resources for taking action.

In the end, I believe each of these programs and communities serve to fulfill one or more of the energetic “chakra” requirements for a healthy global community.  I believe that by observing and implementing some of the things we see in nature like the interdependence of systems and the fractal nature of communities and relationships we can really help maximize that ripple of empowerment and global awakening.  We can start by using the resources these communities provide to empower ourselves, and we can also share our stories to empower each other.  If you have thoughts to add to this post or if you have a movement or community you would like to share, write me a comment.  I’d love to hear your ideas.  🙂

Seasons and the flow of nature. Winter Ways.

For me, Winter has historically been the most frustrating time of year.  The end of January, the beginning of February, all the (chaotic) festivities of the previous months have come to a grinding standstill and you’re left what feels like a bleak winter wasteland.  Fa la la …feck. :/ There’s a restless sort of silence that follows until the first signs of spring start to emerge.    There’s also a restlessness born from the desire to get stuff done, and the frustration of not being able to do it.

Throughout my life, I’ve often pondered the question of “How do I deal with it?”  I’ve learned the solution to this restlessness really comes down to observing seasons and cycles and just going with the flow.  Nature has her own rhythms and it’s much easier to dance to her beat.  (Or, instead of dancing, hole up inside when it’s -30 out and drink something warm and catch up on some reading.)

In my observations, Winter proves to be a good time for planning, preparing, and resting.  This season literally forces you to slow down.    Being a hasty Aries, I sometimes have “patience issues”.  I tend to just dive in ASAP, sometimes without looking, which has it’s pitfalls.  Winter comes with a lesson, chill out.

When it comes to planning and preparing for the coming year, Winter is the best time to do it.  There’s a pause in the Holidays and all the activity that come along with them, and the weather often makes it difficult to do much outside of the house; essentially freeing you from a lot of distraction.  This gives you a chance to really put focus on the planning, research and designing of systems for (insert thing here).

I have been using this quiet time to prepare for spring, and future projects I’m working on.   One such project is growing a permaculture garden around my house.  I want to make the most use of the space I have available and also plant an effective permaculture garden that does most of the work for me and better than I could alone.  Of course this means I need to a good understanding of what this space looks like so I can most effectively plan my garden.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day mapping out the dimensions of our house and our yard.  I probably could have gotten the layout from our landlord, but this was more fun to do.  It also gave me a better idea of what we had to work with regarding space, light exposure, water retention, shade, vertical gardening and more.  I made a finished map of it on the computer in Photoshop.  This digital map will come in handy by allowing me to work with layers to move design elements easily without affecting the map itself.  I can also use it for different functions, outside or inside of the house.

After I finished designing the map, I spent the rest of the day researching plant guilds and companions for household gardens.  Many plants form symbiotic relationships and communities by adding properties that benefit the whole community, such as pest control, water retention, soil improvement, attracting good insects, shade, and many more.  I want to design a garden with a lot of different plants that serve many functions, it’s ok if some of them are the same functions, building redundancy into your garden will also help protect it from weather, bugs, and disease.  If one plant fails, another will be there to serve that same function which might have been lost otherwise.

Here are some of the links that helped me with my plant research, I found them very useful!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants
http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Garden-guilds-Plants-that-grow-in-harmony-3296632.php#photo-2443824
http://garden.menoyot.com/assets/blogAssets/garden/how_much_sunlight_is_needed.pdf

It’s clear to me I will be doing a lot of container gardening this year; a large portion of the space I have to work with is concrete (city livin’).  I will probably make some “mini-guilds” in containers and sprout them indoors.  I’ve been setting aside some recyclable containers that I can re-purpose to use as planters for seedlings.    Also,  those trays from cookie packages are perfectly shaped for sprouting seeds that you can scatter, like lettuce or spinach.  This revelation of course, brings with it my husband’s insistence that I should buy more cookies.

Anyway, in addition to planning my garden, I’m also doing a lot of research into where I live and the communities that exist here.  My husband and I haven’t lived here very long so I don’t know the landscape of who’s who and what’s what .  To fix that, I’ve added my name to the volunteer list for the Sioux City farmer’s market, figuring that volunteering would give me an opportunity to learn some stuff and get to know people.  When I heard back from the lady in charge at the Market she was happy to have more help and said she will call me when the season starts; she also suggested another volunteer opportunity I might be interested in, called “The Blue Zones Project”, which she was a part of.

I took a look at their website and was intrigued with what I saw.

“What if you had the opportunity to create a city where the healthiest choices were also the easiest ones to make? Imagine a place where it’s easy to buy fresh produce from grocery stores and farmers’ markets, not only because it’s more affordable, but also because it’s more accessible than a fast food restaurant.”

The Blue Zones Project appears to be a community based system where healthy, sustainable and local options are promoted and supported with online and community activities.  It’s funny, because I’ve been wondering if there was anything like this in my area, and apparently there is.  Though I’ve joined the BZP, I’ve only just skimmed the surface of what it’s all about, there’s a ton of stuff on the site, I have a bit more learning to do on this one.   Tis the season. 🙂

While we’re on the subject of community projects, growth, change and awakening, I’d to talk about a couple more interesting things happening right now.

Panic to Freedom (PTF), another awesome program which I’ve mentioned before.  The people of PTF are working on a ton of really cool projects right now and the stuff I’ve learned from their program has helped me a great deal.    In the past, I would have never even considered joining a community program or volunteering, that would have been too weird and “peopley”.

Truth is, I probably would have been too consumed with anxiety to attempt something community based.    Panic to freedom inspired a lot of change in me and I’m happy to say that I’ll be working with them soon, doing some writing and other stuff. 🙂  I’ve been talking with the PTF people and I’m really excited about their plans for the future and I’m honored to have the opportunity to help them out!   They are working really hard right now on updating their program and getting things ready for their new release of the program and the changes to come.

One last movement I’d like to mention is The Common Ground movement which appears to be gaining some momentum.  The Common Ground Movement is dedicated to finding that which unites us, instead of that which divides us.  There are many things even the most different minded people politically, and socially can agree on.  News and media would like us to ignore those issues, common ground looks to solving them.  I’d like to offer them more support, I think they have a lot of good ideas.  I have been promoting them online, but I want to start getting more involved with regard to my area, as well as my home state of WI.  They offer a really cool free package with information on how to do just that.  I’m reading it right now.

So here we are in winter, it’s quiet, but you could say it’s when the most important work is being done.  There are a lot of seeds out there which are getting ready to sprout, and I’m very, very excited for the future they will blossom into this coming spring.

Be your own savior.

Most of us like the idea of superheroes and saviors, this idea that someone out there will come and deliver us from evil, saving us from the bad-guys and fixing everything all while wearing a snazzy outfit.  (Because only heroes can wear snazzy outfits apparently.  Pfft.)   Why can’t we be our own super heroes?  Why does it always have to fall on the shoulders of some fictional character or mythical messiah who may or may not show up to deliver us from evil.  You know what I think?  I think that’s a load of bull and I’m calling it out right now. 
We have the power, and with that comes a measure of responsibility and we need to accept it.  We have been lead to believe we are powerless for so long, that we are incapable of saving ourselves, that we can’t make a difference and I think that’s a giant bold faced lie.  I think its also a carefully crafted lie that has been meticulously planted into our subconscious for a very long time now; this idea that we must rely on an external source to save us.

This idea that we need a leader to guide us into a golden age robs us of our power.   Hell, make Jesus proud and take some responsibility, take back your power, realize that you can make a difference, and it will have a big impact no matter how small or trivial it might seem at first.

The point I’m trying to make here is that we can make a difference, but it’s not going to be the responsibility of one person to save us, it’s a responsibility that we all share.  It is within our power, and our power is greater than we realize, in fact,  it’s exponential when we get together.

However, it requires more than just sitting around thinking happy thoughts, it requires us to actually do something.  That change has to start on a personal level.  We blame society for all the problems in the world forgetting that we are society.  We blame corporations and politicians forgetting that we’re the ones who gave them power in the first place.

We blame our ignorance on faulty education systems and media propaganda forgetting that with the advent of the internet we have the power to educate and inform ourselves in a profoundly huge and positive way.  We blame everyone but ourselves for the state of the world and it’s time we accept responsibility and quit living this lie that we can’t make a difference and we need to be “saved”.

It’s time we also give up this idea that small = trivial.  A small change can lead to big results.  Look at something like recycling.  Recycling a single item might not seem like much on its own but it adds up over time, eventually you see huge results.  Now take that concept and multiply the people who have made that change and the results become even bigger.  The most important thing here is to take action.  Do something, anything, it will help!  Want some ideas?  Here are a few to get you started.

1)Educate yourself.  In this information age we no longer can fall back on ignorance as an excuse.  There’s a wealth of information out there on pretty much everything, it’s up to us to find it and use it.

2)Plant an organic or permaculture garden.  This will do numerous things.  It will heal the soil, it will provide you with food, it will provide others around you with inspiration, it will be an outlet for relaxation, it will improve your health, it will build communities, it will save you money and keep money out of the pockets of corporations that are poisoning this planet and it’s people.

3)Reduce the negative impact you have.  Research and learn about the common items and chemicals we use today which have decidedly ill effects on the health of ourselves and the planet.  Even our shampoo and conditioners are loaded with chemicals and additives that can make us sick and destroy ecosystems.  Switch to alternatives that won’t pollute the earth and give you cancer.

4)Replace the pseudo-food with real food.  Get cookin’  There’s a phrase I’ve seen floating around that says “If it has a commercial, it isn’t food”.  So many of the items in the grocery store are loaded with additives that can make you really, really sick over time.  Start replacing those items with real food, start cooking meals from scratch so you know what you are eating.  Did you know Mac n’ Cheese is banned in some countries?

5)Buy local, quit supporting Walmart and it’s ilk.  Support your local economy and organic farmers by buying their goods.  There’s an old saying, “Vote with your dollars.”  Let’s stop feeding the monsters eh?

6)Join communities (online and in person) and talk to people who are already doing these things, they can help you learn about what you can do, and they can help you get it done, as well as offer support when things feel difficult.

Speaking of communities, to those of you in the new age community, let’s all quit with the fluffiness and get real.  There are a lot of issues in the world and we can’t just wish them away by pretending they don’t exist.  While it’s true we don’t want to remain focused on the problem stuck in impotent rage over it, we need to acknowledge and understand the problem to find and understand the solution.

Let’s collectively pull our heads out of the sand and get to work on fixing this planet, it is within our power.  We can still do all the cool new age stuff, but we need to also take action and educate ourselves about the obstacles we face today, not just ignore them with the hopes that they will somehow magically go away.   What you resist persists, sure, but what you ignore grows more.

(Below are some links on permaculture.  IMO permaculture is one of the best systems for changing the world, it involves so many aspects of life it should be a way of life, check it out.  Permaculture is so awesome and inspiring and worth it when you start to learn about how it can change things.  Those of you in the spiritual community will see so many of the spiritual principles you hold dear applied in a real tangible way, I sure did! )

http://permacultureprinciples.com/
http://www.permaculturedesigntraining.com/
http://www.permies.com/

Also check out my links page, there are a ton of resources there, and I’m adding new ones on a continuous basis.