Spence here: The full moon on Tuesday, June 2nd marked a significant date. The Sun and our Galaxys’ rotations were aligned on that day and it was the last full moon before my 40th birthday. To me, it sincerely feels like this would theoretically open up doorways, pathways and portals. It is one of those days, where if we keep our hearts and our senses open, perspectives and feelings about our lives will shift… it may be slight, or it may be huge, but either way, I think if we are not paying attention this week, we will miss “it”, whatever “it” is. It may be a message or an omen or we may catch ourselves doing things a bit differently… maybe it will be about fear? Maybe this shift has already happened! Am I paying enough attention? I worry, as I have fallen down the slippery slope of over-booking busy-ness and I need to step back soon and regain my footing!
It has become very clear to me that I am seeking an opportunity. I have always been looking, but now I am, in earnest, seeking to learn and travel and contribute and to be welcomed. You might say we are already in this place, as Portland has been pretty opening to us since landing here once again. But I am seeking out a new place, perhaps because of my adventurous curiosity and interest in travel. This place I am seeking, although may it not be quite “home”, will feel like one of our many homes in spirit, land, ways and people. I need it to be a chance to learn about the kind of magic we really need right now: art as life, learning about edible plants, wild forest garden-tending, nomad-ism, open hearts, work that contributes to an actual sustainable infrastructure (one that doesn’t rely on outside economic systems)–a set-up to which we are invited to co-participate, which is already off the grid, slow-speed, and inclusive of people who are queer. Here’s the other thing–in order to get there, I have a strong feeling we will have to prepare to walk. We need to get our travel systems in place… build our rocket stove, build our ricksha, pare down our kitchen, tool and art kits. We shall need to get our food in order, recipes for travel and water systems. We are close, but this will be more than a back-packing adventure. The whole thing will be a living art experiment that will succeed and feed us beyond what we even thought was possible. Perhaps it will ultimately look like an artist-in-residence situation, in which we can make significant ecological contributions by making art, learning as we go along, being our sensitive selves, being kind, and being gentle with the land. I am focused and I am ready and open. We just need an invitation, an omen or a sign about where to go.
Something about Portland, even though many aspects of it are fantastic, doesn’t feel like this is where we are supposed to be for the long haul. Its not that it is bad, or that cities are bad, but perhaps I need a fresh start in a small place, on a smaller scale, filled with people who are interested in a transitional way of life. There are many people in Portland doing good work, but as things get more expensive here, bigger, faster, trendier, and more populated, it is hard to feel like it is “our” city. I feel happy with several projects we’ve completed here and the re-connections we’ve made with our friends and family. We have many more commitments and things we want to do here, but as my time seems to get shorter on this planet everyday, I want to make the most of it and see and experience more of our Earth’s truly magnificent nooks! I am excited to learn what we can and make preparations for our next big adventure, wherever that may lead us.
For my 40th birthday weekend, we will be away, in the forest somewhere back-packing, discussing and rejuvenating. We will not post next week, but be on the lookout for our next big post, where I will be slightly older (we all will!) and supposedly wiser!
You can’t evaluate what you never permitted to happen.
Set aside an occasional block of time for creative play. Twenty minutes here and there is not sufficient. An afternoon is good, a day is better, and a period of several days can reap rich rewards. Think of this period as a time for true recreation in the sense of re-creation. You make time to step back, to give up control and let the inner you reach the light of day. The results may be disorienting at first, even shocking. That’s perfectly fine…The more doors you open to your inner self, the more you can push back the arbitrary borders that have been set up to define you.
– Jos A. Smith
Billy here. Today is one of those glorious early summer Portland days where you want to just sit on a patio somewhere and sip on a cold IPA made from sparkling Willamette Valley hops. Instead, I walked the five miles (round trip) to the library to pick up my hold on The Book of Kells…and to get a six pack of locally brewed Imperial IPA.Our homebrew is still in the fermenter, waiting for a free block of our time to bottle. Well, I am still captive to convenience for now! A few weeks ago I would’ve waited to buy beer, but now I have some extra pocket cash since I’ve been earning a paycheck.
I’ve just finished reading The Moneyless Man by Mark Boyle and it has me thinking about time and money a lot more than usual, especially now that Spence and I have new jobs and we have much less time for the work that doesn’t pay. What’s funny about being able to buy things in this country is that you can get almost anything you want at any time of the year if you have enough money, regardless of the environmental (or personal health) cost. I think this has been my main bone to pick with capitalism: that the federal dollar price is a fraction of the high environmental and humanitarian price. Not to mention that the federal dollar is taxed and used to bail out mega banks and fund the U.S. military industrial complex. According to Wikipedia, “The U.S. military budget is higher than the nine other biggest military budgets in the World combined.” The United States is by far the largest exporter of weapons in the world. Top buyers include countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This means that the United States is making money off of armed conflict everywhere. Sustainability has been a buzz word for quite some time, perhaps in reaction to the fact that the United States is perhaps the most unsustainable country on the planet. The Federal debt is now around $18 trillion dollars and increases by over $2 billion dollars every day! This reflects an energy hungry country that only seems to want to grow. But we are quickly running out of resources with which to grow. Perhaps a generation ago, growth and security did seem to be the right goal, but in the midst of today’s exponentially speeding transformations, we must reexamine our priorities almost daily.
What would your life look like without money? What would you be doing with your time? If you had no money in your bank, wouldn’t your community be the most important thing to you? With California on the brink of agricultural collapse, we may all have to start thinking about locally sourced food on some level. What would it be like to join in for the harvest like old village times? Does time really equal money, and if so, wouldn’t Bill Gates live forever? Most of the people in my life have died under the age of forty from causes ranging from cancer to a car crash, often quickly and without much warning. This has been a powerful lesson in living for today. Money can’t buy health, a long life, love or even the quality of life. I love fine food and drink as much as the next person, but I can tell you without a doubt that when we were living in rural New Mexico making only a few hundred dollars a month, we ate like kings partially because our neighbors produced so much food.
Spence and I have been seeking our own convictions to live how we see fit. If anything, I think he is right that we are losing our fear. Comfort is easy to want, especially if that is what we are accustomed to, but what makes us truly feel alive is living with the freedom of any other living creature, such as the birds in the trees. It will take leaping off the cliff, so to speak. Can we give up the convenience store, eating out, the car, and all the other things that come at a high price to the health of the whole ecosystem? My guess is that one way or another, we may have to at some point, and why not sooner than later…and voluntarily? What does utopia look like to you? And are we still telling ourselves it’s impossible? What’s holding us back?