How Life On a Farm at the End of the Road Has Changed Me

10968577_10153701831368782_8134621041647208985_n-1
Oh.. the pleasures of soil and birdsong and baby goats and lambs!  This land is a living dance of earth medicine.  This is a place where we can truly remember the ancient patterns of planting dances, rain dances, harvest dances, a place where we can feel the ancient future patterns of dancing for our lives in harmony with all of life, where we can engage dance as a divine ceremony for the greater whole.  It’s a place where we can eat the food we danced for, wash our cell-ves in the water we danced for, sleep on the sweet earth we prayed for, and hatch our days into the dreaming awake prayer of a better world.  It’s a place where body and soul can heal in right livelihood, optimal nutrition, and deep nature immersion.  It’s a place where there are no veils between the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of our aliveness, where the birds and the bees dance with us, and where there is an honest, natural invitation to feel at home – just laying in the long grass in the sun.
It’s a place where community is exhalted – not because we say so, but because community is what makes this all possible.  Our hands tend the soil and our dancing feet tend our joy.

10731029_10154708085015582_7627641332887691688_n
In my year an a half here at Seven Seeds Permaculture Farm, I’ve learned that the medicines of fire and the water are real.  I knew they were real before. But, now they are real in the visceral, embodied sense that I have daily relationships with them.  I tend my hearth daily… I chop the wood that makes the fire.  I am a part of the dance of that fire.  I know the deva of that hearth intimately.  It is my warmth, my comfort.  It takes all my prayers.

The water comes straight out of our ground.  It’s real water – untreated, unmediated.  It is free, so I am free in drinking it.  It is the spring of my body, the pulse of my blood, the fluid medium that makes my life possible.
These are truly my deepest allies – in all dances and all prayers.
I’ve learned how to bury my sadness in the dark earth and how to give my greatest intentions to the winds.  I’ve learned to watch for the first hummingbird of the season to feel the lifting joy of spring in the place where the sap of the trees and the wisdom of my body are one.
I’ve learned to celebrate frost because it represents the deep nourishment of quiescence.  I’ve discovered that the clouds are an endlessly innovative reflection of my own mind.  And, I’ve found that hours in sweaty work communion with weeds or thorns or manure can heal things we don’t even have words for.
Oh… and did I mention food.  I’ve learned that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that compares to the medicine of food that you’ve grown yourself on live soil with real water, sun and a whole lotta love.
falltime seed roundup
And, dancing in this wise community of about 3,000 people, I’ve taken an even deeper step into bringing my most authentic, present tense truth to my facilitation.  We all live here.  We all know each others stories.  There are no masks.  There is no trying.  There is only an invitation into the teaching of the moment and the truly great medicine of the dance.
I have been forever changed by this place, by the wisdom of the mountain and the old growth forests above the farm, by the indomitable strength and courage of a community that truly stewards its water, seeds, soil and land, and by the experience of life as ceremony – every every day.
 1512675_10154708082585582_2439812082387693736_n
It’s a quiet change, a seasoning, a deepening.  It’s not bells and whistles, but a change of great patience and persistence – like the oaks.  It’s a change that has softened my bark – like the madrones.  It’s a change that begins from witness, a knowing in my bones that I am a fierce protectress of the earth.  That protectress finds her roots in planting seeds, tending them, watching them grow, and seeing the children eat the fruits of that harvest.  That protectress tends her roots with daily visits to the secret spot by the creek to pray.   That protectress knows where she’s from.  It’s a change called knowing a Real Place as home.
1959626_10154708082970582_3546807685000552176_n
I’d love to hear your thoughts and responses.  ❤

Know Water, Know Life. The Top 10 Things You Can Do To Heal Your Relationship with Water

Know WaterHey folks,
Saturday March 22nd is International World Water Day.

I invite us to WALK this prayer together.  The most powerful prayers are directly linked to action.  They are not merely energetic, they are soulfully engaged.  Water, being the cause of life itself, craves this engagement.  After all, action is the essence of sacred relationship.  So, here’s the

Top 10 Things You Can Do to Engage and Heal Your Relationship with Water:

 

1.)   Build a simple rainwater catchment system harvesting water using the roof runoff from your home or apartment.  Use it to water plants and gardens.

2.)   Re-use your greywater!  You can re-route showers, bathtubs, wash machines, even kitchen sinks, to water your yards and gardens.

3.)   Grow a garden.   Use the water you harvest from your roof and/or greywater system to grow your own vegetables. 

4.)   Plant trees.  Green things attract rain.

5.)   Stop drinking bottled water.  The process of bottling water takes water from existing healthy watersheds where it serves the natural ecology, people and farmers and redistributes it (plus a lot of new plastic pollutants for purchase to consumers.  It’s cheaper, easier, healthier and more environmentally sane to purchase a water filter and re-use your water bottle.  (FYI, plastic recycling takes seven times the amount of water it takes to produce the original plastic object.)

6.)   Eat locally raised, organic produce, grains, legumes and meats & use your financial power to pay the real price of your food.  This supports small farmers who have good relationships with the water, soil and ecology of your bioregion.

7.)   Stop eating factory-farmed meats.  It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to raise one pound of meat, not to mention the hormones, antibiotics and waste that leaches into ground water and watersheds due to factory-farming practices.  8% of global domestic water usage goes to factory farmed livestock.

8.)   Engage with local, state and federal levels of your government to preserve and conserve mature ecosystems and old growth in your bioregion.  Healthy, mature ecosystems are the foundation of healthy aquifers. 

9.)   Slow it.  Sink it.  Spread it.  Create swales and ponds on your land that keep rainwater where it falls and spread it into the earth where it can replentish your local watertable.  Check out this video on keyline water systems to see what is possible.  This can be done on a very small scale in side yards and parking lots using appropriate filter-feeding plants.

10.)Start or become a part of a wetland restoration or creek daylighting project in your city or neighborhood.

 

Love,

Samantha Sweetwater: founder of Dancing Freedom, permaculturalist, life coach & priestess

More info & inspiration + LIVE EVENTS can be found at UNIFY.ORG.

You Can Not Save The Earth Without Engaging the Earth

Image

Scarlet runner beans harvested last September @ http://www.siskiyouseeds.coom

The prayer to “save the earth” is not a spectator’s prayer.  It’s a participant’s prayer.  If you’re not physically doing something with the prayer, you’re part of the problem. 

Beneath this is the reality that one can not “save the earth.”  The earth will save herself, regardless of the hubris of humanity.  The prayer behind the prayer is to save ourselves – to find a way as individuals to engage our own part in the collective, wholesale transformation of civilization – a transformation that must occur if we are to cause a viable future for ourselves as a species, and hopefully the future of other species, as well.  This is not a prayer that means anything at all when prayed from non-embodied, theoretical or imaginal place.  That’s just wishing in order to make one’s self feel better.  “Saving the earth” is a way of projecting the fear that we won’t save ourselves.

The prayer, then, is to be a part of co-creating a viable future for life on this planet.  And, that prayer only means something when you DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT – when you put your head, heart and hands INTO THE PRAYER through REAL actions.  These actions take place the living, sensuous, messy, challenging and exquisitely beautiful context of being IN YOUR BODY, working directly with the earth and engaging with other people.  If you want to “save the earth,” consider what co-creative and generative actions you can take.  And, mitigate the actions and consumption(s) you take for granted that have heavy impacts on the earth – like flying to Bali for dream vacations, driving rather than walking to the store, eating factory farmed meat or using plastic packaged anything).  Do the math on your actions and inactions.

It’s incoherent and cynical to talk about “saving the earth” while simultaneously justifying high-impact activities with statements like, “I deserve it,” or “it’s what I need to do to love myself.”  That’s a very short sighted form of self-love.

These days, I spend large portions of my days with my hands working soil, seeds, weeds, branch and the flower.  My fingernails are worn and often ringed with dirt.  I pack a knife and a garden clippers on my belt.  And, yes… I still dance, run my Dancing Freedom business and see coaching clients.  (FYI, my favorite new stacking of functions is doing my weeding or seeding while I do coaching calls.  Because I’m a kinesthetic person, being in my body helps me focus exponentially more awesome attention on my clients, and it channels all that healing energy directly into the earth.) 

Ghandi said, “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”  I have no doubt that this is true.  

Image

What do you want to contribute to the future today?

 

7 simple actions you can take now:

  1. Pay the real cost of food.  This means purchasing as much as you can from farmer’s markets and not cutting corners when (and if) you buy animal products.  Sustainable
  2. Demand that your city or town make water catchment legal.  Consider installing an illegal system in your home or building.
  3. Grow a garden with open pollinated, organic seeds.  Open your yard to share with others, if you have one.  If you don’t, knock on some doors.
  4. Get to know your neighbors.  Together, you can grow more awesome gardens, raise healthier, happier kids, create safer neighborhoods and maybe, just maybe, achieve miracles of collective best interest.
  5. Walk or Bike.  Still one of the best stacked function solutions for fitness and lower carbon impacts.
  6. Dance.  It will make you radiant and connect you with new people – both of which are functions of thrivability.
  7. Share YOUR ideas and solutions in a comment on this blog.

“There is one, and only one, solution, and we have almost no time to try it. We must turn all our resources to repairing the natural world, and train all our young people to help. They want to; we need to give them this last chance to create forests, soils, clean waters, clean energies, secure communities, stable regions, and to know how to do it from hands-on experience.”   – Bill Mollison

 

Love,

Samantha

ps.  More on permaculture principles, thrivability and purpose coming soon…