Friday, December 24, 2010

Reality Bites Back

So I seem to have manifested some pretty challenging personal circumstances for myself.

I should know by now that nature always seeks a balance, and no highly positive experience exists in this life of drama that doesn't have its equal and opposite negative experience.

What was developing into a very interesting romantic relationship has now been derailed by the residual possessiveness of a jealous ex-girlfriend and the lack of backbone on the part of the male involved.
Since I am involved in this situation, I am not without fault, and I need to examine my motivations very closely and learn the lessons this has to teach.

The more removed I am from mainstream reality, the more I realize how much we are still animals, and how much of our behavior comes from biological programming we are mostly unaware of.
It is easy, with all the distractions, over stimulation and separation of our culture to deny this side of us.
If I found myself in this situation back in the "real world" I would think to myself "Oh, he has baggage" and I would disassociate with the male and the jealous ex, pursue other relationships if I felt so inclined, and generally ignore him until he either kicks her to the curb and chooses me after all (a previously effective strategy) or until he just goes away.

But part of why I'm here is to stop running away from difficult situations, and since I live and work with both of these people, ignoring it until it goes away is not an option.
One of the patterns of our culture that I would like to change is possessiveness and codependency in sexual/romantic relationships. The depth of anger I felt when my opportunity to copulate during ovulation was thwarted by manipulative tactics of another female was quite astonishing to me. Obviously I need to evaluate possessiveness and attachment within myself.

I just finished reading a book called The Female Animal by Irene Elia. The book goes into lengthy discussions about the evolution of the genders and sexual reproduction, from amoeba to primate, with many comparisons of animal gender roles to those of humans. The effect that hormones can have on animals, including humans, is pretty astounding. From suppression of ovulation in weaker females by the presence of stronger females, to resulting in individuals who are genetically male but physically female and a range of other results, hormones play a much larger part in our experience than I was previously aware of.
So perhaps the extremely dominant and aggressive behavior the situation inspired in me was due in no small part to the hormones of ovulation, which have always affected me much more strongly than the so called PMS portion of the cycle.

Recognizing that I felt threatened, angry and dominant, I looked for a productive way to express my intensity of emotion and spent most of the day splitting and hauling firewood while listening to some good, angry metal on my Ipod.

I am a firewood splitting machine when I'm pissed.

Damn it feels good to swing that axe.

Not only did I fill the woodshed, I managed to completely exhaust any energy I had to be angry. I highly recommend chopping wood to anyone who needs to burn off some aggressive feelings in a productive way.

We have a process for resolving interpersonal conflicts here. The first step is for the disagreeing parties to talk to each other and try in good faith to work things out.
I have talked with him, I've talked with her, and she has talked to him. So far this doesn't seem to be getting us anything except more frustration and hurt feelings. We could all three get together and talk about it, but despite my best efforts at nonviolent communication I feel like she is not hearing me or him accurately. I think the three of us talking together would just make the situation worse.
The second step in the process is called a Third Person meeting, where the conflicted people choose an arbitrator or neutral third person to try to help them hear each other.
This can be challenging, since no one within the community is ever completely neutral. Fortunately, I might have a good option in K, who has been friends with the male and the jilted ex for a long time, and who I also consider a friend.
K happens to be one of the better communicators and peacemakers we have on the farm, so as weird as it seems to drag someone else into my messy relationship issues, I think I will talk to her about being a moderator for us.
Of course, the moderator must be acceptable to all parties involved, so I first need to talk to the other two involved in this dispute to see if a Third Person meeting with K is OK with them.

So what is causing me to react this way? What issues do I have that could be blinding me in this situation?

I am used to being an Alpha female. I am usually the strongest, most independent woman in any situation I encounter. I have a large skill set, which includes most of the tasks that are normally reserved for males. I think this comes from deep security issues.
I hate being dependent upon anyone, because in my experience being dependent = getting screwed over. I have a strong need in my life for security, both for myself and for the people I care about. The only time I can pretend for a little while that I am safe and everything will be OK is when I am in the arms of a (usually submissive) male. Even while feeling secure I realize that it's a complete illusion, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it for the hour or so it lasts.

Yep. Pretty sad.
And difficult for me to admit.

But a big part of the reason I came here was to face the ugly truths about myself, so here it is;

Rule 1: Don't threaten my security. I will defend myself.

Rule 2: Don't mess with my friends. They are part of my security. See Rule #1.

Rule 3: Don't engage in manipulative behavior. I can see right through it and I will call it out.

Rule 4: Don't undermine my sex life, especially when I'm ovulating. I am an animal as much as any other creature, and I get very aggressive when my opportunity to breed is thwarted.

So much anger over a male and a few minutes of illusory security. I guess if this land is threatened I can expect my attitude to go thermo-nuclear pretty quickly, since the land affords me a strong sense of practical security.

Hippie peace and love is all well and good, and generally a fun way to live, but it only works so long as the inner animal isn't threatened, and the flow of wacky tobaccy isn't interrupted.

Humanity ain't pretty when the animal comes out.

And the animal is only sleeping lightly under the thin veneer of being "civilized".

The up side to all this mess is that my buddy Demon is gonna make a shirt that says "Alpha Bitch" for me.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Seed Corn

This year in The Garden we grew a variety of corn called "Painted Mountain".
It was described as one of the most genetically diverse corn varieties available, and seeing is believing.

It was difficult to plant this corn without admiring every kernel, for each was a different hue or a different pattern.

This corn crop overcame some serious challenges. Crows watched as we planted, and waited for a moment when our backs were turned to sneak seeds.
We covered the crop with Reemay floating crop cover to protect it from the crows; they especially love it just after it germinates. It stayed covered until almost 6" tall, since they just wouldn't leave it alone.

When we uncovered it, we discovered that a visitor planted the seeds too close, so we transplanted the thinnings (carefully, they had brittle roots) from 2" apart to 6" apart, which planted 2 1/2 more 100' rows in addition to the 3 100 footers we were transplanting from.

It grew fast. With our late spring it was not quite "knee high by the 4th of July" but it grew to its expected 4-5' height.
When it set tassels some of them were deformed. It looked like little white threads coming out, and the little male flower pods that hang down and make pollen were deformed and shrunken. After consulting the almighty Google oracle, we determined it was likely smut, a fungus that can infect the ear or the tassel of the corn.
Probably because of the increased heat and humidity under the Reemay at the beginning of its life the fungus was able to gain a hold.
Fortunately not many plants were affected (maybe 1% of the crop) and we pulled a few of the worst affected, but they mostly seemed to pull out of it when drier weather finally set in.

The garden was happy through the summer, and with orange tape, I tagged the most vigorous corn plants and the ones with the most ears per stalk to save those seeds.

The description of this variety said it could be eaten as sweet corn when young, but it was rather fibrous so we let it mature to a flour corn.
We harvested three times about a week apart to get the corn as they started to dry and before the coons ate any more. We wheel barrowed loads of corn into the greenhouse, stripped the husks and silk, snapped off the stems. and set the corn to dry on the top tier of the greenhouse.
As more corn came in, the greenhouse ears were rotated to my trailer. A shelf runs around the top of the living room, all the way around. It stays very warm because the wood stove is in here. I kept track of those orange tagged ears, and set them aside to keep seed for next year. I added some of the biggest, fullest ears to the seed corn stash.

It was pretty easy to remove the kernels from the cob once the ears were nice and dry. By firmly but gently twisting and applying friction the kernels loosened up and fell off. Some ears were difficult, and the bottle opener on my leatherman was good to loosen an initial row before twisting.

The gallon jar is the seed corn, the quart is a blues and purples mix, and the big sack is for flour/meal. My cat is looking annoyed in the background.

It makes your hands hurt after a while, but its a nice thing to do by the fire in cold rainy weather.
And hey, I gotta do something to keep my pitchfork callouses in shape through the winter.

The Pattern

A like minded spirit over at the Tinfoil Hat society has written a fantastic piece on how fractal geometry is changing our paradigm of understanding;

"Mandelbrot brought back the sense of the whole, the old time Pagan sensibility that the part is more than a piece of the whole, even if you don’t understand quite how, and that what affects one part affects the whole in ways you probably won’t understand for quite a while. It reminds us that we are a part of the whole, and reflect the whole in our being, from cell up to organism."
Read the complete entry here:

I've loved fractals for a long time. Not just because they're fun to look at, but because I sense they are an important metaphor for understanding how this amazing experience called life is actually structured.
When I watched a PBS special on fractals, some 15 years ago now, a seed crystal of awareness started growing within my subconscious.
I started to learn more about 'sacred geometry', Fibonacci spirals, the golden mean.
I found myself fascinated by the idea that there are mathematical formulas to describe erosion patterns, or the self organizing principle of a sunflower.
The patterns within patterns, always repeating but never exactly the same, seem descriptive of the processes of life itself.

Perhaps there is a Grand Pattern, which always exists yet we are necessarily unable to perceive with our limited human senses. If we did fully perceive it, we wouldn't BE human.

We would just be the Pattern.

The point of our human existence, I reasoned, was for the Pattern to perceive itself.

If I am the pattern, and the pattern is me, everything I do or think or feel sends ripples of change out into the larger pattern.

That is the Next Iteration.

It is happening NOW.

This is why taking ultimate personal responsibility for my own life is so critically important.
If I want a future that includes a fruitful, balanced ecosystem I need to make personal choices that reflect and support that.

If I want a future filled with love and respect and understanding, I need to start loving and respecting all of my fellow beings, be they human or non-human.

It is vital that I make these choices with my whole Being and intent, and not to just "buy green" or drive a hybrid car so I can feel less guilty about all of the other destructive choices I am making.

Any difficult situations that arise in my life have something to teach me. Challenging circumstances when interacting with other humans invite me to take a closer look within myself for areas that need attention.

Real change starts from within.

We must live ourselves into the future we seek.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Separation Anxiety

Who would've thought being part of a tribe could be so challenging?
It's amazing to me that we as humans lived in small tribes or communities for most of our history, and yet when you stick a bunch of us "modern Americans" together, you realize we no longer know how to act in community.

It took such a short time to culturalize us as the ultimate individuals. Even just 50 years ago we lived with extended family, or at least larger nuclear family. Many families lived in small communities, where much of what was consumed was locally produced. The Grocer, the Postmaster, the Butcher, were still friendly faces on a first name basis.

Now, thanks to the miracle of plastic currency, self check out, texting, cell phones, computers....
we can go through our entire day without having a face to face conversation with another human being.

So what?

We are losing something vital.

It is much easier to dehumanize everyone when you have few honest human connections. Its much easier to care only about yourself; to numb yourself to the fear and depression and anger all these other poor trapped rats are feeling, when you never look someone in the eye long enough to see their soul.

I got tired of numbing myself, of killing my soul just to survive in "consensus reality". So I left consensus reality behind.

But once I got out here I realize just how broken we are.
Just how enslaved we are.

We don't know how to communicate. We are used to being hurt and scared and trampled upon and talked down to and brainwashed into liking it. It's quite a novel experience to communicate honestly with people who are trying to cooperate, not to conquer.

We have been trained in divisiveness our entire lives, so it's almost funny when we wind up arguing a point, only to find that we are making the same point.
"I'm an individual!"
"No, I am!"
"You don't know what I want!"
"You don't speak for me!"
"You don't understand my needs!"

All negative emotions; fear, anger, resentment, guilt, happen because our needs are not being met. We have learned very poor ways to communicate our needs, and in many instances we are not even aware we have an unmet need. So we get frustrated, confused, and angry. We attack or defend. We send out these angry, confused vibrations, and they are reflected back at us by nearly everyone we contact. So we have a confused, angry, hurting world.

I think I found a piece of the solution.
Last week I read Non Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.
"Nonviolent Communication contains nothing new. It is based on historical principles of nonviolence-- the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart.

NVC reminds us what we already instinctively know about how good it feels to authentically connect to another human being.

With NVC we learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC helps us discover the depth of our own compassion. This language reveals the awareness that all human beings are only trying to honor universal values and needs, every minute, every day.

NVC can be seen as both a spiritual practice that helps us see our common humanity, using our power in a way that honors everyone's needs, and a concrete set of skills which help us create life-serving families and communities.

The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.

Through the practice of NVC, we can learn to clarify what we are observing, what emotions we are feeling, what values we want to live by, and what we want to ask of ourselves and others. We will no longer need to use the language of blame, judgment or domination. We can experience the deep pleasure of contributing to each others' well being."

This description was taken from the NVC website;

This might sound like a bunch of hippy dippy happy speak, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
I have experienced good results so far with the minimal efforts I have made to apply this style of communication.

In community we have two choices:

We can choose to communicate honestly and with thoughtful compassion to create a beautiful, loving reality.
Or we can choose to keep our old patterns and create so much stupid painful drama for ourselves that we decide community is too difficult; too real.
So we go crawling back to our comfortable little cage.

There may soon come a day when we no longer have the second option.
Might as well be ahead of the curve.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My New Reality

Thinking I can manifest my reality might sound like a bunch of happy horseshit.

Billy Bob down at the bait-n-tackle store would probably consider me to be well and truly off my rocker if I told him he could manifest his own reality. But hey, I like my reality. Its fabulous.

I live in a cozy double wide trailer with my mom and our three cats. The only neighbors I can see are the herd of elk who hang out in the south hay field, and the bald eagle who perches on an alder snag outside my window to eyeball the creek in my front yard for returning salmon.
The trailer has an efficient wood stove, and *gasp* gravity feed spring water.

Just up the road is the main farm. Somehow after only being here 6 months, I am team leader of a 2 acre vegetable garden with the most beautiful soil I have ever laid eyes on. Irrigation for The Garden is also gravity feed.
I am blessed with a mild climate that can grow everything from artichokes to zucchinis. I have two market towns within an hours drive; in cities that value local organic food more than most other places in the country.

If I get too hot while working in the garden, I can walk 200 feet to the swimming hole in the clear, rocky creek and cool off with the trout and crawdads.

I have fantastic conversations about the human condition, the future of our species, the nature of love, breaking old conditioning, and the meaning of life with intelligent, awakened individuals.

Every day is a new day, with new adventures. Time seems odd here. I often think something that happened two days ago took place last week. I rarely know the date or the time. No cell phones work here.

This valley is desperately beautiful and unspoiled.
From here I cannot see the rape of clear cuts across this land.
Our creek still runs clean enough to drink out of.

I can buy raw milk and grass fed beef raised by my neighbor 2 miles away. Or if I don't have money I can do a work trade for it.
This morning on my way to the farm, firewood had fallen across the road, so I hopped out, sawed it up and put it in the truck.

Every time I think my reality just can't get any better, it does.
And yeah, mind blowing orgasams from a walking wet dream of a young tasty hippie are fun too.
Hold on, wait, he's intelligent and deep!

Holy shit.

I really love my reality.

I'm gonna go eat a gluten free ganja cookie and braid my armpit hair.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

'Tis a gift to be simple

Before we sit down to our communal meal at dinner time, we form a circle and hold hands. There is a moment of silence, in which I am truly and deeply grateful. Sometimes we sing this song.

It is beautiful.

The Green Valley

I could go on and on about how beautiful this land is, or how it has everything I need, but The Land doesn't want that.
She is humble.
It is much more important that I share some of the valuable things I have learned in these past few months.
I called this blog Next Iteration because I wanted to stop feeding the fear energy that The Beast thrives on, and begin spreading the Love energy that will bring down this Beast.
I can start by taking personal responsibility for my thoughts and emotions. It is still easy to get drawn into fearful thoughts. These are frightening times we live in. But now I know I can choose where I put my energy. I can CHANGE that train of thought, and in doing so I can CHANGE my reality.

Just realizing that I am ultimately responsible for my reality was scary. I have started to confront and accept that I have an ego that subconsciously manifests challenging circumstances. I am sometimes afraid that I am not strong enough, not good enough, not AWARE enough, to manifest positive realities.
But then I realize I am feeling fearful again.

Ego is one slippery fish.

I have started to view difficult situations in a new light. My old thought pattern was that of the victim; "Why is this happening to me?"
My new thought pattern is "What did I do to manifest this?" and "What can I learn from this so I don't do it again?" This is a much more productive thought pattern, and leads to other thoughts like "What can I do to make this right?"

I'm tired of talking about the problems. We have plenty of problems.
Lets talk about the solutions. We could sure use a few more of those.

I am blessed to be part of an amazing social experiment. I live in a community of about 25 people ranging from age 1 to 88. Most of my 'family' are between ages 23 and 35. We were all drawn to this place because we are searching for a better way of being. We govern ourselves through consensus. I'm not convinced that full consensus is the way to go, but it has (more or less)worked for almost 40 years now, so I consider it worthwhile to learn more about the process.

In one of our founding documents are these words;
"The renewal of the social order, we now see, must begin with ourselves. We seek to change our basic assumptions and patterns of daily living. To do this we must alter our patterns of thought.
We must live ourselves into the future we seek."

I give thanks every day for my life and the people who now surround me.
My people are not perfect. They are in fact broken.
As i am broken.
As we all are.

The important thing is that we REALIZE we are broken, and are actively trying to change and evolve. Everybody has their issues, and issues cannot hide in a small community. But we help each other. We really do love each other, even when we drive each other crazy.

To talk openly about how we can fix ourselves, and to see my brothers and sisters get a little more whole is the most rewarding experience I have ever had.

It makes a fierce, strong Love well up within my chest, and with this inner fire I send vibrations of Loving Kindness outward into the Universe.

Will I save the world?
Maybe, maybe not.

But I am sure having a fantastic time trying.
I love my life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Crawling out from under my new rock....

Gee, sorry guys, what a teaser.
I would have posted more often if I hadn't been concentrating so much on rejecting sexual advances from my local cult leader.
What a weird place.
As I mentioned, there were some issues with the people.
But hey, I learned how to butcher chickens and sheep, and remodel a trailer, and how not to do lots of other projects.
It was an experience.

Yep, I was convinced that the best survival scenario for me was to join a hippie commune. It sounds so much more romantic than living in a shitty trailer park in the armpit of the middle of nowhere and eating sprouted wheat.

So I joined an "intentional community" in Washington State near the Columbia River Gorge.

It was not, however, a hippie commune.

I wound up remodeling a shitty trailer in the armpit of next to nowhere, and feeding sprouted wheat to the chickens.
Initially it seemed like a good deal; prepper minded community members, wheat by the ton, alternative energy generation projects in the works. Then I realized that I was valued more for my semi-aggressive sexuality and my euro-centric good looks than for any skills or knowledge or great ideas I might contribute.
I was really not looking to be wife number three (or four?) to an egomaniac old enough to be my father.
So after replacing the water pump in the community backhoe that had been broken down since I arrived 6 months prior, I packed my van and headed for greener pastures.
Fate still had her twisted sense of humor and she granted me safe passage to southern Oregon.

I spent the most blissed-out summer of my life in this green valley. I really do live in a hippie commune now. It's fantastic.

I even have internet access in my new, not-as-shitty trailer, so y'all will be hearing more about my latest adventures.....I promise.