Posts Tagged ‘TEOTWAWKI’

“Cultivating an Inner Life”

I recently joined a book study group with some visionaries, spiritual advisers, organic farmers, permaculture activists, and other “big picture” thinkers from Goshen and nearby Three Rivers, Michigan. I missed the introductory meeting due to an errant email, but tonight we have our first actual book discussion of Carolyn Baker’s “Navigating the Coming Chaos.”

As preparation, we read the Introduction and Chapter 1. I’ve already read much further, but we’ve been asked to answer the following questions related to the Intro and first chapter. Given this book’s powerful message, which aligns so closely with what I try to offer through this blog, through my own life’s expression(s), and during individual sessions, I thought I’d answer the questions here. Although many Transition Towns have leaders actively studying this book, you do not need to be involved in the Transition Movement in order to benefit from it. As the famous Medical Intuitive Caroline Myss says: “What a pleasure it is to endorse a book of this quality and genius. But more to the point, a book of great urgency. I not only recommend this book, I urge you to it.”

So do I.

What was most encouraging about what you read in “Navigating the Coming Chaos”?

In a bizarre way, I feel like I’ve been co-writing a companion volume through my blog. Since my philosophy and experiences dovetail so easily with the book’s premise and message, I began using it as an external checklist of my own internal preparations. So few people have developed strong enough inner lives to be able to look chaos in the face without flinching, running away, numbing themselves or going crazy. I found it encouraging that others recognize the importance of beauty, poetry, mythology, and art as essential to surviving any sort of “long emergency.”

Having gone through my own extensive traumas, including a brain injury microcosm of the societal macrocosm of having all structures forcefully and suddenly stripped away, I’ve long known the importance of cultivating and soothing the soul. Surrounding myself with (and creating my own) art, poetry, culinary delights and sacred spaces immediately transmuted the usual hellish experience of TBI into something mindful, beautiful and deep.

As a teenager, my mom went through multiple severe health crises that forced me to step up as parent to my siblings, house organizer for my dad, and emotional support system for everyone involved. That “long emergency” changed me in irrevocable ways and taught me early on that life as we know it can change in a heartbeat. Support structures we take for granted can disappear and not return unless we ourselves build suitable replacements. If we don’t step into our strength, we can easily drown in the torrents of change. My mom’s health crisis occurred on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes. I saw my first demon during that time period and learned to walk protected among some incredibly dark agendas and intentions parading themselves as “helpers.”

As a scared fourteen-year-old pretending to be an atheist so no one would inquire about my inner life, I faced many Dark Nights of the Soul. I devoured ancient philosophy and classical literature, and my “atheist” teenage journals read like devotionals, with my own “hymns” of praise and cries for help as I tried to make sense of my little world gone mad. Those journals examine what it means to be human, how can we find meaning in the midst of chaos, and how do we burn in the fire to become the phoenix rising from its own ashes? I continued this obsession with appearances vs. Reality, alchemy and transmutation, and inner transitions through my college honors thesis on angels in “Paradise Lost,” into my graduate studies, and into the present day.

I’ve sometimes considered my need for beauty as a weakness; however, reading Carolyn Baker’s book, I realize that I just happen to be much more in touch with my soul than most. She explains why humans need to cultivate a strong inner life, and recognizes how the shift away from the inner life actually caused the biggest challenges we face today — whether from government, natural disasters, environmental destruction, economic crises or the seeming inability of the masses to recognize wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Carolyn underscored what part of me already knows: “My perceived weakness is, in truth, my greatest strength.” Recognizing that I need beauty as well as food from my garden; prioritizing ways to offer moments of joy and delight to the traumatized; following and cultivating advice from dreams and daydreams; understanding that my walks in Nature, sacred chants, creation of sacred spaces are truly, deeply necessary — that recognition is a gift, not a character weakness, because these are real, human, healthy needs whose value our dangerously ill society rejects or minimizes to its peril.

What was most troubling?

I initially felt so overwhelmed by the confirmations in this book that I needed to set it down for a few days. For decades, I’ve received premonitions of coming emergencies and the precariousness of our current way of life. I had premonitions before 9/11 and an immediate sense of a darker agenda than the commonly presented story — this at a time when I watched no news and followed no politics. I just knew it was a “false flag” even before I knew that concept or term. I also recognized the massive opening for transformation and growth. The most troubling part of “Navigating the Coming Chaos” is the recognition, in black and white print, that these “random intuitive instructions” I’ve received over the years “to prepare myself for the coming chaos” aren’t so random after all. I’m intrigued, comforted and completely freaked out that someone like Caroline Myss endorses this book, because on the one hand, that’s quite a validation. On the other hand, holy sh!t, that’s quite a validation.

My initial reading of the book also happened to occur when one of the “signs” I had been told would mark a clear indicator of the coming chaos occurred, namely, the shutting off of the EBT cards. That sign has presented itself to me so clearly for so long that I actually had made long-standing promises to myself that I would implement certain things if and when that sign ever occurred. We received a temporary reprieve with the “agreement,” although millions will still face food stamp cuts this coming November 1 because a non-renewed supplementary program expires on Halloween. I experienced the synchronous timing of the EBT failure “test” at the same time I began reading “Navigating the Coming Chaos” as further validation of my intuition and a major nudge to implement my own specific promises to myself in a timely manner.

Once I honored my need to set aside the book for a few days and simply garden, chant (bhakti yoga), paint with Runes, obtain certain supplies, sleep more (to cultivate dream guidance), and nurture myself, I began to experience relief. Point by point, I went through Chapter 1 and realized, “Hey, I’m already doing these things. I’ve been doing them for decades. I’m not crazy or eccentric for valuing such things. I receive excellent guidance through my intuition, prayer and synthesized abilities to intuit and to strategize. What Carolyn calls my ‘Internal Bunker’ is extremely well-stocked.”

While reading the book, I still experience waves of: “Crap! Someone else with an intelligent, intuitive and soulful background sees the same emergencies I do; that means we’re really facing emergencies; this isn’t just me being paranoid.” — but then I feel gratitude that someone else has created a toolkit and personal development guide for people with less well stocked “Internal Bunkers.” Ultimately, the more of us with tools and strength “to face the mess we’re in without going crazy” (to quote Joanna Macy), the better. Together, we can tap into our unique gifts and skills to create something extraordinarily good.

Do you have a favorite quote?

The Rumi poem at the beginning, and the quote from Plotkin’s “Soulcraft”:

“Nature has much to teach us in her vast classroom. You can acquire an entire education merely by observing carefully. But you must be patient and offer your attention, like a lizard stalking a fly. This takes skill, and practice. What you find in nature is what works. It wouldn’t be there if it didn’t. Boundless wisdom awaits.”

What do you intend to DO after reading the intro and chapter one — in the process of Inner Transition?

I intend to continue along my multi-pronged preparation path, which at this point, includes reaching out to local people and organizations to create as strong a community safety net as possible. Although not a focus of the intro and chapter one, these actions flow from long-term, very insistent intuitions, feelings and dream guidance I’ve received, in some cases since childhood, but at least for several years. I find that doing and following through on intuitive nudges results in relief and peace. I have also increased my studies of the Faery Realm, Old Ways, permaculture and magickal self defense.

At the very least, I will know that I have done all that I can do. Spirit, Mother Earth, the Unseen Realms and other humans can meet me halfway or not, but at least I know that I’m fulfilling my end of the bargain. That in itself brings me tremendous peace, comfort and a sense of purpose. I love what I’m learning, and I intend to enjoy the journey, whatever the destination.

The American Collapse: A More Optimistic Response

I tried to leave the following as a comment on Zen Gardner’s recent post, “The American Collapse ~ One Giant False Flag.” For some reason, the computer kept eating my comment, telling me to “Please fill form,” and yet (miraculously) not deleting that comment when I hit “back.” After three tries, it occurred to me that maybe this was a nudge just to post the comment here in a slightly expanded form. Perhaps it will inspire some readers to action, and with any good fortune, a pingback will enable my comment where I meant it to post. 🙂

Three words: permaculture, permaculture, permaculture. Seriously, have any of you heard of Transition Towns and permaculture? Yes, we face challenges, and certainly, many will not survive, but there ARE many of us actively working together at the local community level to have systems in place for when the SHTF. Are those systems/options already fully functioning? To varying degrees, but relationships among like-minded, problem-solving, spiritually grounded, caring, local people ARE already happening, at least in some areas. If they’re not already happening in your areas, wherever you live, it would be a really good idea to cultivate those relationships now. It can start with even just being friendly with your neighbor.

I have clients who went through 9/11 and various other disasters. They have, almost uniformly, shared with me the deep bonds they developed with friends, neighbors and family during those times. Natural instinct is for people to join together. Yes, there will be looters, but if people see the writing on the walls, they can still work now to set up some local safety nets.

Some good books to read: “Navigating the Coming Chaos” by Carolyn Baker; “Active Hope” by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone; as well as any good gardening books you can get your hands on such as “Four-Season Harvest,” “Gaia’s Garden” and “Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on a 1/4 Acre.” I personally also like to have hard copies of whatever books I find give me spiritual and poetic inspiration in the event that the internet shuts off.

I would also include learning some form of self-defense, whatever that means for you. For me, personally, that involves more energetic and magickal self-defense, but that only works if you’re really committed to and knowledgeable about how to move those energies. Joining in community is an excellent insurance policy. So is learning personal energy management — shift your vibration, remind yourself “I am always in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.” For those who want other methods of defense, I would say, decide on something fast, acquire it now, and start learning how to use it ASAP.

Yes, we face huge, life-altering challenges, but some of us HAVE chosen (deliberately) to stick around in the US in order to help the shift. For a taste of this process, check out what’s happening at the hyper-local level with organic farmers in Detroit. It’s a whole ‘nother world beyond the disaster. Most preppers think of protecting their own, and that’s one way to go about it. Another way is to look around and assess what’s needed in your community, find others willing to help bring those things into being, and git ‘er done. Time’s a’ticking, illusory old codger that it is…

Peace!

The Joyful Prepper

Since I don’t own a tell-LIE-vision, I’ve never watched the show “Doomsday Preppers,” but from what I understand, that show aims to cast people who prepare as some kind of antisocial, selfish, kill or be killed freakshows hellbent on causing the very chaos they claim to fear.

As Oscar the Grouch said, “Scam!” “Get lost!” “So close your eyes and dream of all the wonderful Trash that’s yet to come. You too. There’ll be more Trash tomorrow.” Although I’m on friendly terms with Oscar, I’m not that kind of prepper. 😉

Oscar

I prefer a more joyful perspective. Yes, I want to have access to food, water, good community, and reasonable levels of amenities should the trash hit the fan … but not from a place of fear. Although the precarious state of our world flickers across my brain and influences some decisions, in the interests of sanity, positivity, and living in the ever present Now, I view prepping as a way of improving life regardless of what Congress, Obama, X-Class Solar Flares or Mother Nature decides to throw my way. Some examples:

Berkey

Many people have asked me what kind of water filter I recommend. I have no stake in this company, but after much research, I decided to buy a Travel Berkey with the optional fluoride and arsenic filters. This filter can purify water from streams, rain barrels or contaminated taps, uses no electricity, just fits under our cabinet doors, keeps the good minerals in the water, and — most importantly for day-to-day pleasure — Berkey filtered water tastes amazing! I used to struggle to drink our home-distilled water. My body just didn’t want it. Nor did I enjoy Brita or bottled water. Ever since we set up our Berkey, I love drinking water! It just tastes so fresh, and I have peace of mind that were any kind of water issue to occur, we’d be fine.

(I do still keep about 10 gallons of bottled water on hand “just in case,” but we generally run through those for the waterpik, since the minerals in Berkey water would clog that thing up fast.) On a daily basis, the Berkey gives me pleasure and good health, regardless of what happens (or not) “out there.”

Fall Winter Bed

Fall/Winter plants starting to grow

Fall/Winter plants starting to grow

Yes, my original motivation to start gardening in 2011 arose from concern about how my raw food loving self would handle packaged FEMA meals in the event of an emergency. Given how clean I eat, I think the preservatives might send me to the hospital faster than refusing to eat for the duration of most events. I actually feel that way about most “food” on grocery store shelves, so it’s not really about FEMA. I just love real food, fresh food, and hyper local food. Since I began gardening two years ago, I’ve discovered the true joy of digging my hands in the dirt — of watching tiny seeds spring to life.

I’ve also gotten completely spoiled with the freshest produce harvested just minutes before eating. I decided to plant a winter garden bed with attachable cold frame in part due to a possibility of food supplies being disrupted, but mostly because I didn’t want to give up the level of yum to which I’ve grown accustomed. Books like Four-Season Harvest have me already salivating over turnips, mache and spinach, not to mention winter hardy kale, collards and root veggies. If nothing else, we will have a whole lotta yum and access to hard to find, fresh, local greens in January and February.

We’ve also got fun, functional decorations:

Jalepenos

And tomatoes upon tomatoes for preserving in all manner of ways — dehydrated (both electric and solar), frozen, and soon to be canned:

tomatoes

canning

My friend Patricia taught me how to can a few weeks ago and short-term loaned me her pot. David’s mom offered to loan me hers, but David’s sister has now gotten so excited about canning that I didn’t want to interfere with her enthusiasm. We’ve acquired tons of free jars from various former canners, and my friend Leah suggested two no-sugar, high “foodie” appeal canning books: Put ‘Em Up! and Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry. I’ve not received them yet, but based on Leah’s extreme endorsements, I’m looking forward to experimenting with unusual flavor combos and some non-frozen ways of preserving bumper crops. [UPDATE: I received the books. Put ‘Em Up! does use sugar, but not in all the recipes. It’s also a book that includes multiple methods of food preservation, including pickling, drying and freezing.]

I have so enjoyed the Lavender-Infused Dandelion Preserves (with birch sweetener) from my first canning experience with Patricia that I’m embarrassed to call myself a dandelion hoarder! I don’t eat honey, but this stuff is the most floral, delicious “honey” I’ve ever tasted. I’ve been eating it with almond butter on sprouted multi-grain tortilla chips with fresh sage leaves. Weird? Yep. Awesome? Uh-huh.

still hot from the pot, freshly canned lavender infused dandelion preserves

still hot from the pot, freshly canned lavender infused dandelion preserves

Then there are the herb crafts — the teas, the homemade dandelion blossom vinegar to increase mineral absorption from cooked foods and flavor salad dressings:

Dandelion blossom vinegar ... also not pictured, various herb vinegars like oregano vinegar for salad dressing an immunity building

Dandelion blossom vinegar … also not pictured, various herb vinegars like oregano vinegar for salad dressing an immunity building

People worry they don’t have enough money to prep, but shopping with a prepper mindset can actually save you money. My mom used to laugh at me whenever she visited, because my cupboards and fridge were all but bare. I shopped almost every day, because I liked fresh food. I still love fresh food, but I “shop” from my garden, and I stock up on pantry items when I find bulk items on sale. Instead of spending a premium for canned beans, supplements or specialty curry pastes, I keep a running list of things I know I will eventually use. When those things go on a super duper sale, I’m there, stocking up on items I’d buy anyway, but saving sometimes 60-75% off.

I know many people prep from a sense of scarcity or lack: “OMG, I won’t have this, or what if I can’t get that?” By all means, if you’re going to fixate on the potential lack of something, go ahead and get a backup (or three) just so you can free up that energy for something more enjoyable and productive. For me, though, prepping emphasizes abundance. I plant with an idea of having “enough to spare and enough to share.” I love giving away free produce, and I love entertaining people with food I’ve grown and infused with love. Wild food foraging also adds to the sense of abundance. There’s nothing quite like Mother Nature’s free smorgasborg to remind you that God/dess provides. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…” Personally, I enjoy sowing and reaping, but wild foods offer intense nourishment on several levels at once.

Part of my joyful prepping stems from how it has inspired my own growth. I have learned so many new skills, so much information, and met so many amazing people through my research! I’ve also become far more in tune with Nature, natural cycles, and that mysterious balance between going with the flow and influencing the flow. Yes, we can do many things to feed the seeds we want to grow, but some things remain outside our control. The dance with Nature both humbles and empowers.

I’ve also grown through evaluating what makes me feel vulnerable or secure. I know many preppers swear by guns and ammo, and when I was on Facebook, some of my more politically aware FB friends used to laugh at me for saying I’d use prayer and magic over guns. I don’t judge people who want to protect themselves and the ones they love. I totally understand that impulse. I’d just rather pay attention to signs and my intuition so that I know when I need to shift the energy around me or temporarily shift my location. To me, that, along with interactive prayer, feel more effective, far more in alignment and infinitely easier than learning to shoot someone who wants something I have. I live by my intuition and engage in nonstop communion with the Universe, so for me, it really does feel infinitely easier to recognize the energetic breach before the physical one occurs. This may not be true for most people, but for me, honing and amplifying that process has encouraged my own spiritual development.

I’ve also enjoyed delving deeper into my Runic and yogic studies, learning ways to amplify, protect and shift the energies around me, and I remain in awe of the powerful ways that Nature Spirits have worked with me to avert damage during storms or even redirect and dissolve them. On other occasions, I’ve asked for rain and felt them dancing it into being. The sense of connection I feel when a “crisis” forces me to get creative and to tune in to all my resources makes me feel incredibly alive. I have gathered together ancient and traditional knowledge that has turned out to feed my soul, grounding me in ways I never expected. This process has transformed “the world as I know it” into something even more magickal and loving than I imagined possible. So many preppers worry about TEOTWAWKI (“the end of the world as we know it”) or when the SHTF. I welcome those changes. I read the “S” in “SHTF” as “shift,” and it’s high time we got on with this love-o-lution.

Am I prepper? Yeah, and I know that puts me on a US terror suspect list along with “people who want to make the world a better place” and “people who don’t like paying taxes.” You know what, though? I can handle that. I do want to make the world a better place, and the joy of learning, imagining, doing and communing has already made my world a better place.

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~Mary Engelbreit

“You must welcome change as the rule but not as your ruler.” ~Denis Waitley