Posts Tagged ‘The Problem is the Solution’

A Suggestion in Light of the EBT Failure

I just sent the following email to the two main facilitators of Transition Goshen, but I thought I’d share the suggestions here, as well. You don’t need to live in a Transition Town in order to view the writing on the wall and respond to that with preemptive action.

Here’s what I wrote, in light of this past weekend’s food stamp “glitch,” minus the personal details to each of them:

As you both know, I have long been predicting that the food stamp program would lose its funding and that this could become one of those traumas for which Goshen prepares ahead of time. I’m not sure if you’ve both heard, but the EBT (food stamp) program got shut down in 17 states this past weekend. I immediately felt this was a test to see how people would react, and predictably, in some stores, immediate looting, ransacking and threats of riots occurred. In others, where the stores took pity on people unable to bring food home to their families, the stores allowed temporary $50 checkout limits that would be retroactively deducted from cards. This resulted in various people checking out multiple times, in one case racking up nearly $700 in false charges.

The system only went down for a few hours in 17 states, and people freaked out. Despite three vastly different reasons given for the EBT outage, along with assurances that this was “just a glitch,” the USDA just this week instructed states that EBT would no longer be funded after November 1 — in any state — unless they reach some compromise in Washington. Who knows how this political charade will play out, but that’s not my point in writing to you.

Looking at this from a systems point of view and a “the problem is the solution” mindset, I’m wondering if you might want to post something on Facebook and/or send out an email suggesting that people could preempt a local crisis if those who are able would make some sizable food donations to various local organizations like The Window, Salvation Army, etc. I don’t know what all of these would be, but it seems to me that there may be increased need for things like baby formula, food for children, non-perishables like canned foods, pasta and dried veggies, etc.

People do horrid things to one another when they cannot feed their children. We live in a good community with a lot of caring people in it. Why not address this situation ahead of time by providing as strong a community safety net as we possibly can? Why not keep our community’s support for one another as a strong point, rather than allowing a me-first survival attitude to kick in because people feel forced to steal for food?

Please feel free to post my words or revise them to your own specifications. I just feel this is a very important message to get out to the Transition Community. Perhaps the wackos in Washington will find ways to compromise, but any number of other situations loom in which having extra food available for those who need it would be an excellent idea. Failing to prepare for this scenario invites unnecessary trauma from which it may be difficult for people to recover. In this time of increased political rhetoric polarizing and agitating citizens, let’s face our looming challenges and do what we can ahead of time. Community safety nets can be stronger, more voluntary (and much more important) than government ones.

Many Thanks!

Laura Bruno

Yes, We Have a Cash Crop! And Other Blessings in Disguise…

I suppose it was bound to happen. I’ve seen this trend with so many clients, friends and family members; I don’t know why I thought that I’d remain immune. Yesterday morning, I even had a dream that “things are not what they appear,” and not to get caught up in former expectations. At the same time I received that dream message, my sister got a cosmic download for me, too — in the shower of all places! I awoke to her texts:

“Got a pretty strong message for you this am in the shower …. they want you to remain open. God and the angels are with you and helping you and everything WILL be not only fine but wonderful. …But it may not come the way you think. …try to really practice mindful detachment. … Just neutrally observe what comes up and let it go … God and the angels totally have you covered, just be open to letting it happen. and right now it feels like they know some key info that you/we don’t yet. Just keep positive with your intention but let them work out the details of how to get there. …”

We both assumed those messages related to a particularly annoying 3D challenge I’ve been plugging away at for a long time but with which I am finally experiencing rapid, longed for changes. Today, I realized the messages we both received were also about …

Our Yard.

Oh, yes, I have big plans for this yard. It’s going to be an amazing little eco-faery-permaculture-medicinal herb-food garden-wild edibles-bird, bee and butterfly sanctuary nestled in a very unlikely spot. Yes, indeed, and I have been harvesting wild violet salads and dandelion greens for “beanie greenies” and dandelion smoothies like a good little wild forager eco-chick. I’ve even got “new” grubbies from a synchronous sale at Goodwill, so I can be the true Faery Farmer without messing up my “real” clothes:

Dandelion Faery

Yep, that’s me, sporting the very classy/totally dorked out duds on my way out of the mudroom this morning to haul yet more wood mulch around my precious raised beds to keep them pristine and separate from the rest of the wild, wild yard. I’m tired. I have been hauling mulch for weeks, and while the yard looks like it has a plan, and we have four raised beds in various stages of assembly and soil filling, it still looks like a giant meadow out there. Despite the fact that David just mowed the lawn two days ago!

I assessed my progress and realized I needed another three feet of mulch around the front of the raised bed area, so out came the landscape cloth, yard cart, pitchfork (yep, I’ve become hardcore with this wood mulch. No more 5 gallon buckets … we’re talking wheels, here!), and more cardboard. Out came the wind, too, blowing my freshly cut strips of landscape cloth all over the dandelion filled yard. By the time I caught the long panels, they were covered in fine dandelion seeds. Someone, somewhere giggled, but it wasn’t me. Yet. I weighted down the other landscape cloth strips while dumping mulch on the first one. Load after heavy load. Man, my back began to hurt. I looked over at the fluttering landscape cloth only to see even more dandelion seeds blowing into and sticking on the cloth.

I decided to distract myself from this Sisyphean labor by stirring the compost pile. When I looked inside, I realized that the mulched grass clippings David had kindly added to the pile on Thursday were a) not dried and b) filled with little white dandelion seeds. Everywhere I looked this morning, I saw dandelion seeds or dandelion flowers. Thousands and thousands of yellow and white heads blowing in the breeze, scattering themselves on every bare spot, sticking to my hair, making me sneeze, popping up in mulch.

Normally, I love dandelions, and I’ve been known to pay $5.99 a bunch for fresh dandelion greens in the dead of winter, because I’m just that odd. I drink dandelion root tea, and I’ve used dandelion root tinctures to support my liver. In fact, dandelion greens and dandelion tea are two of my favorite things in the entire world of natural food store shopping.

But this morning … arrgh … this morning, I was not enjoying the dandelions. I had just somewhat successfully waged the Garlic Mustard War — a week-long series of battles against garlic mustard, a highly invasive, though also edible weed. After collecting a trash can full last week and lugging that heavy can to the curb, I saw vendors at the Farmer’s Market selling bags of garlic mustard for $4 each. I used to love the stuff myself — it makes a great pesto — but David and I OD’d on it in Madison and haven’t re-acquired the taste yet. In any case, I uprooted and tossed the garlic mustard, because I’ve seen entire forests covered in those biennials, and only uprooting it prevents a monolithic spread once it appears.

The battles of the Garlic Mustard War occur less frequently now and on a smaller scale; however, I really didn’t want to engage in war on another front. Michael Pollan says, “A lawn is Nature under totalitarian rule,” and I spend plenty of time railing against dictatorships and gratuitous wars. The idea of waging war against my beloved dandelions didn’t sit well with me this morning. I started feeling like, well, the government … and that made me want to banish myself in the trash along with the other half can of stinky garlic mustard. I began to gather up the flapping landscape cloth and felt my heart sink as I realized my days as a Faery Farmer had only just begun and already I wanted to retire.

Then something suddenly clicked.

I had been wracking my brain all Fall and Winter for a so-called “cash crop,” but I couldn’t commit to anything that seemed too time intensive or required know-how to grow. Hmmm … I actually buy dandelions and dandelion products — sometimes at quite high retail prices — because I appreciate their flavor, nutritional profile, and medicinal value. In the midst of my aching back and increasing sense of defeat by Nature, I remembered that I had agreed to take on this permaculture project (our yard) because it involved working with Nature. If I had planted a crop with this kind of yield, I would have been thrilled. I looked around and reminded myself that in permaculture (and life) “the problem is the solution.” “Ask and you shall receive.” “Nature’s first law is abundance.” I’d wanted a fool proof, high yield cash crop, and I stood surrounded by massive volumes of a plant whose every single part offers valuable food and medicine.

Perspective.

Funny. Yesterday, after my sister and I both received our little downloads that things would be “better than fine,” so long as I didn’t get hung up on my expectations of the how, a youtube video suddenly jumped out at me. This guy shares how he made $900 with his dandelions. “Pay attention, Laura…we don’t give you and your sister a simultaneous double-whammy message to remain open-minded and then just drop the ball. Seriously, girl … we use it all. ‘Can you hear me now?'”

As I shifted my attitude this morning, I began to collect the pretty yellow flowers.

Lots and lots of flowers:

Dandelion HarvestDandelion Harvest 2

I looked up recipes for Dandelion Wine and Dandelion Jelly and decided to freeze my stash while determining if I want to use the traditional sugar or some other healthier sweetener(s). Do I want to “wild ferment” ala Sandor Katz, or use some other method? Will I use the Perfect Pickler? Do I need to gather pretty little jelly jars? Decisions, decisions.

Meanwhile, this huge collection of flowers didn’t even make a noticeable dent in the field. I could go out tomorrow and the next day and collect the same amount and still not see any visible reduction. Talk about abundance!

My mind began turning around other recipe possibilities like dandelion chips (as opposed to kale chips), superfood bars with dandelion greens as a base, and the possibility of bagging up the greens for someone to sell for me at the Farmer’s Market. At this point, I don’t know exactly how I will monetize this harvest, but I’ve reached a point of equilibrium and gratitude, realizing that Nature gives back to those who love her.

I decided to share my experience, because it mirrors that of so many people walking by Faith right now. People who’ve felt strongly guided in unusual directions who feel good about their choices but suddenly face a seemingly impossible block. That block usually comes out of nowhere and offers such overwhelming challenges that it temporarily rocks their Faith. (That’s when I usually hear from them: “Did I just totally misinterpret all those signs?!?” “Is the Universe messing with me?!” “Did God just open all those doors so he could slam this one in my face and laugh?!”)

As James Gilliland recently wrote, we’re experiencing a 5D overlay on the old reality. Many of us are already living most of our lives in the new reality, but when we pop back into the not-quite-ended old paradigm, the contrast feels like a smack upside the head. Those of us preparing bridges between the old and new realities will occasionally become overwhelmed by the vast contrast between the beauty, healing and instant manifestation of the new world … and the boots-on-the-ground, bone-crushing fatigue, pushed-beyond-all-limits work preparing the old world for its grand Transmutation.

Most people in this situation, regardless of chosen field, find themselves needing to engage Nature or some kind of Nature-benefiting practice in order to embrace and eventually transcend the challenge. Guess what? Healing our planet is priority number one, so that twist makes perfect sense, however surprising it initially appears. If you find yourself beaten down by “time” or by physical “limitations,” then I suggest you take a breath, step back, and remember the bigger picture. Refocus on where you know you’re headed; recognize how wonderful you and your world are in process of becoming; then remind yourself, “The problem is the solution.”

We’re all being rewired right now. This shift involves as much of a perspective shift as a physical one, because perspective plays such a key role in how we manifest. Mother Earth knows what she’s doing. We need to stick with her and try to trust her. In the process of regaining our intimacy with Nature, we will experience the true joy and freedom that come from remembering how to trust ourselves.

“Should I Leave the Country?”

Since the Boston Marathon, I’ve received quite a few private emails, texts and blog comments from people either telling me they feel like they should leave the US or wondering if I would advise them to do so. That’s a tricky question, because individual circumstances vary widely, but since so many people are asking me that question right now, I thought it merited at least a short blog post. Before I get to it, I want to say that I’m not advising anyone to stay or go: that’s a very personal decision. I’m simply sharing some thoughts, intuitions and observations here. Please make of them what you will. Take whatever resonates and leave the rest for someone else who might have a different viewpoint and life goals but also read this blog.

You don’t need to be psychic or particularly intuitive to realize things are dicey in the USA. In case you haven’t noticed, though, they’re also pretty crazy in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Africa, South and Latin America, Australia, Asia and the Middle East.

Most people in the US tend to think of themselves as immune from human rights issues, civil wars, famines, martial law, brutal dictatorships, drone attacks, fascism, genocide, torture, and guerrilla warfare. These are things that happen “somewhere else,” like Nazi Germany, Palestine, Iraq, Cuba, Stalinist Russia, Communist China, or Guatemala.

Frankly, I’m surprised even more people aren’t asking me if they should leave the US right now; however, head-in-the-sand syndrome and Stockholm Syndrome run pretty deep these days. With people working multiple jobs just to put food on the table, trying to find ways to get a job, fluoridated (i.e. Prozac’d) into compliance, GMO’d into lethargy, or glued to all manner of electronic programming from tell-LIE-vision to video games to text-mania to Facebook farms instead of actual gardens, those of us who have been watching the creeping transformation of America can’t honestly feel too surprised that most people have no clue.

Of course, this cluelessness makes many awake people even more nervous about the current, extremely precarious state of affairs. What happens when the rich, but not super-rich people who’ve banked on the security of their retirement accounts and savings wake up one day to a Cyprus scenario? What happens when food stamps and social security checks stop coming? What happens if multiple disasters — natural-, government-, or “legitimate” terrorist- induced — occur close enough together that Big Government either can’t or won’t swoop in as saviors? What happens if Big Government “saves us” with Martial Law?

What happens when masses upon masses of doped up people suddenly realize that everything they’ve built their lives upon has been a highly contrived and externally controlled lie? What happens when people who’ve struggled to put food on the table even with three jobs suddenly don’t have those jobs because the bottom dropped out of the economy? What then?

What happens if a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME/Solar Flare) knocks out the grid and life as we know it never returns? What happens if Washington DC sinks under 100 feet of water? What happens if things get so crazy that most people have a nervous breakdown?

I’m not listing such questions to freak anyone out. These questions and more are simply things to consider, scary or not, because refusing to look at them hasn’t made them go away. If more people can at least garner enough courage to look at the scary possibilities, then we can develop individual, group and community strategies to deal with the challenges. One strategy may or may not involve relocating to another town or country.

When deciding whether to stay or go, you’ll need to assess your necessary and available resources, including time.

Things are moving quickly around the world, especially in the US. The Bill of Rights has been all but gutted, and –with the exception of that pesky 2nd Amendment– all laws are in place for a complete private military dictatorship and management of all aspects of daily life. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” We’ve got some laws on the books right now that would make even Hitler blush, not to mention the vastly increased powers of the UN and would-be world dominators like Monsanto. Although the plan started slowly, almost imperceptibly, the speed of this crackdown has dramatically accelerated in recent months. Some of us saw the ugly cloud from far away. Many more have suddenly noticed the darkened sky before a previously unimaginable storm.

How long before the tornadoes, hail and lightning strike?

I don’t know. I personally hope that if enough people recognize the signs, then enough of us will decide to join our energies into shifting the current trajectory. Fight? Flight? Pray? Or Garden? It may take all of the above, and that’s where decisions become tricky.

If you plan to remain in the US, then you will need to determine a) how to make your current location as safe and sustainable as possible or b) if and how you can relocate pronto to a more suitable location. If you determine that you really can’t relocate right now, whether due to family, finances or whatever logistics, then do yourself a favor and stop fantasizing about leaving the country or living in rural Montana.

You’d be better off focusing your attention on how best to develop community right where you are, as well as how to cover basic human needs like food, shelter, and water for individuals as well as the unprepared. If your town has no disaster plan or community gardens, consider starting one, not just for yourself but because offering security for the disenfranchised increases everyone’s security in times of crisis. Finding ways to connect with neighbors, co-workers and natural leaders also provides multiple safety nets by encouraging people to assess skills and resources and develop relationships before anyone really needs them.

“Would you personally leave the USA?”

Under very different circumstances, yes, I probably would; however, I truly feel called to live exactly where I live and to do exactly what I’m doing.

If I lived in a city, I can honestly say I would relocate, because I already did strategically relocate to Goshen, Indiana. David and I came here to support his aging parents, but we also looked at any and all of the potential challenges of our times and opted to surround ourselves with organic farms, Amish people who know how to live off grid, a sunny permaculture yard, and a community already implementing Transition Town concepts to support life after peak oil or a belly-up economy. Since I have a deep love for Earth and find permaculture principles absolutely fascinating and healing, I can’t think of a better location for me right now.

Ideally, you will find a way to make whatever location you happen to live in a top-notch location for you … or … you will quickly assess what you need in a location and very speedily find a way to manifest your move there.

I will say that vibration makes a huge difference. If you fixate on fear, you’ll attract fearful scenarios. If you fixate on solutions, you’ll attract those. We can use the challenges of our times to build a better and stronger world than the one we know now. Collapse of the known could bring celebration and renewal. In permaculture, we say, “The problem is the solution.”

If you feel called to live somewhere overseas that affords you a closer relationship to the Earth and more freedoms, and you can get there soon, then I’d say go for it. I do hope that not everyone who can leave the US does. Plenty of us feel called to stay, and we are the people frantically trying to build new structures before all the old ones fall away. We are the people trying to get community gardens growing so well that an economic crash or radical disruption of food transportation doesn’t matter. We’re the ones speaking beyond Left or Right, Liberal or Conservative, actively seeking common ground from which to build systems of mutual support. We’re the ones looking at problems and choosing to address them instead of pretending they don’t exist.

If enough of us create preemptive solutions, then we create possibilities and paths for life to change easily, without the need for crash and burn or smashing into rock bottom. When enough visionaries take action, then all the problems facing the US and the world today can result in an amazingly lush, healed and prosperous society that honors everyone for the unique beings we are while living in harmony with Nature and Natural Law.

“What should I do now?”

I’m not a fan of “should’s.” What do you feel called to do? What excites you? What worries you? What fears keep you up at night? What strange ideas tickle your fancy so much that you can’t seem to stop giggling about them? How might your “problems” become “solutions”? An old saying says that God never gives us more than we can handle, and I believe that’s true … with one caveat: sometimes we do need to turn to God (or Goddess, Spirit, Nature, the Faery Realm, Ancestors, Runes, Animal Totems, Myth and Legends) in order to survive those challenges.

“We are spiritual beings having a human experience,” and we need to remember that. As challenging as we may find the physical realm, being here is a privilege and an adventure. Whether you decide to stay or go, I would suggest you invite your spiritual side into your decision. Ask your body what it prefers. Feel the longings of your heart. Pay attention to the mind that assesses and strategizes, then invite inspiration in all you do.

Once you’ve invited this special Wisdom available to each of us, allow yourself to receive the answers. I guarantee those answers approach you whenever you invite them into your awareness. As the Hopi say, “This can be a good time.” When you discover the eternal Wisdom that whispers within yourself, you will always know what to do or how to respond in any given moment. I will leave you with two helpful mantras:

“If not this, then something better.”

“I am always in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.”

And so it is.