The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.
No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.
~ Margaret Atwood ~
So much we took for granted is breaking down around us. It is clear that we are going to have to get used to living in a different world than the one promised when we were growing up. And it is also clear that people have a deep capacity for adjusting, adapting and making things work. So what would it be like to live with less oil? Less money? What would it be like to live rurally, in a tiny one room house, with a compost toilet and outdoor shower, growing our food, butchering our meat, making our medicines?
With an intellectual exploration and an earth-honouring curiosity and creativity, we set out to seek answers. We gave up central heating, flush toilets, hot baths, mirrors and dye-ing my hair, newspapers, television, air travel, restaurants, movies, buying interesting things at weekend markets, sunday brunch, coffee dates. In doing so, I gave up the holds these things had over me. I welcomed in fluidity, automony, adventure, desire for experience, curiosity, pioneer spirit, homesteading rigor, scientific vigor, imagination, innovation, fierce magic. We lived big, we ate well, we cut paths, we jumped fire, we built structures, we knit scarves, we healed wounds.
Love of self comes from nature connection at a deep ecological level, knowing place purpose and role, as one among many species on the planet. From functioning in this place and role, and servicing the rest of the whole dependent on us embracing and fulfilling our purpose. From connecting genuinely with other in this only way. Our “noble purpose” is our gift. Disconnection from the knowing of this purpose place role is trauma. Behind our traumas is our gift. Happiness is a by product of aligning with our gift, taking our place in the whole and fulfilling our purpose. Anything other than that is misery.
Mistakes are crucial vital signposts long the way. If misses we travel learning loops ’til humbled enough to honour, in gratitude, the high place of mistakes that offers the otherwise elusive vantage point of hard won perspective.
Out past the realm of right and wrong, there is a field. I will meet you there. There, there is not room for elite or attitude. And there are no experts where no one knows what the future holds. Just perpetual beginners. Life long learners. Imagination and craft. Off-grid permacultured peasant pilgrims. Weaving writing wayfinders. New narratives rooting us in ancient traditions and ancestral lineage singing life back into ancient bones and sacred skulls, inventing a new story of the world that we can finally find the feeling of home on this earth. Urgent. Emergent. Finding our way in the darkness after giving time to let our eyes adjust and seeing the obvious way unfold before us into the vastly greater expanse of endless horizon and infinite possibilities in the nothingness.
Still a pilgrim. Still wayfinding. With a propensity for perimeter walking & edge-dwelling. Where I stumble upon spectacular vantage points. and where, while gratituding, I can lick my wounds in preparation for further ventures. Into more of what is but a glimpse of how it could be like.