The Growing Abundance of Moloka`i

Several, all but empty, gift shops line the main drag here in the small town of Kaunakakai, Moloka`i. Two meager grocers dominate the square’s activity. On the edge of town, which is really only about a block wide, there sits a quant old natural food store that reminds me of more than one ol’ town co-op on the mainland.

A doddering old codger directs me around the store and points out all the things grown on the island without every having to leave his seat behind the counter.

“This is the stuff Robin brought by yesterday” he explains to another customer, pointing to a box of produce just over the counter from where he sat.

Robin, that’s who I’m supposed to meet up with later. She’s coming into town to meet me discuss possible camping accommodations. What are the chances this store clerk is talking about the same Robin you ask? Well, on Moloka`i, as I would soon find out, the chances are pretty darn good.

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Sting of the vana

Sitting atop the magnificence of the vast pacific ocean, waves gently lapping under the nose of my Aunt’s standup paddle board, it’s rare that I’ve felt so immersed in the abundance of the universe. Letting the cacophony of sensations flow through… no attachment, no aversion – simple presence.

Suddenly my awareness shifted as I realized that the gentle lapping of waves had ratcheted up several notches in volume and intensity. Lifting my head and looking around I found I had drifted close to shore where the surf was crashing against the jagged black lava rocks only a few feet ahead. Attaching to my board I now needed my skills in aversion to steer clear of a rather painful incident. So much for my meditation!

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Island life…

It’s so stunningly beautiful here that I’ve forgotten several times today that it’s my birthday. I can hardly believe this place exists!

It’s not just the natural beauty, the cool ocean breeze, the enchanting chorus of so many songbirds, or even the fact that I can see several mangos ripening on the tree just a few yards in front of me. The real allure is in the eyes of so many beautiful people here. Even in the big city of Honolulu everyone seems to have a soft contentment in their eyes.

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Spirit of community…

Sitting on the floor of the Seattle airport. Fortunately, the only airport that had decent internet access was also the one I have the longest layover. In a little under an hour from now I’ll be boarding a plane to Honolulu.

I’m still having a hard time processing it all. Setting the intention to make this leap a over a year ago now… I would have never even considered how amazing my life would become even before officially embarking.
My heart swims with a profusion of emotion. For the first time in my life, I’ve discovered something that seems to elude the vast majority of our society (at least the majority of American society). Community is an enigmatic thing. I’m sure I could wax at length (in fact, I think I have) about various explanations and ways to define the word without ever touching on what it actually means to be apart of one.
Fact of the matter is, I could have never expected that the experience would be so visceral. A family so loving and dedicated not just to themselves and each other but to all of humanity. We want to change the world and we realized that none of us have what it takes to do that alone. We’re going to need to get everyone on board if we hope to have any significant impact.

Without community the whole thing is a wash. Without supporting each other we will get very little accomplished. Only when we act selflessly do we find security. That is not an easy thing to recognize for most of us. Selfless action appears painful… only the true ascetic would bring such things upon himself.

The reality is quite surprisingly opposite. The more you give of yourself, the more is given to you… ultimately allowing you to give even more! The more you open yourself to these channels of energy the more fulfilling you find your life becomes. This is what is meant by “becoming a conduit”.

As your giving and your capacity for giving grow you find that more and more people gravitate toward you and, recognizing you as a conduit, are more inclined to share their gifts with you. As they share and open up they too can discover the power of this positive feedback loop of selflessness. Before you know it, a whole community is loving and sharing and supporting each other (and you) while the stock of the of individual security increases exponentially.

Need a place to stay? I know 30 people that would love to take in a generous and loving soul. Looking for a helping hand with a project? I’ll pick up a shovel with you because I know it’s going to help feed a poor household.

This is only a small sliver of what it’s like to experience real community. And now, after all the things I ever wanted from life started to surface out of these realizations… I’m taking that leap forward and leaving the family I just met to make more family on the other side of the world.

When I have a family reunion… I want 7 billion people celebrating with me! And I want our celebration to not only be about the discovery of this human family… but the discovery that by working together, we can heal all wounds, lift all debt, alleviate every bit of suffering and cultivate a world of peace, love and abundance for all.

What’s burning in East Texas?

Just east of the Davy Crockett National Forest lies a little patch of red dirt I might one day call home. Douglass, Texas… crazy as it sounds, this place has a lot to offer. Pine trees, rich soils, natural springs, loving family and some of the most beautiful land in Texas are just a few of pleasures I have the good fortune to enjoy before my adventures ahead.

But is is all pleasure, the drought has hit this land particularly hard. Ponds and creeks are almost entirely dried up. Livestock and wildlife are struggling, not just to stay hydrated but to stay fed. Typical pastureland does not weather these arid extremes well… in fact, typical pastureland does not weather any extremes very well.

The vegetation is all but missing from the landscape this year. What is left hardly appeals to the ranging cattle. Many ranchers have sold off their herds early and those who haven’t have had to invest a lot in imported feed to keep them going. Either way, conditions like these make ranching a costly venture.

To make an already bleak situation worse, it seems when the high-pressure front that has hovered over most of Texas all summer, and prevented many a storm front from quenching this parched landscape, has at last moved on, it does so not with much needed rain but rather with raging winds.

As I write this, there are evacuations just minutes up the road from where I sit. The smell of smoke hangs in the air and an orange glow lights up the sky to the North West. All that lies between my parents sapped land and a devastating inferno is a pine forest (tinderbox) and a small band of dedicated firefighters.

For us, fortunately, we will be spared this evening. The winds are in our favor and the flames are unlikely to make it this far tonight. Here’s to hoping the winds don’t shift!

Other’s have not been so lucky. Continuing to add insult to injury, this summer will not subside without great losses to land, livestock, homes and wildlife. The thousands of acres ablaze across Bastrop and all throughout Texas today is an unfortunate example.

There are no easy solutions to the situation we are witness to this year. And, with the continual degradation of our landscape through deforestation, ecological neglect and agricultural misunderstandings there is a good chance the situation will get worse before it improves.

Not only is this trend held in place by many causes, it also doesn’t seem to be localized to just Texas. All across the world, deserts are expanding while natural forests decline at alarming rates.

Despite the obvious challenges, there is a lot that we can do to turn this trend around… but it’s going to take quite a shift from our current practices of land management. What we need is a holistic approach. Building on systems such as Holistic Land Management, Permaculture and reforestation efforts we can begin to rebuild our soils, buffer damage from natural disasters, recharge our springs, aquifers and rivers, and even increase precipitation.

These changes are going to require a great deal of cooperative effort on our part. Only by working together are we going to be able to have any substantial recuperative impact on our environment.

Leaning back

Kicking off the adventures right, these last two weeks have felt the equivelent of a month’s worth of activity. Aside from not blogging on this page, here’s a little taste of what I’ve been up to since my last blog post:

The adventure officially kicked off on Saturday, July 30 with the most inspirational display of community love and togetherness. Yes, it was a party. To call it an epic party might even qualify as an understatement. It was beautiful in all regards and elevated my spirit beyond any previous frame of reference.

After the explosion of love that was the end of July, the first weeks of August have been a whirlwind of organization and development. Not entirely centered around the development of my personal upcoming adventures (fortunately, much of that organization is already in place) but rather the organization of Community Cultivators.

Somehow, I’ve successfully managed to occupy more of my time on this development than my 40+ hours a week at Wheatsville. As you can imagine, a lot can get done in a couple of weeks with full time project development. A key to the future will be figuring out a way to make this work a paid gig (or at the very least, a self-sustaining one).

Recognizing the community had reached an obvious inflection point, the consensus could be felt hovering in the air and floating on the breath of every conversation… it’s time to get organized!

One meeting, two meetings, committees, defined roles, events, a list of projects, timelines… Engagement, involvement, inspiration, encouragement, excitement! These are but a few of the happenings I’ve been blessed to witness over the past two weeks… and, above all else, the deep understanding that we’ve only barely begun to scratch the surface of potential with in this thing we call Community!

From reading this blog it’s easy to extrapolate that this is about all I do. Well, yea… but what else is there? Follow your passion! There is no time to waste on anything that doesn’t feed your spirit!

I feel incredibly fortunate to have found a community of people as passionate about life as I. But I didn’t find that by sitting around my living room in apathy. Bare your passion to the world. If you don’t find your community, Cultivate it!

Yes, it takes time and it takes commitment… the benefits are well worth your efforts!

And now, I set myself out to embark on an adventure that will carry this passion around the globe. Life is as much about cultivation as it is about exploration.

Until then, leaning out: giving the community the opportunity to find its own identity and build its own narrative.

Separating myself has to be one of the most challenging parts of this whole process. So many beautiful things on the horizon.

From a continent away I will look on and watch how we grow together even while separated by great distance.

Blah blah… none of this is what you came to this blog to read. You want to hear about my adventures. Well, stay tuned. The adventures have just begun.

32 days from Honolulu. 42 from Kona. 52 from Molokai. 59 from Australia. and 64 from complete permaculture immersion!

Next stop… Douglass, Texas?

Minutes from freedom

I’m continually humbled by the generosity and genuine graciousness of my community. Everyday I’m reminded of the great gift I’ve been given in this life… that really, IS this life! It’s powerful stuff and it deserves constant acknowledgement and reverence.

It’s hard to comprehend that less then a month from now this journey that has been nearly a year in the making will officially be in full swing. Granted, I’m not stepping on a plane until Mid-September. This often leads people to the impression that my experience doesn’t start until my flight. I’ve learned that my experience is not defined by airports and long-distances but, rather, by experience itself… and, since even before this journey was conceived, my experiences were driving me to this point. If it were to all end here, I’d have no regrets!
That is not to say that the experiences to come aren’t themselves full of excitement… quite the contrary! What I’m trying to express is the recognition I’ve come to that, although I’m approaching a whole new chapter of my life, I’m not starting over… nor will the next chapter be somehow independent from this one. Essentially, the way I look at it, I’ve already begun this journey… in fact, I’ve been on this journey for a long time now. Each chapter has been unique and interesting and held an excitement all it’s own but never has one chapter been independent of all the rest.
Even in the day in and out routines of modern work life I’ve been traveling and building upon the book of my experience. Sure, those chapters might bore you to tears and seem to drag on and on… not all the chapters in an adventure novel can be about slaying dragons and exploring unknown territories! Some chapters are about character development and setting up the story. An author sacrifices these details at his own peril… and we, without clear vision and zeal, can easily fail to see how a moment of drudgery can lead us to pure ecstatic freedom [if only for a moment]! 
So, when I’m asked, “how much longer before you start your journey?” I find it hard not to question what the person’s definition of this journey is. Mostly, when asking this question, it seems what people really want to know is “what’s your timeline?”
With all my material possessions being divvied out amongst friends and family, my residence for the over the past year already rented to new tenants, and the training of my replacement at work… it would seem pretty silly for me to say that I’ve not already begun!
Where does this “new chapter” begin to unfold, you ask? Well, on Friday, July 29th I’ll celebrate my last day at Wheatsville Co-op. That weekend will also mark the moment in time where my home will officially transfer into the hands of it’s new tenants. That may be the most definite mark of this transition. At that time I will move from a life dominated by obligations and responsibilities to one defined much more by inspirations and aspirations.
“Oh, but you still have a long time to go before you leave. What are you going to do until then?”
Yes, my flight does not leave until September 14th. And yes, That means I have a whole month and a half with no job and no home. What am I going to do for a month and a half?! [feel free to imply deep tones of sarcasm to that statement]
I have some plans. I have some ideas. Most of all… I have nothing to hold me back! What will I do? I’ll live a moment of freedom! A moment of unscripted vitality! Yes, a much deserved vacation!
If you know me well enough… you know that I find it hard to not be productive, even while I sleep (yes, I listen to audio books sometimes when I sleep… it’s educational). So, even this “vacation” is not intended to be a laze fest. I want to take this opportunity to return some of this beautiful and amazing gift to those who’ve shared so generously with me. 
On this new chapter I’ve yet to embark, but the journey has been underway for the entirety of my life up to this point… thank you for being apart of that!