Out of the morning mist…

Over the past nine weeks I’ve participated in the construction of an agricultural dam, a swale, a couple of terraces, a large urban garden, several compost piles, 1000 liters of compost tea, an aid proposal to a Nepalese orphanage, and 600 square meters of food forest. Aside from exploring a nearby rainforest, swimming in the ocean and the occasional night at the local pub… it’s been a non-stop permaculture marathon!

My mornings generally start around 5:30 am. I have no alarm clock… in fact, my means of telling time here are incredibly limited. Nature tells me when to rise, a bell rings when its time to eat or take a break and the end of the day comes when my eyelids are too heavy to stay open (usually fairly early… depending on how my day has been spent).

Imagine The Abundance – Urban Gardens

Imagine, you’re perusing the Sunday paper, thumbing through various articles, world news, sports, opinion pieces… yea, we’ve all been there. What feelings arise for you as the images pass by your eyes? Article after article, world news and local… everything seems so dismal.

In disgust and with a freshly drained world view, you fold the paper up and drop it back down on the table. Just before you look away and try to forget the morning sorrow, a small advertisement catches your eye.

FREE GARDEN
DESIGN & INSTALL

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Interning on Zaytuna Farm

Over the past three plus weeks myself and 15 other cohorts have been fully engaged in farm life. And, although there are several aspects of this lifestyle that you might expect out of a typical farm experience (i.e. milking goats, turning compost, planting veggies, etc…) this is far from a typical farm!

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.