Equinox changes

Almost three months have passed since i returned to the farm. i faced most of the same challenges as usual upon my arrival, but seemed to have a more difficult time dealing with them during the first month or so. I guess i was suffering from a culture and lifestyle shock, coming from such a relatively easy life at Esalen, and in California in general. I can see how difficult it can be for so many, who’s realities have been full of such material privileges, to make the kind of sacrifices necessary to reduce their global socio-environmental impact. There were several moments where i caught myself envying the convenient over-indulgence of modern western society. Little by little, though, all the leaks were fixed, the over-run orchard cleared, the agroforest opened up and gardens brought back from months of neglect. New matresses, sheets, and tools were brought up, and the goats have begun to gain weight. The pasture has been given a rest. All is looking more like before i left, and now we’re starting to see some progress. The seed camp’s got a much improved composting toilet with urine diverter, kitchen organizing infrastructure, and a new community clothes room built! On my end, i finally got the wooden floor into the RADi site, and am now about to start some cob furniture- kitchen sink/dishrack, and a comfy bench, are first on my list, while i help Amanda mosaic a shower and wash station.

On the animal front, Joe and Bosque have become ace logistics horses, and Bonnie has gained enough strength to join the crew for weekend runs with the Seed Camp residents. I’ve stolen one of the chicken tractor flocks and brought them into the goat fence (i’ll be getting chicks to fill that tractor soon enough). My puppies have been a problem, though. While i was gone, they ate all the chickens that i had, and since returning, have gone to the seed camp to attack their chickens (there was a failed free range experiment)… and i’m sad to say… they killed sweet mani. I had to give up Foca, since she was the instigator…

I was blessed with a good crew at the seed camp, but at the end of their stay discovered an important misunderstanding between us. On retrospect, it’s been a misunderstanding that has repeated itself for many years, now. I had always wanted the seed camp to be a community of transients, living and working together. When i lived there, i felt too much like i was the boss, that it was my place and everyone were working for me. I thought that, once i left, seed camp residents would begin to accept that the seed camp was their home, and i was just their helpful neighbour. I would always begin the orientation tour stressing that this was their home, that everything around them was the result of those who contributed before them, while everything that they did was paying forward to all who would come after. I wanted that to be the paradigm, but for the most part it wasn’t accepted by people passing through the seed camp. Most would still assume that it was not their home. Some wouldn’t take responsibility for the state of the tools and infrastructure. Some would just contribute the minimum asked of them. Even those blessed few who would give their heart and soul to the place, often would do so with the intention of giving to me. They’ve suffered disappointment when i haven’t given them the level of gratitude that they expect. I really appreciated the company, the good conversations, the connections that people passing through here offer me, and i am so thankful when people come and help me with construction of the RADi site… but from the point of view that i had of me as a helpful neighbour, i found it strange that i should show gratitude, for example, for the construction of a toilet i may never poop in. If i contributed hours of advice, taught building techniques, donated materials, and lent my own tools, shouldn’t the builders be grateful to me? And when people come over and machete the pastures with me, why is it me that’s expected to thank them, when the horses bring up so much more for the seed camp than for me? I was too stubborn to accept that the majority of people passing through wouldn’t accept my point of view. The seed camp wasn’t their home. They were just volunteering there. I thought i was giving to them, spending all of the goat cheese revenue and more than half of my personal cash maintaining what i thought was a home to people who want to learn and be inspired by a unique ecologically centered lifestyle.. i dedicated most of my time to them, answering questions, teaching techniques, fixing problems, and keeping them supplied… while so many of them thought they were there to help me! In the past couple of years, a few have genuinely helped me on my personal projects, such as the RADi site. But the vast majority have spent their entire time helping me help themselves.

I was beginning to feel resentment for that, to feel tired of doing so much to support others, while not having the time or resources to make my own home feel livable. Meanwhile, people at the seed camp were feeling resentment for working for an under-appreciative boss. I thought everyone was very cool, and really did appreciate them as friends and neighbours, so it was really difficult to feel that negative energy. There needed to be some changes…

The first change was to set up the title of ‘facilitator.’ New volunteers would pay a facilitator fee, and those who stayed over a month could make this income by accepting responsibility for their role as leader and instructor. At the moment, Andrea has taken this title, and hopes to remain a facilitator until December. Others may join her. Volunteers will now be part of a typical volunteer program, with specific hours, and delegated chores and jobs. I still hope to find a way for the seed camp to be open to those who would rather call it a home, especially for anyone who may wish to move to Sacred Sueňos as community members. And i still want travelers with special skills or goals to have the opportunity to request particular projects or learning opportunities. There is a new list of projects available for volunteers and interns to decide on.

When all is said and done, i have to say that, all in all, everything is going very well. I feel so much happiness and peace to be at Sacred Sueňos, joined by Amanda, whom i am deeply in Love with, and to have Andrea and beautiful people as my neighbours. Life is Good!!!!:)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA