Saturday, November 28, 2009

the calm after the storm

as my raft revolves slowly in the dappled sunlight,
and the small white butterflies, cruzan snow, play tag in the treetops
drunk with the scent of flowers
and carried away by the breeze,
my mind floats outward,
following the ripples in the water
thoughts drift, collide, create, connect.
my heart sinks deep into the water, to rest their in the cold dark mud.
oh to live afloat!
to sway with the winds gentle, persuasive meanderings,
to bathe in the cool water at noon
and to lay my body out for the sun to dry.
here i can throw my worries overboard,
put all my hopes into a jar of flowers and a basket of mangoes,
and listen to the eternal heartsong of my neighbors,
the frogs and the birds, the crickets and the beatles,
and the swaying and rustling of the trees.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


i give thanks for this driving rain, pounding down on the roof above us, playing its music
i give thanks for the roof that keeps us dry, and for the company of other light beings, beautiful souls who warm my heart
i give thanks for deep and meaningful conversation, for connection and intimacy
i give thanks to my family, for their constant love and support in all my adventures
i give thanks to my mother, who has always showered me with love, tucked me in safe at night, sang to me and worried about me and provided for me. i give thanks for my mother.
i give thanks for my father, for his strength, for teaching me that men have emotions, that feelings are precious and true. i give thanks for my father.
i give thanks for my brother, my constant companion, such a bright light in a dark world. i give thanks for his spirit, his generosity, and his sharp and critical understanding.
i give thanks for my beautiful grandmothers, that their love and support is still with me, that they are open and interested in understanding and supporting my journey.
i give thanks for the love and wisdom that has come down to me through my grandfathers, and through their fathers and mothers, and through all the elders and ancestors that have taught me.
i give thanks for the love and support of my extended family, for all of my cousins and uncles and aunts, for all the love and laughter and enjoyment we have shared. i give thanks to have had such a close knit family in my life.
i give thanks for learning, for new growth, for challenges and for lessons.
i give thanks for the sea urchin spines in my feet, for reminding me to take care of myself from the bottom up.
i give thanks to the ocean, for calming and holding and rejuvenating me.
i give thanks for my beautiful, loving, committed, honest, intelligent, creative, excited, articulate, fascinating, silly, partner, for all of her love and support, and for her excitement to be taking on this journey with me.
i give thanks for the trees that live here, breathing and creating oxygen, providing homes for countless beings.
i give thanks for all the cockroaches and flies and millipedes and crazy ants that live in this sacred place, for doing their jobs in this ecosystem, and for teaching us all patience.
i give thanks for cooking, for getting together to share food and to give thanks.
i give thanks for music, for sound, for the ability to sing with the universe and hear the universe sing with me.
i give thanks for the mentors that have come to me, and those that will come in the future, for guiding me on this path through life.
i give thanks for tools, for structures and ideas that help organize and design life.
i give thanks for mindfulness, for the wonder and joy with which i have been blessed
i give thanks for rainbows.
i give thanks for challenges, for internal confusion and doubt and fear, and for the lessons that they bring into my life.
i give thanks for the world, in all its fucked up glory, for being the ultimate testing ground of the power of love.
i give thanks to every being, every particular miracle of existence in the entire universe. we are all eternally in this together, and im glad youre in it with me.
i give thanks for sex positive role models and writers, who have helped me to enjoy my body and my pleasure free of shame.
i give thanks for sex.
i give thanks for touch, of all kinds, loving and freindly and supportive and healing and vital to life.
i give thanks for all the people who are working so hard to create a better world.
i give thanks to the children, for carrying the light with which they were born.
i give thanks to my childrens childrens childrens childrens childrens children, for giving me a reason to work for a better world.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

workin hard

after a relaxing and fun weekend of hanging out at the beach, snorkeling, and a lot of well needed sleep, i am diving into the second phase of my time here at visfi. this week i am working on the farm as a volunteer, helping out in whatever areas need me most. the hours are great (five a day gets me great home grown food and beautiful living spot), and the work is hard. working on a farm is just about the hardest work you can imagine. i spent my morning today perched on top of a bohio, an ancient taino structure used for living space and ceremony, thatching the roof with big palm leaves. it was great work, really satisfying. i would chop each leaf and put it in a pile, then carry the pile up a ladder to the outside of the bohio. sitting on the slats of the roof, i would twist each leaf in with the one next to it, creating a ring of overlapping leaves. from my perch i could look out over a large section of the farm, and see how incredibly beautiful it looks from above. when Ben Jones started farming here seven years ago, this was grassland, former cattle pasture, with barely any trees. now it looks more like a forest, with green everywhere and most of it producing food. when i first got here, since i didnt know what was what, it didnt strike me as much, but looking at it from above today it was really inspirational, the abundance that is created here. after lunch, with my five hours done, i took a great nap, and then a shower. since i did laundry yesterday, i am clean and in clean clothes for the first time in two weeks, and it feels so beautiful. i am really happy here. the last two days have been really wonderful as well. i am growing closer and closer to a lot of the people here, and i have had some really fantastic conversations with folks. there is a young man named patrick who is so sweet, and such a good listener. we did a trade, where one night he told me his life story, whatever he wanted to tell me about himself, and i simply listened, without commenting, through the whole thing. then, a couple of nights ago, we switched. i had some processes that i was really in need of sharing, and he listened to those really well and was very supportive. i am so glad to have friends like that in my life, and to recognize that they come into my life everywhere i go, that i attract people like that and am able to create the situations in which these kinds of conversations happen. another amazing conversation that i had recently was with a woman named katherine who lives here on the farm. since i have been on the farm, i have been struggling with meeting my need for intimacy and physical affection. the development of trust that leads to freely flowing physical affection and reassurance always takes time, and when i am in a new situation, with new people who i love and want to be close with, it can be difficult for me to be patient with this process. so when katherine and i had a really great hug the other night, i quickly latched onto her as a person i could be affectionate with. over the next day or so, i noticed myself constantly wanting to be close to her, looking for that affection in an indirect way. so i told her about this pattern, and my need for affection, and it led us into an incredibly honest and upfront conversation about what both of our needs were and how we could help support each other in fulfilling those needs. it was so clear and transparent, such a great way to create intimacy very quickly. since then i have noticed that no miracle occurred, its not like we are now totally ready to touch and show love and affection for each other, but it is a little bit easier, because there is that conversation to fall back on and to help guide me. its a very powerful process. when you meet a new person, it would be great if the first thing you asked them was what are some things that you need and how can i support you in fulfilling those needs?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the end of the beginning

today i graduate from the permaculture design certification course. henceforward i shall be a certified permaculture designer, a member of an international community of earth regeneration crusaders, participants in creating a sustainable community of human beings on this earth, living in harmony with all life. i am now certified to teach this course, in theory although i have a lot more to learn before i get to that point. this course has completely changed my life. it has realigned my career goals (i know envision starting a permaculture design consulting business in some form), it has given me a whole new support community, and, perhaps most importantly, the philosophy of permaculture as well as an incredibly powerful session on financial permaculture have given me a path towards negotiating a new relationship with money and finances. for a long time now, i have been really resentful of money and its effects in the modern world. i see so clearly the damage and destruction wrought by international corporate capitalism, and i carry a lot of anger and pain because of it. this has caused me to reject money, and business, to the point where i hate keeping track of my bank records, i never looked at the stocks my grandmother bought me, and i have always resented the necessity of getting a job. as silly as these things may sound, they are very real, and are experienced by a lot of people my age, highly conscious people who see the reality of the evil created by capitalism. permaculture, however, teaches us that the problem is the solution, and this provides a brilliant way out of this dilemna. money, after all, is not evil, its misuse, its concentration and stagnation is evil. Bill mollison, the originator of permaculture, describes money as being similar to shit. if all the shit is concentrated in one place and left there, not composted and redistributed throughout the land but accumulated and unused, then it is a health hazard, a breeding ground for disease, but if it is properly use then it revitalizes and regenerates the landscape. our challenge, then, is not to get away from money altogether, but to find ways to redistribute it to help it flow, and to act as conduits through which to flow money to earth regeneration activities throughout the world. there are tons of exciting tools we can use to do this, such as local currencies, mutual credit systems, and micro loans. if youre interested, go to and from these two weeks, i have an enormous amount of information that i would like to share with all my loved ones, friends and family. i will set up an event to do that when i get back. till then, so much love, i cant wait to be with you in person. stay healthy and happy and send me your love.

Monday, November 16, 2009


hello my beautiful loved ones, thank you so much for being alive, for being in my life, for being yourselves. i am doing well, still learning intensely and passionately inspired by everything. as the excitement of week one wears off however, im starting to miss home. i miss having the security with people that can only come from time. no matter how much i love my new friends here, ive known all of them for only one week. i find myself wanting to be close and intimate immediately, and jealous of their intimacy with each other. its not realistic of course, intimacy takes time, and work, and i just got here. still, it hurts a little not to have that comfort. its also a little frightening to be readjusting, reorganizing, and rethinking my life so radically. i think i may be a farmer, a designer, an earth doctor. this may be my lifes work. but that seems so disconnected to the rest of my life, such a big jump. where am i? where am i going? big questions, lots of answers. i send all of you my love, so much of it, all the time, and i know youre sending me yours as well. thank you for everything, stay blessed, stay safe, take care of each other.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

compost rap

aight, yall,
so i was sittin in class this morning, and my man ethan was spittin some heavy shit about soils, some really deep stuff, and i thought to myself, damn, this is important shit, people need to know this, ya know. so i said, aight, i gotta write some rhymes, let the town know whats goin down down in the earth. so this is for yall, i wish i could kick it for you live, but i guess youll have to make do. much love, jah bless.

soil, dirty subject,
weve got to protect
that thin skin wrapped around the earth
a living being, womb giving birth
not a dead, harsh cold, and static ground,
but a breathing growing changing place where life abounds.
a billion living beings in a teaspoon of ground,
50 million kinds of fungi holdin it down.

feed soil
build it
help it grow
ponds swales and ditches dont let it flow,
away prevent erosion
to leave it for the children of our children's children's, children's children.

let me tell you a story about farmer joe,
wakes up one morning says its time to sow
a thousand acres of soy, try to hustle some dough.
first thing ill do is to till the ground,
move all of that good topsoil around,
make it easy for me to plant my beds,
but he doesn't know that that means his soil is dead.
so he plants his field in long straight rows,
all the same seed he bought cheap from monsanto.
he wants to grow big quick, throws down npk
but that mineral salt sucks all the water away.
but the plants seem to love it, on the outside at least,
nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium feast.
all that soy looks good to inects flying about
they come from miles around to check it out.
damn these pests, says farmer joe,
ive put too much in this crop to let it go,
im gonna kill all these insects with insecticide,
doesnt leave a single bug alive
once again, he doesnt know that not all bugs are bad
didnt know how to make use of what he already had,
so hes just killed the bugs when the fungi come in,
start eating soy leaves, and so he begins
with the fungicide spray, kill the fungus away,
destroys his mycorihzal network in a single day.
now his soils got no structure, no resistance to erosion,
nothing holds it together so itll soon be gone

and thats why weve got to
feed soil
build it
help it grow
ponds swales and ditches dont let it flow,
away, prevent erosion
to leave it for the children of our children's children's, children's children.

now momma nature knows how to heal herself when shes bleeding,
medicine is waiting beneath the soil to be needed,
every weed has a function, ready to repair,
damaged ground, left dry, compacted, and bare.
so the weeds come in quick in farmer joe's fields,
damage, danger, disaster, its time to heal,
but farmer joe doesnt know, wont let them grow
too much invested for his crop to fail
so herbicide completes his biocide cocktail
a vicious cycle of death and destruction
robs his soil of its ability to serve its function
his soy looks green, but its sadly malnourished
hes made a swath of death where their could have been a forest.
here to save the day comes compost man
with his earth healing, soil creating plan
with compost we can easily make dirt,
humble humans make humus to heal the earth
berklee method eighteen days, hot pile of shit
nice dirt quick, thermophillic
just get the proper ratio of carbon to nitrogen,
25 to one, bacteria will thrive again,
one part green, one part brown,
plants living and dead grown from the ground,
one part manure, or other stinky stuff,
and a little bit of water, just enough,
that you squeeze a handful and you get one drop
four days later, time to flip flop
turn that pile upside down
and let all those living things mix around
bacteria orgy, its a party in there
turn it every two days to let in air
in eighteen days life has done its job,
nothing in there is as it was,
just beautiful, life giving, healthy dirt,
to put on your ground and regenerate the earth.

thats how we
feed soil
build it
help it grow
ponds swales and ditches dont let it flow,
away, prevent erosion
to leave it for the children of our children's children's, children's children.

so what about farmer joe, why do we care?
well the thing is that this happens everywhere.
this is how we grow almost everything we eat,
and if we keep on doing it the future looks bleak.
were destroying the soil, poisoning the land,
and you and me and all of us have got to take a stand,
if humans on this planet are gonna pull through,
then i think that you know what were gonna have to do,

weve got to
feed soil
build it
help it grow
ponds swales and ditches dont let it flow,
away, prevent erosion
to leave it for the children of our children's children's, children's children.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

on designing your life

i am in the process of learning to design in a holistic way, a way that mimics the systems of nature in order to use energy efficiently, to get the most reward from the least effort, and to put all elements in a system in beneficial relationships with each other. i am learning to identify patterns and apply them to specific situations. i am learning to observe and to plan and to set goals articulately and clearly. all these are factors of permaculture design, the design of healthy regenerative ecosystems that yeild abundance for all the people involved, human, plant, animal, water, earth. and, these are tools that can be used in the internal realm as well. the mind is an ecosystem, a system built up over time of many interconnected parts that interact according to patterns. i feel that i have different organisms living within my mind, different selves, and that in designing my life it is my goal to put these organisms and elements into beneficial relationships with one another. a monoculture of dreams will quickly suck up resources, and does not provide a closed loop system, and a monoculture of skepticism, reason, and groundedness does not provide me with nourishment. how can i arrange and design these elements to my advantage? where do i put my self-critical voice? how do i water my inner child? what is the climate like in here? how is the land shaped? where is my source of water? and then, in the external realm, i can design how that whole self, synergistically much more than the sum of all those parts, an abundant, holistic, self perpetuating system, interacts with other selves, systems larger than itself. i can design my relationships, my experience, always leaving plenty of room for uncertainty, change, and growth. this is my journey here.