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After the nightly news showed people lined up outside of a Philadelphia gun shop in mid-March, my brother called me saying he had his guns and ammo at the ready. This echoed the hoarding I’d seen in my local grocery stores, creating the lack of garlic and toilet paper and rice. Everyone was terrified, trying to figure out how to survive this pandemic. I feared that, once again, too many of us were going about survival all wrong.

From my patio in Santa Cruz, California, I watched a scrub jay deliver a peanut shell to its oak-tree home. My neighbor hollered hello from the street below, explaining that she was afraid to go to the store for groceries. “A person was held at gunpoint at the Target,” she said. “Everyone’s going crazy.”

I wanted to go beyond simply planting a victory garden for my family’s sustenance. I wanted the sustenance to be shared.

I looked down at the weedy patch of grass in front of my house. It reminded me of a time, growing up in Los Angeles, when a friend took me to his Watts neighborhood to show me the community gardens growing under the freeway, pointing out the abundance of free produce for residents. It occurred to me that we might be able to create something similar. “Do you have any seeds?” I asked my neighbor. “I’m going to try to plant us a community garden.”

“I have a pitchfork for you to dig up your weeds and chicken wire for that gopher,” she said, pointing at the holes in front of my house. “Oh, and some flower seeds to get some pollinators into your victory garden.” The semantics of this subtle distinction gave me pause.

My grandparents had “war gardens” in the 1940s, and small, potted remnants from that time took root on their patios well into their golden years. I’d often asked them to teach me how to grow veggies. But they argued that because grocery store shelves were fully stocked again, they didn’t think it was necessary to teach me how to put in the work of growing my own food.

Yet now our local farms have waiting lists for their Community Supported Agriculture weekly deliveries. Now my elderly neighbors are afraid to touch lettuce at the grocer’s. Now large farms are throwing away millions of pounds of produce at the same time that more than 41 million Americans go hungry each day, and, according to the nonprofit Feeding America, that number could rise by an added 17.1 million because of COVID-19. Now the abundance that once felt like the marker of American life feels flimsy.

Feeding our Communities

COVID-19 will change us. It’s just a question of how. Each morning, I wake up thinking we have the chance to create a better narrative. Together. Years of being a community activist taught me that the only way to survive anything is with the help of the people around you. And feeding one another is a good place to start.

In my community of Santa Cruz, where almost 15% of the population lives below the poverty line (that’s above the national average of 12%), organizations are stepping up to feed people for free. Our recycling company, Grey Bears, carts free bags of produce to elders each week. And the Homeless Garden Project has donated more than 7,000 pounds of organic, immune-boosting veggies to local nonprofits that serve our unhoused. These vegetables have been farmed by formerly house-less graduates of their trainee program. “The community’s response to help our most vulnerable neighbors turns what could be a dark and lonely time into an understanding that we are all in this together,” executive director Darrie Ganzhorn said in an email.

Santa Cruz’s tiny K-8 Live Oak school district is partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank to offer complimentary, biweekly bags of produce and nonperishables for families, many of which are under the poverty line. The collaborative is also providing free sacks of breakfast, lunch, and dinner that include fresh fruits and veggies, dairy, protein, and snacks for all Live Oak youth. Administrator Stacey Kyle says that because they’ve heard directly what community members need, they’re now “expanding to offer reheatable meals on weekends, too.”

We can plant seeds that take a little weight off our overburdened food system and grocery store workers.

Inspired by all this generosity, I wanted to go beyond simply planting a victory garden for my family’s sustenance. I wanted the sustenance to be shared, so I sent out a blast on Nextdoor.com. Within minutes, people offered up compost bins, some more seeds and soil, starter pots. My septuagenarian neighbors brought over tools, advice, and veggie starts. Another guy I didn’t even know was scavenging scrap wood from a construction site nearby; when I asked about how to make a garden bed, he lugged over some wood, and constructed one in my yard.

The retired crisis therapist across the street noticed the raised bed and said, “In the news, we’re seeing the worst of humanity right now, but around us we’re experiencing extreme acts of kindness, too.”

She’s right. All over California, I’m hearing about neighbors with excess offering it to their communities. San Francisco resident Colleen Irwin put up a table in front of her house with the sign “Emergency Food Bank” in her Bernal Heights neighborhood. “The table fills up and empties four times a day,” she said in a Facebook message, adding that she can read the pulse of her neighbors’ needs after diapers and a white cake festooned with sprinkles were both gone in minutes.

David Reber is placing sourdough starter in baggies around San Francisco, free for the taking. Folks in need of eggs have been invited to put cartons on the doorstep of one family with chickens, and they’re finding offerings of baked goods left on their porch in return. All over the East Bay, people are converting Little Free Libraries into Little Free Pantries. My kids even got in the game and made signs to announce that our little garden plot will soon offer free produce for the taking.

Producing in Place

By the end of the second week of our shelter-in-place order, my peas and lettuce had sprouted. To inspire food to emerge from dirt felt victorious indeed.

I called my brother back and encouraged him to get to know his neighbors and offer to share the lemons growing on his tree. We should all find ways to connect with, and make allies of, the people who are suffering around us. My brother called me a hippie. He, like so many people I know, fears the worst in people. “When people get hungry, they do crazy shit,” he muttered.

Many Americans have been raised with this ethos of individualism. I, too, was taught to take care of my family above all else. With the threats of joblessness and hunger in every community, I get that urge to protect what’s ours, especially when we’re terrified that a stranger’s cough can land us in the ICU.

But in the 1930s and 1940s, 20 million Americans stepped up in a time of great global terror. They planted gardens in abandoned lots, on patios, and on rooftops. Today, too, we have the potential to shift how we engage with our world. In fact, social distancing requires it. We can broaden our perspectives and open our hearts to people with whom we might share nothing more than proximity. They will be the ones there for us in crisis. They will deliver chicken soup if we’re sick. They will check in on us if they don’t see us out and about. And they will let us know when the grocery store finally has some Clorox wipes.

In return, we can plant seeds that take a little weight off our overburdened food system and grocery store workers, nourish our bodies with vegetables to strengthen our immune systems, and get exercise and fresh air necessary for our mental health. Planting roots in our neighborhoods allows us to reassess the true meaning of community and show our neighbors that we have their backs.

Now six weeks into our shelter-in-place, the spinach and strawberries, tomatoes and kale, cucumbers and peppers are sprouting. When I called my neighbor to revel in these tiny green victories, she told me to look on my front stoop. There, I found a pack of toilet paper.

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY KRIS_ART/ADOBE STOCK / ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

Michele Bigley When not delighting over her sprouting garden, award-winning journalist Michele Bigley is writing a book about taking her sons to meet the change-makers working to protect the planet from, and prepare their communities for, our climate crisis.

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What if the Virus is the Medicine? by Jonathan Hadas Edwards & Julia Hartsell 4.30.2020

The emerging pandemic is already a watershed of the early 21st century: things won’t ever be the same. Yet for all that the havoc that the virus is wreaking, directly and indirectly, it may also be part of the bitter medicine the global body needs.

How could adding another crisis to an already crisis-ridden planet possibly be medicinal?

Before we explore that question, we want to be clear: our intent is not to downplay the severity or minimize the importance of lives lost to this disease. Behind the mortality figures lie very real pain and grief, and these numbers, often discussed so casually, are personal, representing the potential loss of our parents, elders, teachers, dance companions, grandmothers or immune-compromised friends. Already, our hearts are breaking for the physical distance with our aging parents until we know if we’re infected. There’s not only a risk of losing beloveds in this time, but having to do so from afar. Our hearts are breaking for those who may die or suffer alone, without the touch of their loved ones. We honor death as a sacred passage, but we do not minimize death, suffering or sickness in the slightest. We pray that each one who transitions from this virus (as from the many other deadly diseases, accidents, overdoses, murders, suicides, mass shootings, and on and on) be met with on the other side by unexpected blessing, connection, peace.

Neither are the economic implications to be taken lightly. Many in this country have already seen massive impact, and the recession has only begun. As always, those closest to the edge will be hit hardest. For some, a month sequestered in beauty could be a vacation. Others have a few months before financial panic sets in. And for others living paycheck to paycheck or gig to gig, there is a great immediacy of struggle. The economic ‘side effects’ of this coronavirus could be catastrophic.

And yet.

For many in our world, the pre-coronavirus status quo was already catastrophic. Many are facing an imminent end to their world–indeed, for many species and many peoples, the world has already ended. We are in the midst of a crisis of unprecedented magnitude: the choice for humanity is change or die. No one said change would be easy. (Neither is dying.) And incremental change is not enough. It will take radical change to shift our current, calamitous trajectory away from massive environmental devastation, famine, energy crises, war & refugee crises, increasingly authoritarian regimes and escalating inequalities.

The world we know is dying. What is unsustainable cannot persist, by definition, and we are starting to see this play out.

What hope is there, then? There is the hope that breakdown will become, or coexist with, breakthrough. There is the hope that what is dying is the caterpillar of immature humanity in order that the metamorphosis yields a stunning emergence. That whatever survives this collective initiation process will be truer, more heart-connected, resilient and generative.

We are entering the chrysalis. There’s no instruction manual for what happens next. But we can learn some things from observing nature (thank you Megan Toben for some of this biological info). For one thing, the chrysalis stage is preceded by a feeding frenzy in which the caterpillar massively overconsumes (sound familiar? We’ve been there for decades). Then its tissues melt into a virtually undifferentiated goo. What remain separate are so-called imaginal cells, which link together and become the template from which the goo reorganizes itself into a butterfly. Does the caterpillar overconsume strategically, or out of blind instinct? Does it know what’s coming and trust in the process, or does it feel like it’s dying? We don’t know. It’s natural to resist radical, painful change. But ultimately there’s little choice but to surrender to it. We can practice welcoming the circumstances that force us away from dysfunctional old patterns, be they economic or personal. We have that opportunity now.

Let’s return to a crucial word, initiation. On an individual level, initiations are those processes or rituals by which one reaches a new state of being and corresponding social status: from girl to woman, from layperson to clergy, and so on. Initiations can be deliberate or spontaneous, as in the case of the archetypal shamanic initiation, which comes by way of a healing crisis. To paraphrase Michael Meade, initiations are events that pull us deeper into life than we would otherwise go. They vary widely from culture to culture and individual to individual, but two characteristics they share are intensity and transformation. They bring us face to face with life and with death; they always involve an element of dying or shedding so that the new can be born.

Most all of us have undergone initiations of one sort of another, from the death of a parent to the birth of a child. Many have experienced initiation in the form of a crisis or trial by fire. Those of us who have gone through more deliberate, ritualized forms of initiation can state unequivocally: the process is not fun, comfortable or predictable. You may well feel like you’re going nuts. You may not know who you are anymore. You don’t get to choose which parts of you die, or even to know ahead of time. One of the overriding feelings is of uncertainty: you don’t know where you’re going, only that there’s no going back. And there’s no way of knowing how long the transformation will take. It can help to remember that the initiatory chrysalis phase is a sacred time, set apart from normal life.That it has its own demands and its own logic. That it cannot be rushed, only surrendered to. That it may be painful, but also, ultimately, healing.

Imagine what happens when an entire society finds itself in the midst of a critical initiation. Except you don’t have to imagine: it’s already happening, or starting to. It looks like chaos, a meltdown. We’re in a moment of collective, global-level crisis and uncertainty that has little precedent in living memory. The economic machine–the source of our financial needs and also a system that profits from disease, divorce, crime and tragedy–is faced with a dramatic slow-down. We are all facing the cessation of non-essential activities. There is opportunity here, if we claim it.

This is a sacred time.

However, unlike a traditional rite of passage ceremony, there’s no priest or elder with wisdom born of experience holding the ritual container, tracking everything seen and unseen. Instead, all at once there are millions of personal quests inside one enormous initiatory chrysalis. And yet, look closely: amid the goo, you may start to notice imaginal cells appearing. Pockets of people who are aligned with something they may not fully understand, in receipt of a vision or pieces of one, beaming out their signal to say: let’s try something different.

This is an opportunity to loosen our grip on old and familiar ways. Those ways worked for as long as they did, and they got us here, for better and for worse. They seem unlikely to carry us much further. What if we’re instead being asked to feel our way forward, from the heart, without benefit of certainty–which, when concentrated, quickly becomes toxic? No one has all the answers in this or any other time. Right now the questions may be more valuable.

What if we honor this time with sacred respect?

What if we take the time to listen for the boundaries and limits of our Earth mother?

What is truly important?

How can we receive the bitter medicine of the moment deep into our cells and let it align us with latent possibility?

How can we, with the support of the unseen, serve as midwives to all that is dying here and all that is being born?

With these questions resounding, let us   s l o w d o w n and listen. For echo back from the unseen, for whisperings from the depths of our souls and from the heart of the mystery that–no less so in times of crisis–embraces us all.

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WAHM… in the face: Parenting During Pandemic by Amanda Sand 4.22.2020

In 2013, I became a WAHM (work-at-home-mom). I was privileged to be able to make that choice. And, I made it knowing what I was gaining (more time with my child) and what I was giving up (a separate work life and a clear trajectory on my career path). I have devoted so many sleepless hours to raising children while balancing running a pottery business with my full-time artist husband along with bookkeeping I did on the side. Fortunately, I’ve been able to work remotely these last seven years without having to go to an office (loving that my commute is nonexistent), but that doesn’t make it any easier, honestly. The separation of work and family life is tough, especially when my office is just…right…there.  I jump in for a few minutes only to be interrupted again. Only the surface fires are put out. Never the deep, smoldering ones, the slow-burning ones, the smell of smoke always lingering. But, as any parent knows it’s a juggling act.  Which item needs more attention right now: my greasy hair or the proposal due at 9 am tomorrow? Proposal wins. Again.  

Today, most of us have no choice but to work from home with our children. The “fires” we need to put out are smoldering everywhere. We are now, officially, WAHPs (work-at-home parents). And, for many, this is less than ideal. Fortunately, for me, working from home isn’t new, and working around kids is an old hat. I’m not saying I’m winning at it, because I’m not. Being a decent multitasker means I can juggle a handful of things but do none of them very well. Just ask the clean laundry that has been sitting in the laundry baskets for the past two weeks.

We’ve set unfair expectations on our working parents (this issue was always there, but it’s made so much more obvious now), asking them to be successful both in life and in their career, proving themselves constantly. Making three meals a day from scratch, getting all the homework done without stress or pressure-tactics, a clean home, a beautiful yard. At some point, we may break. Meltdowns and burnout are real things and to expect us WAHPs to perform at 100% on all levels is a joke. Then, this pandemic hit the world and we are stretched to our max. To transplant a traditional office worker to a home office, surrounded by cookies and wine in the cupboard, a toddler in the background listening to Caillou for the billionth time (trust me, if you’ve never heard the theme song, you don’t want to), is like building a house of cards. Eventually, the slightest breeze will make it come crashing down…with devastating results. So, let’s set realistic expectations on our work-from-home community and reasonable limits on workloads so that we can all get through this emotionally, mentally, and physically draining time together. Let’s aim for 75% success.  Let’s be the best mediocre multitaskers we can be right now.  Because that is our level best. 

And, let’s talk about schooling at home, or the lack thereof. True, we don’t want our kids to fall behind in school, but right now the main focus is to continue to hold that job (and make a paycheck since reality is that many aren’t as fortunate). As my sister says “working helps me cope with the stress of the world.” It’s something predictable that we can count on right now and it helps us to not dwell on the things outside of our control. I cannot force my oldest child (who’s in first grade) to sit for three hours a day at a computer while he pushes shapes around a screen and sorts nouns and verbs. He’s only 7. And, being a teacher is way outside of my job description. He wants to be outside, learning how to use a hammer and building new structures like his pole bean trellis, digging holes and discovering bugs he’s never seen before and looking at them under a magnifying glass, or running his fastest with his “fast” shoes on. He is getting real-life experience, he is learning about his body and what it’s capable of, he is living science and exploring the world first-hand. Nature is his school, curiosity his teacher. That counts for something. My almost-5 year old just wants to capture caterpillars in a jar and show me his ninja moves. In those wild-eyed moments of discovery, I take mental pictures of my children to smile at later when I need a moment of brightness when the world just feels a bit too heavy to handle.

We hope that in this extra time you have with your family, that you find moments worth capturing. If you have young children at home, try to tap into that unbridled joy and curiosity that they exude. Take breaks from your computer screen (your eyes will thank you). Get on your kids’ level, sit on the floor, play mega nerf gun pirate battle with them. Research why the sky is actually blue. They will remember these times as fun because they got to have their parents’ attention more than before.  If you have children older than mine, like teenagers and up, I’ve got nothing for ya. Sorry. I wish you all the best.  

Here are my survival tips when working at home with children. I don’t do all of these all the time. That’s beyond my ability. But, I try to incorporate as many as possible to help me stay sane. I hope at least one helps you:

  • Come at this from a point of gratitude, if you can. The teachers and childcare workers who are with our kids day in and day out have god-like powers. And it’s a privilege to be able to work from home and still keep your job.
  • If you are homeschooling young ones, don’t stress about it. Stress feeds anxiety, anger, and frustration (in you and in the kids). Take it in small bits and don’t push if it’s not coming easily to you or your child. Remember, education comes in all forms: take a magnifying glass on a walk outside, bake something with your child, make an art project, plant some seeds or try out one of the resources listed at the bottom. They will learn more in those moments than from any app or worksheet on a screen. For a sanity break, try this Homeschooling While Working From Home During a Global Pandemic Bingo. I got Bingo on the first day.
  • Stay off social media unless it’s absolutely necessary and it’s to keep in touch with family and friends. The less we see things that upset us or cause resentment, the less emotional baggage we carry around for the day. We’ve got enough on our plates already rather than worrying about things outside of our control.
  • On the note of social media, don’t compare yourself to what other families are doing at home. Yes, one super dad is dressing up in a costume every day to teach his kids. Great for him. I don’t have the capacity for that. That mom who is baking homemade apple pie every day with a crust made from scratch in an immaculately clean kitchen, fuggedaboutit! We have dishes piled a mile high and run the dishwasher at least twice a day. And, tackling a new skill? Impossible. Right now, it’s #SurvivalMode.
  • Communication is key to making sure everyone has their needs met. Unspoken needs, assuming that others can read your mind, lead to resentment. Don’t do that to yourself, not now and not ever.  
  • If it fits your family style, find a routine and stick to it. If you have a partner/significant other/spouse, have a weekly meeting to discuss what everyone’s needs are. Also, discuss what worked and didn’t work last week and how you can adjust. Children thrive (and many adults do, too, especially if work needs to be done) on routines and it creates a predictable plan for the day ahead for everyone. If you want to go with the flow, fine! Carry on!    
  • Your bedroom is a sacred space. Don’t do your work there. Have one or two zones in your home where you work. It will help you get in the headspace. A room with a door shut signals that you are to not be bothered. Working at the kitchen table or on the couch…yes, available for interaction!
  • Be open and honest with your boss about your schedule. Do you need to work a solid 8 hours in one go?  Can you block it out in small chunks? Then, hopefully, you can take shifts with your partner/significant other/spouse and everyone gets playtime breaks.
  • Prioritize your workload. Save the big work projects for nap/quiet time. If you’re trying to tackle a big project that requires focus and brain capacity for any length of time, don’t do it with the kids in the background.   This will only lead to tension/anger/frustration and unnecessary outbursts from you. It’s not our children’s fault, so don’t take it out on them.
  • Take time for sunshine and recharge in nature. A dose of Vitamin D can help us destress and brighten our mood. Take your little one on a scavenger hunt outside, or, sit quietly and have them name all the sounds they hear.
  • Build a fort, make a yummy snack, and relax on screen time limits. Don’t feel guilty. Download some fun, educational games that you can feel good about your child binging on. Check out Toca Boca games. My kids love Hair Salon, Toca Nature (this one is even enjoyable and relaxing for adults!), and Toca Pet Doctor. Or, consider purchasing Osmo games, which are fun while building brain connections.
  • Plan out your meals and snacks for the day (I like to plan a few dinners a week in advance so I can be prepared, otherwise, we end up eating random junk). Indulge if you feel the need to. This is a no-guilt zone (my nightly indulgence was two Oreos – until I ran out – and a glass of chocolate milk). Make sure your water (add lemon!) and healthy snacks are within reach to keep your blood sugar and your mood stable. Enlist your kids to help with planning the food for the day, including them with meal prep. Each person gets one reusable water bottle for the day so as to cut down on the number of dishes.
  • Try to cut back on inflammatory foods like caffeine, dairy, and processed grains, if you can. The gut/brain connection is a real thing and you truly are what you eat. I’ve found my anxiety and lack of patience are off the charts when I consume caffeine (particularly coffee) and wheat. Both also seem to give me headaches, which aren’t conducive to me enjoying the joyous sounds of children playing…or beating each other up with plastic swords.
  • Turn off the news. It’s not essential. It will add to the shroud of stress and anxiety you may already be wearing.
  • When you are with your child, focus 100% on your child. Our kids already know that things aren’t quite normal in the world and really do need our attention more than before. Do things they want to do. Include them in things you’re doing. Children thrive when they feel they have purpose and belonging. Have them help with chores like dishes or laundry. The towels may not be folded perfectly but you’re giving that child responsibility and they will savor that. A friend once suggested, when my kids were just toddlers, to bring them outside with a small bag of flour and let them have at it. Sounds like fun entertainment until it’s time to clean-up…but, just think of those adorable pictures!
  • Burnout is REAL. I am just now getting over a total crash and burn that happened almost eight months ago.  Take the time to rest and recharge: do it well and do it often.
  • And, when all else fails, bribery works…sometimes. Let them have an extra packet of gummy snacks or go full-on treat mode with a bowl of ice cream with sprinkles. You too. You deserve it. 

This time is bizarre and unprecedented. We have no blueprint. As WAHPs, though, we are going through the thorny brambles together. You are not alone. It’s ok to feel out of control and overwhelmed. It’s ok to not feel ok.  Have compassion for yourself and your emotional and physical capacity to complete things. It is a failure of our society to not allow us to be good at both our jobs and parenting, that one has to come at the expense of the other. However, the silver lining in this crisis is that we are raising a generation of children who have the potential to grow up with incredible resilience. In a time when we really need more human touch and hugs, and can’t get it from everyone we love, give some extra snuggles to those already in your life. Your fur baby, your real baby, your grown child, your man child, your awesome and amazingly supportive partner, everyone under your roof. But, please, stay at home.

My blessing for the close of the day:

To the essential workers, we salute you. You work miracles every day. 

To the teachers and daycare workers, we salute you. I am incredibly humbled and grateful for what you do on a daily basis for our kids. You are superheroes and need to be paid a gazillion dollars a year.

To those growing our food, we salute you. Some know who grows their food, some don’t. We hope that you get to #knowyourfarmer and shake their hand one day soon.

A few other educational resources you may find helpful:

Tech Automation for Working Parents 

Color Our Collections – Museums let you download art for coloring yourself (so cool!) 

Live Cams around the world (it’s baby eagle season!) 

Virtual Field Trips

Some perspective and Advice from Master Homeschoolers  

Photos: Boys with Chickens © Dan Routh Photography 2020 / All Others © Amanda Sand 2020

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Hope in Quarantine: How will we emerge? by Ally DeJong 4.8.2020

For once, everyone in the world is sharing an experience. We have the time to reflect on the world we’ve created; the systems and resources that are in place. We’re seeing businesses adapt, people pick up old hobbies, and start to do the things that have been on the back burner for years. The energy around the world is both uncertain yet inspiring. Humans, at their core, are resilient. Taking this time to scale down and do a deep dive into each of our deepest desires could be a catalyst for a healthy, healing world.

We can come out of this pandemic in two ways: abundance or scarcity. There will be people who will hoard resources always reflecting back to the months of COVID-19. These people will be prepared but not without sacrifices and living in fear. The other side could be more beautiful. As a community, we could focus on the small ways of support during this time with a deep intention to demand more of ourselves and our situations when this is all over.

Focus on the small things you can do each day. Do what you can. If the most you can contribute is staying in your home, that’s OK. If you’re healthy and can volunteer, there are numerous initiatives that could use your skills. If you have money to spend, do your research and support local businesses or donate to your favorite non-profit. Words matter and our voices are important. Reflect and write down where your thoughts take you because there is always a reason why.

Perhaps the greatest things we can do are for ourselves. To be selfish. Reconnect with yourself and tend to your mind, body, and spirit. Read a book on your list. Go outside. Work on home projects. Meditate. Sign up for therapy. Exercise. Take a long bubble bath. Take a free online class. Catch up with family and friends. Create and curate. Set habits now. Just be and let it all be.

We will never forget this time and dare I say we might miss when we could wake up every morning and assess what we needed from the day with the biggest expectation of us being to stay in our family units and out of public. We are living in history — in a time that we will always remember what street we lived on, who we were with, and what we did during this great equalizer.

We are moving from the beginning stages to more of a collective spiritual awakening. We are feeling restless and making impulse buys while trying to resist the imbalance we feel in our hearts. We are starting to question and acknowledge the difference between stimulation and numbness. We are being shown that technological advancements are not making life easier but only setting the bar higher and higher leading to less intention and more exhaustion. This is our wake-up call, a warning from our world. A reminder that there is no hierarchy, and if there was, a virus is sitting at the top of it.

This is the only time in our lives that the world has stopped and could be the only time it ever will. If we rise to the occasion, heal, and recognize things can be different — we could be liberated and start to live happier and more fulfilling, sustainable lives. By each of us taking care of ourselves and our circles, the momentum grows.

This time is precious — you are precious. It took the world to shut down for us to be reminded of that.

photo: © Ally DeJong 2020

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Coronachan by Jacquelyn Akridge

It’s difficult not to think about all of the death, the debt and the politics around Covid-19 because
it’s all we see when we turn on the tv or login to social media. The idea that a virus can bring the
entire human race to its knees and our economy to a halt is a startling thing to think about. How
is anyone supposed to comprehend this? How can we think about anything when we are
constantly being bombarded with fear mongering and being told that it’s essentially the end
times?

Well, let’s consider some things.

This virus has forced everyone to view the society we have created for ourselves in an entirely
new perspective and every reasonable person is wondering what truly matters to us on an almost
primitive level. It’s been made obvious the things that are of value is the health of ourselves and
our loved ones, access to quality food and shelter, and most importantly, a sense of community.
Social distancing and quarantine are also opening us up the reality of how much time we all
waste on things that don’t really matter. Many are once again dabbling in hobbies long forgotten,
spending more time in nature, taking the extra time to finish creative projects or starting
something new altogether. It doesn’t matter what the thing is exactly, what everything has in
common is that it is fulfilling. Everyone is suddenly awakening to the things that make this
human experience worth living through, so why have most of us been chained to obligations we
don’t really care about?

Well, we didn’t create a society for ourselves that is conducive to the idea that everyone should
have ample opportunities to enjoy simple luxuries that life has to offer. Honestly, our system
wasn’t built with people in mind to begin with.

While Covid-19 is exposing the instability of a system we created, let’s stop viewing this as the
end times and start looking at it as an opportunity.

Things can change, we have the option of a bright and prosperous future, but we all must realize
that in order to change things now, we have to do it now. So, I encourage everyone to tune out of
the fear mongering on the tv and think about a few things (I know very well the majority of you
actually have the time). Meditate on the things that would make experiencing a crisis like this
easier for everyone as a collective. Maybe the idea of universal healthcare, affordable housing or
free college tuition wouldn’t affect you in the slightest, but it would be a tremendous help for
others in a time where unemployment rates have been reaching new highs. Now think about the
things you want to prioritize in your life. What brings you joy? How do you wish to spend your
time? What needs to be restructured in your life and/or your environment in order to bring you
fulfillment?

This is the perfect opportunity to think about what we can change as a society because if we
create a system for the purpose of making life better for us as a collective, it will be better for us
each individually.

Stay happy, stay healthy, and stay hopeful.

image: © Adrian Moreno 2019

___________________________________________

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Out of the Box

First came shock.  Deer in the headlights.  Fish out of water.  No comprehension whatsoever. Next came skepticism.  One of those look left, look right moments that end with a timid…
photo credit: Trace Ramsey A central piece of The Amazing Pepper Festival is the crowning of the Pepper King and Queen every year.  As a tribute to the artisans that…
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To me, dying was a way somebody looked – a costume you put on. My childhood was a magical place full of ruffles, feathers, tulle and lace. I adored dressing…
  I want you to know it when you wake in the night and can’t sleep, when you wander the halls like a fevered stranger looking for the place you…
Local Activists, parents, policymakers, children of all ages, and anyone concerned about climate change will learn how they can make a difference for the community and the planet, at the…

Why Are We Here

  Why Are We Here? – a poem by Carol Peppe Hewitt Why Are We Here? We are here to make sure there is asparagus in April, and tomatoes in…
We are building a Village. When first Zafer Estill, and then my husband, Chris Lucash, died almost a year ago, we entered the Realm of Crisis, and a village was…
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“Wow!” I think, walking to the back of the line, “I’m doing that again.” My sinuses are infused with rosemary and roasted red pepper. A flake of pastry lingers on…
Chris said he didn’t want to be alone. I said, “Well then, you won’t be.” I woke to Bob’s honeyed voice saying “Happy Birthday, dear.” It was Saturday, June 4th.…

At Abundance we bring people together to cultivate and celebrate community resilience in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Learn more about us and what we do.

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“…We have barely disembarked into life…we’ve only just now been born, let’s not fill our mouths with so many uncertain names, with so many sad labels, with so many pompous letters, with so much yours and mine, with so much signing of papers. I intend to confuse things, to unite them, make them new-born intermingle them, undress them, until the light of the world has the unity of the ocean, a generous wholeness, a fragrance alive and crackling.”
― Pablo Neruda

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